Religious Life

Recent Sermons

Diversity Amidst Unity – A Weekly Letter From Rabbi Davis – May 24, 2019

Shalom Chaverim Earlier this week, I had the privilege of attending Unity Sings at the Wat Thai Temple across Highway 100. Organized by the St Louis Park arts council, it brought together choirs from Beth El, Wooddale Lutheran Church, students from Benilde St Margaret’s and the monks from the Temple. Each group presented songs, spoke about music in their tradition, and then we all sang...

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Learning From Ants – A Weekly Letter From Rabbi Davis – May 10, 2019

Shalom Chaverim In these days between Passover and Shavuot, between Egypt and Sinai, it is traditional to study musar. These are Jewish teachings that help refine our character making us worthy of receiving Torah. An intriguing teaching of this nature offers us a message about the critical issue of our day. We read in the Talmud, “Rabbi Yochanan taught, had the Torah not been given,...

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Holes in the Roof – A Weekly Letter from Rabbi Davis – May 10, 2019

Shalom Chaverim Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to accompany over a dozen Beth El members to see the current production of the Minnesota Jewish Theater Company*, Shul. Sponsored by The Well, we found the story all-too-familiar. Shul, a play by Sheldon Wolf, tells the story of a dying synagogue. Etz Chaim has only a handful of mostly older members, not enough for a minyan....

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Blessed May You Be When You Enter – A Weekly Letter From Rabbi Davis – May 3, 2019

Shalom Chaverim, I am delighted to tell you about the new addition to the 26th Street entrance- an art installation that beautifully and creatively covers up an eyesore*.   When we renovated the building in 2012, we excavated along 26th street down to the foundation. According to city code, we were not permitted to touch or brick over the now exposed foundation. But we could...

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Selma Stones – A Weekly Letter From Rabbi Davis – April 25, 2019

Shalom Chaverim, Visiting Selma on Beth El’s recent civil rights trip, we walked across the Edmond Pettus Bridge. This was the site of the infamous “Bloody Sunday” civil rights march on March 7, 1965. The bridge is arched so marchers leaving Selma and heading toward Montgomery could not see the other side. It was not until they crested the bridge that they saw police blocking...

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Freedom Seder – A Weekly Letter From Rabbi Davis – April 19, 2019

Shalom Chaverim Since returning from the Beth El civil rights trip to south, I’ve been sharing insights from the trip. Allow me to share one final, short thought in preparation for Pesach. In 1965, a newly published Haggadah was dedicated to the memory of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwirmer. They were three civil rights activists from the north who were murdered in Mississippi...

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