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i have nothing to be thankful for?

11/24/2020 08:54:50 AM

Nov24

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

It is easy to feel that there is nothing to be thankful for this coming Thanksgiving. We have been advised by authorities not to travel to family, which is what my family decided to do. Instead, we will have an intimate meal over Zoom with family. The inability to gather with family and friends during holidays certainly puts a damper on the celebratory nature of a holiday, and when you add the...Read more...

thanksgiving is cancelled?

11/19/2020 11:06:43 AM

Nov19

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

After careful consideration, we made the difficult decision not to travel to New Jersey to spend Thanksgiving with our daughter and her husband. It was not an easy decision, filled with plenty of “what ifs” on both sides of the equation. In the end, we felt that the potential to either be asymptomatic carriers or somehow come down with COVID-19 as the numbers continue to rise exponentially...Read more...

VAYERA: The Sermon I never Gave

11/12/2020 12:00:51 AM

Nov12

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

Permit me a moment to tell you an incredible story. A few days after the massacre, the FBI reached out to me. They needed to process Pervin Chapel, but did want to touch the ark and disrespect the Torot. So the Special Agent in Charge, Bob Jones, called me and asked me if I could come to the building and assist them, as they wanted to be respectful of the Torot. What an incredible gesture. I arrived with great trepidation, as I was...Read more...

Untied states, part 1

11/05/2020 11:33:45 AM

Nov5

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

Well, the results are in, but I am not speaking about the Presidential Election, for as of this writing, all the ballots have not been tallied for all the states. I’m speaking about the map of America. The western states are colored blue, as are the Northeast and certain Northern Central states, with the remainder of the country colored red. If one were to increase magnification, you could...Read more...

vote

10/22/2020 08:24:49 AM

Oct22

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

For those who have been regularly reading my blogs, first I thank you for your kindness in thinking that I might write something worth reading. You then know that I regularly turn to the Psalms as a source of inspiration and hope. I find the range of emotions in them remarkable, and that despite being composed 3,000 years ago, they speak of the human condition that demonstrates how little we have changed in all that...Read more...

it takes a village

10/15/2020 10:20:48 AM

Oct15

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

I have been livestreaming services from my living room since March 13, hoping to bring some semblance of the familiar to a totally unfamiliar situation.  No one could have anticipated that I would still be doing so seven months later.  Despite the hope and desire for in-person High Holy Day services, the health and safety of our congregation had to take precedence, thus my...Read more...

did you get the memo?

10/07/2020 12:43:07 PM

Oct7

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

The holiday of Simchat Torah, which comes at the end of Sukkot, is interesting for many reasons. In Israel, as well as in most Reform congregations and some Conservative congregations in the United States, it is combined with Shemini Atzeret into one day. In Israel, festivals are celebrated for seven days, whereas outside of Israel, festivals are celebrated for eight days, as we bear the...Read more...

the most important day of the year

09/23/2020 07:20:33 PM

Sep23

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

We’ve just concluded what a significant percentage of the Jewish population might say is our holiest day of the year. Coming at the conclusion of Ten Days of Penitence, and an even lengthier month prior, the goals for this period of introspection have remained constant for the millennia: reflect on our past actions; make amends to those whom we have wronged; identify ways to become an even...Read more...

put your hope in god

09/23/2020 07:19:58 PM

Sep23

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

There are a number of interesting additions to the liturgy during the Ten Days of Penitence, which began on Rosh Hashanah and conclude with Yom Kippur. Amongst them is the interesting custom of adding a particular Psalm before the formal start of the morning service, which is marked by the recitation of the Barchu. We are instructed to turn to a page usually towards the back of the prayer...Read more...

A Rabbi on the Roof

09/15/2020 05:50:09 PM

Sep15

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

Shalom. I a Jeffrey Myers, the Rabbi of the Tree of Life in Pittsburgh. You might wonder what I am doing standing on the roof of my synagogue? Is this a modern version of a Rabbi on the Roof?  Well, yes and no.
I’m here to shout from the rooftops that the Tree of Life lives. Neither 10.27 nor a pandemic has stopped us from our mission to bring Judaism to all who seek it. While we have not been meeting in our beloved building since 10.27, we never closed. We have continued providing religious services, education for all age groups, life observances and cultural and social programming, despite the challenges that we have faced.
Soon we will be announcing important news about our rebuilding campaign, but for now, I stand here to remind all who seek us that we are still here.
"Etz Chayim Hi", we are a Tree of Life to all who seek us, and all who support us are enriched. If you are looking for a place to pray these holidays, we warmly welcome you.  Just go to our website, www.treeoflifepgh.org/highholidays, and there you can find information to be our guests for our virtual services.
May the coming year of 5781 be one of good health and joy to your family, and may we soon be able to gather safely in person to celebrate doing Jewish together.
L’shana Tova Tikatevu v’Techatemu. May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.

Video credit - Sandy Riemer

Sat, November 28 2020 12 Kislev 5781