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Congregation Beth Ohr

A conservative, egalitarian synagogue in Central New Jersey

70 Route 516, Old Bridge, New Jersey 08857
Phone: 732-257-1523

Rabbi’s Message


Rabbi William Lebeau of the Rabbinical Assembly installs Rabbi Joel Mishkin (right) as our new Spiritual Leader on November 23, 2014.

Life-long Learning at Congregation Beth Ohr!

Shortly before the onset of the High Holidays I conducted a study workshop for our congregation titled “Six Strategies for Surviving the Holidays.” I was greatly pleased not only by the caliber of our participants but also by the number of students who chose to attend. Our workshop was comprised of fifteen adult students! Their attendance was even more striking since the class was offered on a Wednesday at eleven o’clock in the morning.

Aside from studying some of the more complicated Biblical texts for Yom Tov, I also provided our students with the titles of a number of books appropriate for the holidays. I wanted to expand on this idea so I am offering a bibliography of sorts in this article that will suggest a number of wonderful books, most available in paperback and e-print form that could deeply enhance and supplement the knowledge of any curious student of Judaism.

If an individual were to read just a couple of these books this fall he/she could seriously add to his/her basic level of knowledge of Judaism. Here is the list of books and I sincerely hope that each one of you will give serious consideration to tackling at least one or two of them this fall. I believe that it will not only deepen your understanding of Judaism but also enable you to take much more enjoyment in the observance of our rich, formidable and illustrious heritage.

Below are my choices listed in no specific order by title and author. Should you have difficulty finding any one of these selections please let me know so that I might be of assistance. Have a wonderful year.

Rabbi Joel S Mishkin

The Beginning of Desire by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg
The Murmuring Deep by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg
Why Faith Matters by Rabbi David Wolpe
Conscience: The Duty to Obey and Disobey by Rabbi Harold Schulweiss
The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words 1000BC to 1492AD by Simon Schama
My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by Ari Shavit
Sacred Attunement: A Jewish Theology
God In Search of Man by Abraham Joshua Heschel
The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel


Rabbi’s Previous Messages

Parshat B’shallach

Parshat B’shallach January 30, 2015 The story of the Exodus from Egypt takes on a new phase in the details of this Sabbath’s Torah portion. Last Shabbat, interrupted by the snow had witnessed the final succession of plagues. After the ninth plague of darkness we read of the last straw if you will, the tenth Continue Reading »

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Real Relationships

Sometimes you should listen to your children. One winter a few years back, my son Evan, who is something of a film nut, (he once spent a summer watching every film that received the Oscar for Best Picture) convinced me to watch one of that year’s Academy Award nominations. The reason he needed to convince Continue Reading »

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Spread the Word

There is a school of thought among the sages that the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, is absolutely perfect, emanating directly from the mouth of the Almighty. That is to say each and every word that is written in the Torah is necessary. This particular thesis is sorely pressed whenever there appears to be Continue Reading »

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Making the High Holidays Meaningful

As many of you discovered I have enjoyed meeting you over this summer as I become more accustomed to my new home here in Old Bridge. I have also tried to reach out and telephone much of our membership whom I have not met during the summer months. Since this is our first year together Continue Reading »

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