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Our Mission: We create pathways to explore and live an engaged, connected Jewish life.

The Rabbi's message for May



The beauty of a sermon? You get a chance with just a few pages to touch someone’s heart and mind, to make them think, and to challenge their assumptions or even their behaviour. The challenge of a sermon? You get just a few pages to do all that and you have to do it many times a year, and then there's the High Holidays when you have to give them your very best, fill them up from afar, knock open their resistance, awkwardness and fear with your very first opening sentence. Yikes! Sometimes I get inspiration from a movie I’ve seen or a book I’ve read and I must make it work with a Torah story or Talmudic lesson. Sometimes I study something with a friend or at a conference and I ponder how it would resonate with congregants. I gather stories, articles, anecdotes, and lessons all year long and place them in a file for safekeeping to use “one day” and hope they don't get stale. And sometimes I just speak honestly from my own heart to yours, peppering my thoughts with quotes from sacred Jewish sources that speak to the issue. 
My husband Baruch has heard my sermons often three times—the one I plan to give, the one I actually give, and the one I agonized all the way home about not giving! For my birthday this past March, he surprised me with the most beautiful published collection of my high holiday sermons from 1985 to the present. Throughout this incredible volume, he explains, places them in context, comments, and introduces them. And in the introduction, he tells the very poignant 1983 story of my “red shoes on the bima” from which the title of the volume is taken.
We want to share this volume with you! There are two ways you can get a copy:
1. For those who read books online, you can download a free e-book to any e-reader (iPad or Kindle, for example) by clicking on the link 
HERE and using the code 3WR3T. Users must create a free account to be able to sign in.


2. The quantity we printed is now sold out - please send a note to the office HERE, to add your name to the waitlist - subject line to your email: "Red Shoes on the Bima - Waitlist"

Please use only the links above rather than searching for them on sites that may not be secure.
As for Shabbat and holiday divrei Torah/sermons, I am currently working to cull and prepare the best ones, because I am excited that we have a small group of congregants working on a way to make those available on our City Shul website after my retirement. Please stay tuned for details about that and happy reading!   

Rabbi Dr. Elyse Goldstein

Red Shoes on the Bimah

This collection of High Holiday sermons demonstrates Rabbi Elyse Goldstein's enthusiasm for living a rich Jewish life and finding meaning, her commitment to the community, and her passion for social justice.

She spoke passionately on feminism, racism, vegetarianism, and environmental issues. Several common themes emerge: express gratitude, live with equanimity, and be fully present. Her timeless sermons encourage everyone to live more simply and engage more fully, to find strength in, and strengthen Jewish community, to treasure Jewish wisdom, to celebrate Shabbat and Jewish ritual, and to make the world better through the practice of Jewish values.

Click HERE for more details.

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Wed, May 29 2024 21 Iyar 5784