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Sunrise Shavuot

Watch the sun rise and celebrate Shavuot, when Jews were given the Torah at Mount Sinai, during a service Sunday, May 24, on Park Point.

Meet at Tom and Pam Griggs' house, 3429 Minnesota Ave., at 6 a.m. then walk to the beach across the street for Shacharit prayers. We will return to the Griggs' house around 6:40 a.m. for an abbreviated Torah service that features the reading of the Ten Commandments and a few closing prayers.

Stay and enjoy breakfast.


Visiting Scholar Talks About Death and Dying

The death of Moses, biblical teachings on death and dying, ghost stories and Jewish views of the afterlife are the focus of this year’s Ilene F. Levin Scholar-in-Residence program.

Reb Simcha Raphael, Ph.D., founding director of the DA’AT Institute for Death Awareness, Advocacy and Training and our visiting scholar, gives a series of talks and presentations the weekend of May 29-31 at Temple Israel.

  • During Shabbat evening services, 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 29, Reb Raphael gives a talk titled “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night: Moses’ Death in Torah and Midrash.” A community dinner will follow.
  • During Shabbat morning services, 10 a.m. Saturday, May 30, Reb Raphael talks on “Biblical Wisdom on Death and Dying.”
  • An ice cream social begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 30. Havdalah and story-telling follow, with Reb Raphael presenting “Twilight Between the Worlds: Tales of Ghosts, Wandering Spirits and Reincarnating Souls.” a program appropriate for all ages.
  • During brunch at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 31, Reb Raphael will discuss “Jewish Views of the Afterlife: End of Life Implications and Applications,” with a response by Ben Wolfe, M.Ed., LCSW, founder of St. Mary's Medical Center Grief Support Center.

Reb Raphael received his doctorate in psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies and was ordained as a rabbinic pastor by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. He is adjunct assistant professor in Jewish Studies at Temple University, and works as a psychotherapist and spiritual director, affiliated with Mount Airy Counseling Center, in Philadelphia.

For more than 25 years Raphael’s professional work has focused on Jewish death awareness education and bereavement counseling, and he has spoken at Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and Renewal congregations, as well as churches and social service agencies in United States, Canada, England and Israel. He is the author of numerous publications including Jewish Views of the Afterlife.His website is

To learn more about Raphael's views on the afterlife, read Temple Israel member Jim Petersen-Perlman's interview with him by clicking here.

Ilene F. Scholar-in-Residence programs are sponsored through the generosity of Steve Goldfine, in memory of his wife Ilene F. Levin. All programs, meals and refreshments are free, but reservations are required for Friday’s dinner and Sunday’s brunch. Please call the Temple Office, 724-8857 or e-mail



Help Redesign the Sanctuary

Temple Israel is launching an initiative to make our sanctuary more accessible. And it begins with congregants taking a look at some drawings made by member Casey Goldberg showing what the sanctuary might look like if we added a ramp going all the way to the bimah, and created an elevated space for the choir and people attending services in wheelchairs.

Some additional ideas generated when the drawings were shown to the Temple Israel Board are to raise the entire floor of the sanctuary so that it is the same level as in the social hall, put insulation under the sanctuary floor to keep it warmer in the winter, and keep the chairs we have now until we can afford new ones.

We’d like to keep the brainstorming of ideas for a redesigned sanctuary coming. The only firm commitment that has been made is that it’s time for the entire sanctuary to become accessible. So look at the drawings shown here or on display upstairs in the synagogue. Then let board members know what you think.