Author Archives: Cantor Bernard

Community Gatherings, Large and Small by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Nov 18

  One of key features of Judaism is the emphasis on community. We celebrate as a community. We mourn as a community. We pray as a community. We work and play as a community. We gather as a community for a variety of functions. This December, we have two special communal gatherings. The first is […]

What is Congregational Shabbat? by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Nov 16

Congregational Shabbat is an energetic, highly participatory, multi-generational Shabbat morning series of activities, food, and worship designed to engage the great diversity of our Temple Beth El community. Beginning nine years ago, we adjusted the b’nei mitzvah calendar so that we could devote one Shabbat morning each month during the academic year (October through May) […]

Praise God…with every voice, with every instrument by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Oct 18

  This weekend marks the season’s final holy day observances that began nearly two months ago. There have been times of learning and times of worship; individual introspection and public celebration. In words and song and prayer and ritual acts, we have moved from the preparations of Elul through the penitential prayers of S’lichot to […]

Possibilities Ahead by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Aug 31

It has always seemed a little strange to me that the Jewish months start on the new moon. If you are going to look up into the sky for seasonal markers, the full moon would be a much clearer and more dramatic signpost. The new moon is rather obscure, whereas a full moon lights up […]

Creating Sacred Space with Sacred Sound by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Jul 13

Sacred space can be created in many different places and in many different ways. You don’t need to be in a Sanctuary to find yourself on holy ground. Standing on an ocean shore watching the sun rise or set over the water can be a sacred experience. Being in a hospital room witnessing a birth […]

Happy New Year (again)! by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Jul 03

Marking time is very important in Judaism. Time is, in fact, the first thing in the Torah that God declares “holy.” Throughout six days of creation, the topography of the earth, the celestial bodies, the plants, insects and animals all appear and are deemed “good.” The pinnacle of the process, the creation of human beings, […]

Changes by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Jun 01

It has always been my rule of thumb that when you move to a new home, you know you’ve settled in when you can find the bathroom light switch at 3am without thinking. Familiar routines, familiar places, familiar faces — all these anchor us as we move through the mundane moments of our days, and […]

Finding Yourself by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Apr 20

In Judaism we talk a great deal about mitzvot, although we talk about them in very different ways. Those on the orthodox side of the scale begin with those things we are commanded to do by the 613 mitzvot proclaimed in the Torah. On the more liberal side, we refer more to “good deeds” that […]

This Month It’s All About Sex by Cantor Andrew Bernard

Jan 27

The month of January sees the launch of this year’s 6th, 8th, and 9th grade human sexuality program at Temple Beth El. This is the central part of our STAR (Sex, Torah, and Relationships) Curriculum that begins with parents of preschoolers and concludes with a pre-college program for our Post-Confirmation (11th and 12th grade) students. […]