What I Learn From My Grandfather’s Painting

On the wall of my study at the synagogue is a painting my grandfather Alex did in the early 1920’s. It depicts the Leviathan, the ship that brought my grandfather from Europe to this country. Both he and my grandmother, also an immigrant, came here fleeing persecution. My grandmother spent weeks, if not months, in fear of the next pogroms. It was a hard life and one that they rarely spoke of. Instead, they spent their entire adult lives as proud citizens of these United States.

That painting sits on my study wall as a constant reminder that my sister Martha and I have the life we have because of our grandparents’ decision to come to America. The painting is there to ensure that I never forget that I am the grandchild of immigrants and that, as a result, I not only owe this nation a debt of gratitude, but …

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SoMa Resettlement Project Update From Our TSTI Chairs

This past Sunday Rabbi Klein and I had the privilege of meeting the Syrian family our community is helping to resettle. It was truly a priviledge to meet them and to begin getting to know them a bit. It was clear to us that they had been through a great deal. Knowing that their lives will be so much quieter and more secure now truly warmed my heart. Our TSTi Chairs Sheryl and Alan have done an amazing job. We are grateful to them, and to all of you who have and continue to volunteer, for doing this important, and holy, work. 

Here is their most recent update. 


This week, the Syrian family we are sponsoring started their life in America. Every outing has been an adventure. So far, they have been to the library, many stores in downtown Maplewood and Target! Seeing everything new through their …

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Shabbat January 20th, 2017

Dear Friends-

As Shabbat arrives this evening our nation will have entered a new era. No matter where one sits on the political and social spectrum I do believe today is a day when we see the strength of our nation. The peaceful transfer of power is one of the hallmarks of our great nation and is worthy of appreciation and respect. And while I hope the spirit of national unity extends beyond today, at least for today we have been able to see those with vastly differing perspectives standing together and celebrating our country’s democracy. We will see that democracy in action tomorrow as well, as hundreds of thousands of Americans make their voices heard as they call for respect for all people regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and socio-economic standing. 

Etched on the cornerstone of our middle building are words from the prophet Isaiah: “My house …

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