I've Always Wondered
A Cornucopia of Horns? Originally Published March 29-30, 2019.

Each year the ba’al toke’a (horn blower, בעל תוקע, sometimes called ba’al teki’ah, בעל תקיעה) takes out his/her shofar and begins practicing up for the High Holidays.  The shofar is sounded during the entire month of Elul at the end of the weekday morning service (be there at minyan!) except on 29 Elul.  The shofar […]

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I've Always Wondered
What Is a Bimah? Originally Published March 22-23, 2019.

A bimah (בִּימָה) is an elevated platform.  Used in a synagogue it is, in church English, a pulpit.  In modern Hebrew “bimah” also refers to a stage.  In ancient and Orthodox churches, it is also used to refer to a pulpit (bema).  It was also the term used in ancient Athens for a orator’s platform.  […]

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I've Always Wondered
I Forget, Who Was Amalek? Originally Published March 15-16, 2019

This is Shabbat Zakhor, named after the first word of the snippet of Parashat Ki Tetse we read this week as the maftir aliyah.  It recalls Amalek’s ambush of the tired people of Israel just after we crossed the Yam Suf, the Sea of Reeds.  Attacking was a nasty thing to do, and as we […]

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Derekh
Hidden Blessings | Moed Katan 9b

This is a part of 2019's Passover Talmud Study Series. The Gemara tells us a curious story about blessings and curses, or perhaps how we should understand the words of others. Rabbi Shim’on bar Yohai sends his son to Rabbi Yonatan ben Asmai and Rabbi Yehudah for a blessing. They say the following: May it […]

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PREVIOUS EVENT
Communal 2nd Seder 5779

Because We Were Strangers in Egypt Saturday, April 20th, 2019 | 6:00 pm “Because you were strangers in Egypt” (Ex. 22:20) – one tradition teaches that the Torah exhorts us no less than 36 times not to mistreat the sojourner among us, because we know what it means to be an alien. When we tell […]

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I've Always Wondered
Why Does the Berakhah Mention One Candle When We Light More? Originally Published March 8-9, 2019

When we say a berakhah on the lighting of a candle, it is different from other berakhot.  It is one blessing in which we do the deed first and say the berakhah afterwards.  (We do this especially on Shabbat and holidays because the blessing is said to be what starts Shabbat or the holiday, not […]

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PREVIOUS EVENT
Pre-Passover Pizza Dinner 5779

Thursday, April 18th, 2019 | 6:00 pm Congregation Beth Shalom invites you to a Pre-Passover Pizza Dinner! Sponsored by the Beth Shalom Men's Club. We look forward to seeing you there as we say goodbye to hametz! Adults: $11.00 Children (3-12): $7.00 Children (2 and under): Free Family: $20.00 NO ADMISSION WITHOUT A RESERVATION Deadline for Reservations […]

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PREVIOUS EVENT
Lox and Learning - Why Peacekeeping Fails

Sunday, April 14, 2019 | 10:00 a.m. Fellow congregant Dennis Jett has served as US Ambassador to Mozambique and Peru and is currently a professor of international relations at Penn State. He has written about such issues as the future of American diplomats and the political underpinnings of the Iran nuclear deal. Most recently his book […]

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PREVIOUS EVENT
Shabbat Shi'ur with Norm Eisen

Saturday, April 13, 2019 1:00 P.M. | Helfant Chapel Join Norm Eisen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who served in the White House as Special Assistant and Special Counsel to President Obama and as U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic. When Norm Eisen moved into the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Prague, returning to […]

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PREVIOUS EVENT
Sisterhood Torah Fund Brunch

Sunday, April 7, 2019 | 10:00 a.m. Congregation Beth Shalom's Sisterhood 2019 Torah Fund Brunch will be honoring Benita "Bunny" Morris. Bunny is a lifetime Board Member, has served on numerous committees, and she and her family have been with the shul for generations. Bunny, a native Pittsburgher, taught Health and Physical Education in the […]

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