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Rabbi Sigal Brier

"Many approach spirituality and religion with seriousness that lacks joy and fulfillment. We use practices and concepts that constrict us instead of free us; they become obstacles to expressing our joyful nature and the dance of our soul."

— Rabbi Sigal

About Rabbi Sigal

Rabbi Sigal brings a fresh and energetic approach to Temple Judea. She is an innovator with new inspirations and approaches to create a more meaningful and joyful learning and praying community.

She has dedicated her life to inspire families, communities, children, and individuals to enrich and enjoy their spiritual lives. She is insightful, humorous, and skilled in ritual, pastoral counseling, and group facilitation. She has a deep understanding of people and delights in serving their needs.

Rabbi Sigal has years of experience as a congregational rabbi. She is a scholar, spiritual mentor, inspirational teacher and also an artist and musician, with training in religion, psychology, art, yoga, and meditation. Israeli born and raised, she has resided in the Philadelphia area most of her life. She has a Master degree in Jewish Studies and another Master degree in Organizational Psychology. She presented at TED, and was featured on CBS Sunday Morning news and NPR: National Public Radio. She is a long time faculty at the prestigious Kripalu Center in the Berkshires.

A New Year's Message From Rabbi Sigal

Dear friends and members of the Temple Judea community,

On the eve of 2020, I want to wish you a healthy and peaceful new year and to share a few thoughts.  

During the eight days of Hanukkah, we lit candles to celebrate the miracle and placed the hanukiyah (Hanukkah menorah) in the window to advertise the miracle. But, in a culture of hate in which incidences of violence, anti-Semitism, racism and bigotry, are on the rise, we may not feel safe being visible and celebrating our traditions.

In one week alone there were several attacks on Jewish people in the New York area and Jewish property was destroyed in California and in Europe. These incidences can shake us to our core and we may feel vulnerable, angry and afraid.

The Maccabees are the heroes of Hanukkah because against all odds they fought to keep Judaism alive. Judaism and religion were important in the ancient world, however, they may not feel as important today. I invite you to reconsider how Jewish communities, wisdom, people, values, and practices are perhaps even more important today. We need more justice and honorable values to live by. We need more compassion, kindness, consideration, and reconciliation.

Diversity is healthy in nature and in society.

To keep our human tribe healthy and thriving we must preserve its diversity. We cannot presume to support diversity unless we also live our uniqueness. Courage to be Jewish isn't just to conserve Judaism, it's also to contribute to the wellbeing of a diverse society.

The melting pot is a useful metaphor for bringing us together and lowering boundaries, but not for melding all of us and our traditions into one boring vanilla blob. Instead, I prefer to think of society as a tossed salad. When you toss a salad each vegetable retains its uniqueness and together, all the ingredients and seasonings make a delicious symphony of tastes. It’s a little messy perhaps, but so much more interesting and honoring of each unique expression.

Our world is complicated and yes, it feels broken and fragmented. Hate and anger are too common but brokenness and problems, which are not always easy to address, can give purpose to our lives. I challenge us to orient back to love, balance, and peace in the midst the brokenness and the pain. A fractured and violent world is calling us to tikkun olam, mending and repairing the world.

I proudly share in Jewish traditions which are deeply concerned with all of humanity. Many of us work to benefit the oppressed, the sick and the needy. And, now is the time to also think about what we need to do to support and nourish Jewish people and peoplehood. To belong to a Jewish community, participate in Jewish life and be visibly proud of Jewish heritage and Jewish life in 2020 is radical social activism.

I have been with Temple Judea for six months and I’m heartened by the wonderful community, leadership, students, and especially by our common desire to contribute to the meaning of our lives, our community and our dedication to tikkun olam, mending the world in community and around us. Let’s continue working together within Temple Judea and reach to the local community. We are all here for each other and with each other.

In the Hanukkah story Judah was the brave leader of the Maccabees, who led the revolt. Let us at Temple Judea be the brave leaders to create a home for tikkum olam, for mending and reconciliation, for all to live in peace and enjoy life more.

With prayers for a safe, prosperous and peaceful new year. Love and blessings, Rabbi Sigal

Note: In the past year the Board of Directors at Temple Judea has taken measures to increase building security.

Support Temple Judea: Online donations page

 


Mon, March 30 2020 5 Nisan 5780