Leilah Goode's Bat Mitzvah

Hello. My name is Leilah Goode. I am a seventh grader at Claire Lilienthal Middle School. I love playing soccer, going to pop concerts, watching movies, and hanging out with my friends in addition to exploring all that San Francisco has to offer.

In Parashat Bo ("Go!"), God commands Moses to "Go to Pharaoh" to continue to plead for the Israelites' freedom. Pharaoh refuses, and his refusal causes additional punishment to befall the Egyptians in the form of three more plagues: locusts, darkness, and, finally, the death of all firstborn Egyptian sons. As the firstborn Egyptians begin to die, Pharaoh relents, and Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses proclaims that each year on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month, a festival lasting seven days will be celebrated in order to recall our freedom from slavery in Egypt.

Freedom, at last. In my d’var Torah, I contemplate the privilege of living in a society founded on freedom, the challenges freedom brings, and the vigilance with which we must protect our liberty. Freedom cannot be taken for granted, even in America.

I would like to thank my tutor, Noa Bar, for all her patience and perseverance in helping me learn my segments of this week’s Shabbat torah service. I would also like to thank Rabbi Glazer and Rabbinic Intern Amanda Russell for familiarizing my havurah with the weekly prayers and reinforcing that there are many acceptable interpretations of our stories. Thanks to my havurah and CBS for being part of a collective journey. And thanks to my family for encouraging me to embrace all aspects of my heritage.

Micah Mangot's Bat Mitzvah

Shalom! My name is Micah Mangot. I am a seventh grader at Herbert Hoover Middle School. I enjoy reading, hanging out with my friends, singing, watching Star Trek: The Next Generation with my family, and swimming.

In Parashat Va'eira, on God's instruction, Moses asks Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. Pharaoh refuses and God turns the water of the Nile into blood, Pharaoh is ready to let the Israelites go but God hardens his heart. This process repeats itself with the plagues of frogs, hordes of insects/wild animals, boils, and burning hail. Parashat Va'eira ends without any real resolution. Since God hardens Pharaoh's heart, the parsha raises a question of restrictions on our freedom. In my D'var Torah, I explore what restrictions there are on our freedom and how that relates to my bat mitzvah.

Becoming a bat mitzvah is a big moment. What is important is not only the actual service and party, but also all of the planning and learning that happens before. As a result of this process, I have learned perseverance and the skill of trope reading. To me, this is just the beginning of my learning and of being a part of the community.

I would like to thank my tutor Noa Bar for helping me learn the Hebrew necessary, Rabbi Glazer for working with me on my D'var Torah, and my family and extended family for supporting me wholeheartedly on this journey. I would also like to express my appreciation to the congregation.

5778 High Holy Days Sermons And Teachings

Rabbinic sermons are meant to be heard, so Rabbi Glazer thoughtfully recorded all of his High Holy Days sermons and teachings for your listening edification. If you missed any of the Beth Sholom High Holy Days services this year, or if you just want to revisit some of your favorite teachings, we invite you to spend some time with the audio archive below.

Additionally, we began a large, communal conversation about practicing Hesed (Compassion) during Yizkor this Yom Kippur, and Rabbi Glazer asked the question: "As we gather at the moment of Yizkor – of recalling and rebirthing the sacred memories that make for community — I wonder what our future CBS yizker-bukh ("communal book of memory" in Yiddish) should look like, and what recipe for compassionate community should it hope to pass on to those who come after us?" As we engage this process of self-reflection within our families, our friendship circles, and our communal family, Rabbi Glazer encourages everyone to read a 2015 manifesto for compassionate community built on Hesed. Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (z"l) and Netanel Miles-Yépez describe an ancient-new paradigm for community, what they call the "Fourth Turning of Hasidism." All Beth Sholom members and friends are invited to read and reflect further upon the manifesto Foundations of the Fourth Turning of Hasidism: A Manifesto and to let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page.


  • Be-longing In Jerusalem -- Drash, Erev Rosh Hashanah 5778
    Finding a way to long for both Klal Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael in our "American Jerusalem."[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/1_5778-ERH-Be-longing-In-Jerusalem.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Being Born In A Nutshell Of Time -- D'var Torah, Rosh Hashanah Day 1 5778
    Breaking the vessel to create more loving and sustaining society.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/2_5778-RH1-Being-Born-In-A-Nutshell-Of-Time.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Do Someone Else A Favor -- Drash, Rosh Hashanah Day 1 5778
    Why we are all street sweepers – how we can put our faith into action.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/3_5778-RH1-Do-Someone-else-A-Favor-Why-we-are-All-Street-Sweepers.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Coming Together, Falling Apart -- D'var Torah, Rosh Hashanah Day 2 5778
    Breaking the vessel to create more loving and sustaining society.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/4_5778-RH2-Torah-Intro-Coming-Together-Falling-apart.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Generative Versus Coexistence Pluralism: Depends On Your Point Of View -- Drash, Rosh Hashanah Day 2 5778
    What is the effect of pluralism on peoplehood? On being Jews – not just Jew-ish – together?[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/5_5778-RH2-Generative-Vs-Coexistence-Pluralism-Depends-On-Your-Point-of-View.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Can A World Without Mind Reclaim Free Will? -- Drash, Kol Nidre 5778
    Technology and human majesty, humility, and responsibility.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/6_5788-YK-KN-Can-A-World-Without-Mind-Reclaim-Free-Will.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Along The Silk Road Of Prayer -- A Yom Kippur Kavannah, 5778
    Unanswered questions...from the Middle Ages and today.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/13_5778-YK-Along-The-Silk-Road-Of-Prayer.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Reprogramming Return From Distraction -- A Yom Kippur Kavannah, 5778
    How can we find the energy to "reboot" this Yom Kippur?[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/14_5778-YK-Reprogramming-Return-From-Distraction.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Casting Lots To See Your Life's Mission Clearly --
    D'var Torah, Yom Kippur 5778

    What essential questions should we ask amidst chance, chaos, and more of "life happening"?[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/7_5778-YK-Torah-Intro-Casting-Lots-To-See-Your-Lifes-Mission-Clearly.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Living A Life Of Hesed & Building Its Song -- Drash, Yom Kippur Yizkor 5778
    What is Yizkor for, and what are the key ingredients of a song of remembrance? [audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/8_5778-YK-Yizkor-Living-A-Life-Of-Hesed-building-its-song.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Unetane Tokef: Hope In Hopeless Times? Perhaps! --
    A Yom Kippur Kavannah, 5778

    The solidarity and hope that can be found in holy speechlessness.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/12_5778-Tane-Tokef-Hope-In-Hopeless-Times-Perhaps.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • I Shall Be Released From The Seaweed -- D'var Torah, Yom Kippur 5778
    On seeing ourselves through the "weeds" of the Book of Jonah and Exodus.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/9_5778-YK-Jonah-I-Shall-Be-Released-From-The-Seaweed.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Avodah: On The Choreography Of Kneeling -- A Yom Kippur Kavannah, 5778
    Considering why we kneel when we pray together on Yom Kippur.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/11_5778-Avodah-On-Choreography-Of-Kneeling.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Can The Divine Judge Self Pardon? -- Drash, Yom Kippur Ne'ila 5778
    What is the meaning of judgement or justice in contemporary Judaism?[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/10_5778-Neila-can-the-divine-judge-self-pardon.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

Gabriel Rogow-Patt's Bar Mitzvah

Facebook_GabrielRogowPattShalom. My name is Gabriel Bram Rogow-Patt. I am in 7th grade at The Brandeis School of San Francisco. I enjoy a good intellectual challenge. I like coding, playing video games with friends, solving puzzles, and learning trivia.

My bar mitzvah is coming up this Shabbat, and I’m excited, but also nervous. I will read from the Torah and then share my thoughts on Parashat Naso with my family, friends, and the congregation. I have learned a lot in the process of becoming a bar mitzvah, including how to read trope, how to study Jewish thought, and how to write a d’var Torah. I have given careful consideration to my own values and those of my family.

To be "bar mitzvah'ed" is to become an adult in the community and take on religious responsibilities. In Parashat Naso, we learn about several ritual practices, including the ritual vows of the nazirites. We also discover the three-fold priestly blessing, which is often given to b'nai mitzvot.

Thank you to Rabbi Glazer for helping me with my d’var Torah. Thank you to Rabbi Jill Cozen-Harel for teaching me to chant my Torah and haftarah, and for also helping me with my d’var Torah. Thank you especially to my family for supporting me all the way.

Shana Cohen's Bat Mitzvah

Facebook_ShanaCohenHello! Hej! Jambo! Hola! שלום! Bonjour! Hallo! Helló!

My name is Shana Cohen, and I am a third generation San Franciscan and a student at Gateway Middle School. I like soccer (I play on SF Sol), reading, spending time with family and friends, animals, horseback riding, art, and being creative. I am bilingual – I speak both Swedish and English – as well as bicultural. I especially enjoy traveling, and have been fortunate to spend summers in Sweden with my family, and to travel and meet people around the globe. Wherever I go, I make friends and have experiences that I will always remember. So many people from my life have made an impact on me that has contributed to my journey towards reaching the age of mitzvot.

On February 25th, I will have my bat mitzvah, a changing point in my life. I will be sharing it with friends and family from many parts of the world including California, Sweden, Germany, and Kenya. No matter how far (or near) you came from, I am so thankful you are here to share this day with me and my family.

In this week's parsha, we learn that all Jews, rich and poor alike, were required to contribute half a shekel for the Mishkan. You will learn more about Parashat Mishpatim during the Torah service, which includes my d’var Torah.

The maftir that I will read describes a census taken of the children of Israel. Everyone over the age of 20 is required to give half a shekel to restore the Mishkan. The Mishkan was a portable structure used until the Temple was built in Jerusalem. The Israelites could bring sacrifices to redeem for sins or express thanks. Later, in the Torah portion Ki Tissa, God calls Moses to Mount Sinai to get the commandments. Meanwhile, the people became impatient and worried. As a result, they make a golden calf to have a substitute for God. When Moses comes down from Mount Sinai he sees the calf and breaks the tablets. God punishes the Israelites by making them drink the gold of the golden calf. Moses is mad but tells God to give them a second chance. He then returns to Mount Sinai to receive a new set of tablets.

I want to thank my mamma and pappa, my brother Ari, all my grandparents, and the rest of my family and friends. I also want to give special thanks to Rabbi Aubrey Glazer and Noa Bar for instilling in me the gift of Torah, and connecting it to my everyday life. I also want to thank Congregation Beth Sholom for supporting my ongoing Jewish education, and the opportunity to create lifelong friendships.

It will be my pleasure to see you at CBS this Shabbat.

Arlo Novicoff's Bar Mitzvah

Facebook_ArloNovicoffShalom, my name is Arlo Novicoff. I’m a 7th grader at A.P. Giannini Middle School. In my free time, I like to play sports and hang out in the city with my family and friends. I’m interested in traveling, good food, history, and math. This coming Shabbat, February 11, I will become a bar mitzvah.

In my parsha, Beshalach, Pharaoh frees the Israelites and they journey to the Promised Land. As they approach the Red Sea, Pharoah regrets his decision to release them and commands his army to bring the Israelites back as slaves. With Pharaoh's army behind them, the Israelites cry out to God and fear that they will be captured. Moses reassures the Israelites of God’s support by splitting the Red Sea, and they all cross to safety. Although the Israelites are now free, their journey is far from over. They face new challenges along the way, like lack of food, lack of water, and lack of confidence in themselves. Moses once again reassures the Israelites and God provides for them. As we conclude the parsha, the Amalekites attack the vulnerable Israelites and Joshua leads a small army to defend them.

I want to recognize my family who have supported me on this exciting journey. I would like to thank my bar mitzvah tutor, Noa Bar, for teaching me to chant Torah and haftarah trope and to Rabbi Glazer for helping me to prepare my d’var Torah - the discussions and focus were much appreciated. Thank you to Judy and the Chicken Soupers team, who welcomed me during my volunteer days in the CBS kitchen over the course of this past year – it has really opened me up to the realities some elderly people face in our city. Lastly, I’d like to thank the entire CBS community for being there for me from preschool until now. I look forward to seeing many of you next week at CBS!

Sabina Lyon-Freedman's Bat Mitzvah

facebook_sabinalyonfreedmanMy name is Sabina Lyon-Freedman, and I’m in the 7th grade at Roosevelt Middle School. I enjoy playing violin, baking, acting, reading, watching movies, writing novels and poems, spending time with friends (including some of my best friends at Beth Sholom), and petting my cat, Buster.

For my bat mitzvah this coming Shabbat, I will be chanting part of Parashat Vayeira. It is a very busy and important parsha. Abraham and Sarah are told that Sarah will bear a son. Abraham challenges God's plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Isaac is born, and, in response to Sarah's demand, Abraham banishes Hagar and Ishmael. God then tests Abraham's devotion by commanding him to sacrifice his beloved Isaac. I will be focusing in my d’var Torah on the section where Lot makes the problematic decision to offer his daughters to the men of Sodom in order to save his guests.

For my mitzvah project, I am playing violin for residents of the Rhoda Goldman Plaza, where my grandpa lives.

I am grateful to my family and friends. And I’m especially happy that members of my family will be coming from Maine, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Canada, Peru, Israel, and many other places to share this special moment with me. I would like to thank my tutor, Marilyn Heiss, for teaching me how to chant Torah and lead the service. I’ll miss the fun times with her. I want to thank Rabbi Glazer for helping me write my d’var Torah. And I want to thank my cat Buster for being soft and cuddly.

High Holy Days Sermons And Teachings

Web_Chen_9177Many congregants have requested copies of Rabbi Glazer's High Holy Days sermons and teachings. Sermons are meant to be heard (not read), so we're delighted to report that Rabbi Glazer has recorded each and every one of his Yamim Noraim service contributions for your listening edification. As a bonus, we've included Rabbi Glazer's thoughtful drash for Parashat Beraysheet.

If you missed any of the High Holy Days services, or if you just want to revisit some of your favorite teachings, we invite you to spend some time with the audio archive below. Listen to the recordings by clicking the play button under each title and description. (If you prefer to download the file so that you can listen to it while on the go, click the relevant download link.)


  • Finding Space To Love -- Drash, Erev Rosh Hashanah 5777
    Ruminating on Jefferson Airplane's Somebody To Love and our individual and social want for connection.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/ErevRH_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Bonobos, Sarah, & the Great Mother -- D'var Torah, Rosh Hashanah Day 1 5777
    Spiritual evolution: Can the survival of the fittest also be the empowerment of the pacifist?[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/RH1DvarTorah_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Falling To Get Back Up -- Drash, Rosh Hashanah Day 1 5777
    On finding the resilience to rise again after falling.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/RH1Drash_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • "Brace For Impact" in Sully's Akedah -- D'var Torah, Rosh Hashanah Day 2 5777
    Emunah, kehillah kedoshah (sacred community), and preparing ourselves to confront trials of uncertainty.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/RH2DvarTorah_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Why I Don't Believe -- Drash, Rosh Hashanah Day 2 5777
    On the 50th anniversary of the State of Jewish Belief (1966), contemplating faith versus conviction.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/RH2Drash_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • What The Seal Of Truth Is Good For -- Drash, Kol Nidre 5777
    On distinguishing between lies and truth.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/KNDrash_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Sitting In The Belly Of The Whale: Part I -- D'var Torah, Yom Kippur 5777
    On "soul-making" in HaNeshama Lakh.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/YKDvarTorah1_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • "Ghosting" Vs. Bidding Adieu In The Last Kaddish --
    Drash, Yom Kippur Yizkor 5777

    On letting go and intimately marking the passing of a loved one.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/YKYizkor_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Sitting In The Belly Of The Whale: Part II -- D'var Torah, Yom Kippur 5777
    On "soul-making" in the Book of Jonah.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/YKDvarTorah2_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • The Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God – And Has Even More Compassion --
    Drash, Yom Kippur Ne'ila 5777

    Choosing compassion to ensure that the door of the bus remains open for all.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/YKNeila_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Prayer For Israel -- A Yom Kippur Teaching, Yom Kippur 5777
    Putting together the ultimate "prayer package" for the State of Israel.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/PrayerForIsrael_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • The Genesis of Murder: New Exegesis from Saramago to Levinas --
    Drash, Beraysheet (27 Tishrei 5777)

    The story of Cain, the genesis of murder, and the importance of gratitude.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/GenesisBeraysheet_5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

Max Billick's Bar Mitzvah

facebook_maxbillickMy name is Max Billick, I’m a seventh-grader at The Brandeis School of San Francisco. I’m interested in politics, history, constitutional law, world languages, Talmud, and cooking.

This Shabbat – on the fourth day of Sukkot Chol HaMoed – I will be called to the Torah as a bar mitzvah. On the occasion of my bar mitzvah, I will be recognized as a member of this community and brought into the covenant.

On Shabbat Chol HaMoed Sukkot we will be reading from Parashat Ki Tissa. In the parsha, G-d commands Moses to conduct a census. After the census, G-d gives two tablets to Moses on which Moses inscribes the Ten Commandments. Meanwhile, the Israelites decide to make a golden calf. G-d is displeased about this but Moses is able to convince G-d to not forsake the covenant. When Moses saw this for himself, he was enraged and broke the tablets. He pleaded with G-d again not to forsake the covenant, and again carved tablets that he inscribed the Ten Commandments upon.

I want to thank my tutor Noa Bar, for helping me prepare for my bar mitzvah, and Rabbi Glazer for his invaluable help in preparing my d’var Torah.