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

The Miracle of Hanuka

Posted on July 7, 2014

The “miracle of Hanuka,” we are told, revolves around a cruse of oil containing a one-day supply that sufficed for eight days. It was an eight-day Mediterranean cruse. As it says in the Good Book, “oils well that ends well.” So what would have been so terrible if they ran out? Like, what if we Continue Reading »

Not By Might: A Hanuka Message

Posted on July 7, 2014

Not by Might, nor by Power, but by My Spirit, says Adonai Seva’ot These words of the prophet Zekharia, read in the haftara of Shabbat Hanuka, express the essence of the message of Hanuka. The victory we celebrate is the survival of Jewish culture in the face of foreign cultural hegemony. Remarkably, when the Talmud Continue Reading »

Who Are the Real Jews?

Posted on July 7, 2014

Many in our community were outraged at the violent physical and verbal attack on a Conservative prayer group at dawn on Shavuot in Jerusalem by a mob of non-Conservative “Heridi” and “Ultra-Orthodox” yeshiva students and residents. The police offered some protection and evacuated the Conservative worshippers, but would not control or disperse the mob. One Continue Reading »

Israel in our Hearts

Posted on July 7, 2014

In his essay The Sacred Cluster: The Core Values of Conservative Judaism, Rabbi Ismar Schorsch, Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, identifies “The centrality of modern Israel” as the first core value on his list. “For Conservative Jews, as for their ancestors, Israel is not only the birthplace of the Jewish people, but Continue Reading »

Chews by Choice

Posted on July 7, 2014

In this country, people normally eat cows. But in India, one would sooner eat their brother-in-law than eat a cow. Here they eat Kentucky Fried Chicken; in France they eat Kentucky Fried Frogs. The Chinese have as many recipes for cats and rats as your Bubbie has for eggplant. When we find a bug in Continue Reading »

Toward a Moderate Communal Kashrut Regime

Posted on July 7, 2014

One day’s mail brought two advertisements that highlighted the true dilemma of the kosher consumer. One was a full back-page newspaper ad for “Kosher” brand kosher-certified bottled water. The other was a separate oversized mailing for “Mizmor” brand kosher-certified water. The dilemma for the consumer: which brand is really more kosher? I was somewhat upset Continue Reading »