Congregation Beth El–Keser Israel

85 Harrison Street, New Haven, CT 06515-1724 | P: 203.389.2108 |

Our banner is based on BEKI’s stained glass, designed in 2008 by Cynthia Beth Rubin. For information on this and other of Cynthia’s work, go to: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. Artisan Fabrication by JC Glass of Branford, CT
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BEKI Gay Pride Shabbat 5766

Posted on July 24, 2014

Last week we celebrated Shavuot, the holiday of the giving of our Torah. Our Torah. Because Torah was given to us, not just to our ancestors at Sinai. Last week, on Shavuot morning, we read: And all the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the blare of the shofar and the mountain smoking. (Exodus 20:15) Continue Reading »

Parashat Emor 5766

Posted on July 24, 2014

Shabbat Shalom! Today we read Parashat Emor. Emor, like most of the book of Leviticus, contains priestly laws and rules of sacrifice. Emor specifically addresses the Kohanim, a subsection of Levites who are the direct descendants of Aaron. The Kohanim, or priests, are held to higher standards than the rest of Israel, just as Israel Continue Reading »

Parashat Yitro 5766

Posted on July 24, 2014

Shabbat Shalom! Moshe, monkeys, Middle Ages, and the new millennium. So…let me tell you about my parasha. There are many important things I could talk about; for example, the ten commandments, or Mount Sinai. Plenty has been said about that. So let me quote from Exodus 18:25 (that’s p. 290 in the blue Hertz humash Continue Reading »

Parashat Toldot 5766

Posted on July 24, 2014

Last Spring I mentioned to the Rabbi that I would like to be the darshan when my bar mitzva parasha was read — that was Lekh Lekha, beginning with God’s command to Abram to go forth from his home to a land God would show him. On checking my availability and the BEKI schedule, we Continue Reading »

Sisterhood’s Woman of Valor Acceptance Speech

Posted on July 23, 2014

I thank the Sisterhood and all of you from the bottom of my heart for honoring me and sharing this special night with me. Before moving to New Haven, I lived in Port Jefferson on Long Island, and was involved in a women’s tefila group at my synagogue. At that time, the Rabbi allowed only Continue Reading »

Shabbat Sheqalim Parashat Pequdei Rosh Hodesh Adar Sheni 5765

Posted on July 23, 2014

Shabbat shalom. It’s a longstanding tradition to have a synagogue officer give the derash on Shabbat Sheqelim, for reasons that will be obvious in a moment, if they aren’t already. The haftara, from the Second Book of Kings (2 Kings 11:17 – 12:17), discusses things that come up at modern-day synagogue Board meetings — proper Continue Reading »

Parashat Ki Tetsei 5764

Posted on July 22, 2014

Last week we read a parasha that was fairly uniform in focus: Shoftim deals with the ancient judicial system. This week’s parasha is more of a grab bag of laws, ranging from instructions for digging a latrine outside the borders of the camp to business ethics. There are more mitzvot here than any other parasha: Continue Reading »

Sweetening the Bitter Water: Parashat Naso 5764

Posted on July 21, 2014

Shabbat shalom. With our rabbis’ permission: This week’s Torah portion, parashat Naso (Numbers 4:21 – 7:89), provides a wonderful example of halakhic development that I would like to share. Tradition teaches that the Torah contains 613 mitzvot. Not merely good deeds, but laws; not suggestions, but the obligations we call The Commandments. Many of these Continue Reading »

Shabbat Zakhor 5764

Posted on July 21, 2014

Shabbat Shalom. On this Shabbat before Purim, we have a special maftir, “Remember what Amaleq did to you.” It is a mitzva to remember Amaleq and his descendants and to orally recall their iniquity. We fulfill the mitzva when we hear the maftir, but not only are we to remember, we are also told that Continue Reading »

Parashat Lekh Lekha

Posted on July 21, 2014

Shabbat Shalom. Imagine yourself sitting alone on your couch watching TV and eating your favorite snack food. You have a family, many friends and a successful job. Suddenly, as Bugs Bunny evades Elmer Fudd yet again, you hear a voice, a powerful commanding voice: Lekh lekha – Go into yourself, out of your country and Continue Reading »