Featured Stories & Updates


The Creative Process

Jun 19, 2019

By: Rabbi Steve Schwartz

People often ask how sermons are constructed, wondering where I find ideas of what to talk about, why I choose certain references, and what my creative process is. Here are a few thoughts about the sermon I gave on June 1st that might give a bit of insight into how a sermon comes together (at least for me).  


Am Yisrael Chai: Beth El Travels to Eastern Europe

Jun 11, 2019

By: Brandon Chiat, Digital Media Manager

On June 24th, 65 Beth El members - accompanied by Rabbi Steve Schwartz, Cantor Thom King, and Dr. Eyal Bor - will arrive in Warsaw, Poland to begin the congregation's trip through Eastern Europe. While the synagogue has led numerous trips to Israel, this is only the second time in 20 years that Beth El has traveled to Europe.


Rabbi's Reflection: Same as it Ever Was

May 29, 2019
In the fall of 1980, the Talking Heads released their fourth studio album, entitled ‘Remain in Light.’  Jimmy Carter’s presidency was winding down, and in November, a month after the record was released, the country would elect Ronald Reagan to be its 40th president.  The signature song of Remain in Light would become Once in a Lifetime, a charged blending of funk and world music beats overlaid with David Bryne’s surrealistic ravings delivered in a series of preacher-like cadences.  Here are the lyrics of the memorable first verse:

Rabbi Schwartz's Summer 2019 Reading List

May 24, 2019
How To Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan – With the recent popularity of meditation and yoga as spiritual pursuits, Pollan explores an alternative, once frowned upon, method of opening the mind, staying present, and finding meaning – hallucinogenics.  A blend of travelogue, scientific research, medical history, and memoir, the author ponders one of the oldest and most significant human questions:  How can we find meaning in our lives? (460 pages)

Rabbi's Reflection: Vows

May 15, 2019

By: Rabbi Steven Schwartz

He fed her tenderly, a soft smile on his lips, and a gentle glow in his eyes.  They had a table for two, at the back of the restaurant, just at the edge of the candlelight.  She was dressed elegantly; her eyes sparkled, she smiled, they talked and laughed together, their conversation a product of years and years of a shared journey.