Author Archives: Laura Bernstein

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! by Dr. Laura Bernstein, Executive Director

Jul 12

Have you had the privilege of reading about Humphrey the Hamster? Brought to life by author Betty Birney, Humphrey lives in the fictitious Longfellow School and is an engaging, wise, humorous, caring friend to all of his classmates in Room 26. He is endlessly entertaining and makes it his business to learn something new every […]

Putting the Sacred Into the Business Side of Synagogue Life by Laura Bernstein, Executive Director

May 10

Im ein Kemach ein Torah; im ein Torah ein Kemach. Where there is no bread, there can be no Torah; where there is no Torah, there will be no bread.  – Pirkei Avot 3:17 In a recent conversation with Rabbi Knight, he shared, “if Temple Beth El is a business, then we are in the […]

It’s a Learning Process by Dr. Laura Bernstein, Executive Director

Jan 18

Plagues.  Plagues.  And more plagues. This week’s Torah portion, Bo (Exodus 10:1 – 13:16)  begins with Moses and the eighth plague of locusts. It continues through the plague of darkness and the death of the firstborn, and concludes with Pharaoh allowing the Israelites to leave Egypt. Have you ever thought about how G-d came up […]


Oct 19

WE CAN ALL BE SHEPHERDS:  WHAT MAKES A JEWISH LEADER?  The Torah offers abundant lessons for leadership for today.  As we turn the scroll through the opening chapters of Genesis and later into Exodus, we see how Noah, Abraham, and Moses each face the challenge of corruption in their day and respond in different ways. […]

We are the Light by Dr. Laura Bernstein, Executive Director

Aug 17

In the words of Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, “The Torah teaches that God created a world capable of chaos and order. While this can sometimes create moments of despair, it is also the basis for all hope, all light in the darkness.” In our staff meeting this […]

The Kindness Game by Dr. Laura Bernstein

Jul 06

This week’s Torah portion, Parashat Balak, allows us to consider the power of words – both positive and negative. A Moabite King named Balak hires a non-Israelite prophet named Balaam to curse the Israelites; yet on three occasions God causes words of blessing to come forth from Balaam’s mouth. Rather than focusing on the negativity that was intended to be spoken by […]

DAYEINU! by Dr. Laura Bernstein, Executive Director

Apr 13

Like tens of thousands of Jews around the world, my family and I recounted the story of Exodus this week as we participated in the annual Passover seder. It would have been enough to have been invited to one seder.  We were blessed to be included in two. It would have been enough to hear […]

Bright Lights by Dr. Laura Bernstein, Executive Director

Dec 29

Chanukah is a story of miracles and reminds us that light defeats darkness.  It’s a story of challenge and a story of hope. This Chanukah I reflect on the number of bright lights in my life and in the life of Temple Beth El. On the personal side, my life is filled with weekly trips […]

My Life Is Like A Chapter Book by Dr. Laura Bernstein

Oct 13

As we conclude Yom Kippur, a holiday of intense introspection, and look toward Sukkot, a holiday that calls us outside into the world and outside of ourselves, I find myself thinking about what my life will be like a year from now or perhaps 10 years from now.   What surprises are in store?  What challenges await?  […]