Minyan In Solidarity with Women of the Wall

On Friday morning, Beth Jacob hosted the Twin Cities Rosh Hodesh service in celebration of Women of the Wall.  Nearly 100 people gathered in our chapel for joyful tefillah, together as a wider community, to honor the courage of the women who gather each month to work to make the Kotel a place where Jews can pray in all our manifestations.   For the first time this Rosh Hodesh Sivan in Jerusalem, Women of the Wall were affirmed by a court ruling in their legal right to daven at the Kotel plaza wearing tallitot and tefillin, praying aloud and reading from the Torah.
Several of our young people joined Women of the Wall in Jerusalem this morning!  Five thousand haredi protesters gathered to challenge them with intimidation and violence, but this time Israel’s police force protected Women of the Wall.
BJUSYers Meital Gewirtz and Jenna Fischer in Israel with the Women of the Wall
Here at Beth Jacob, we celebrated their courage and added our voices to the chorus of support that the sacred sites of our people be safe places for all Jews to pray.  Learn more about Women of the Wall here.
Wonder what it’s like to be there now? Read Jenna’s Blog!

Welcome to Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman!

Rabbi Emma Kippley-OgmanA Beth Jacob Homecoming:

Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman returns to the congregation of her youth as the synagogue’s first assistant rabbi.

Click here to read the full story!


Daily Daf Differently: Rabbi Emma in Podcast

In August, the Jewish world began a thirteenth cycle of daf yomi — a program of learning one page of Talmud each day to read the entire work in seven and a half years.  Some read the daf in English, some in the original Aramaic, some with the commentaries on the side; some learn it alone, others in daily lectures or in hevruta.  A group of liberal rabbis are recording daily seven-minute podcasts about the daf called Daily Daf Differently.  For the coming week (11/16-22), our own Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman is podcasting here: http://jcastnetwork.org/ddd.  Have a listen!

A Beth Jacob Homecoming

Beginning Monday, November 12th, Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman will become the first assistant rabbi in the history of Beth Jacob Congregation, returning to the community of her youth to work closely with the congregation’s rabbi, Rabbi Morris J. Allen, its director of congregational learning, Rabbi Lynn C. Liberman, and lay leaders. With Rabbi Kippley-Ogman’s arrival, Beth Jacob will be the only Conservative congregation in the Twin Cities with a woman as a pulpit rabbi.

Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman

“It is a tremendous honor to return to serve the community that made me who I am,” Rabbi Kippley-Ogman said. “Beth Jacob is my model for what a Jewish community can be. This is a community of people living a vibrant and ever-growing Judaism, taking responsibility for their religious lives and for one another, and sharing in the work of bringing about a just world as an integral part of the spiritual life of the community.”

Rabbi Kippley-Ogman received rabbinic ordination from the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in Newton, Massachusetts, and holds an A.B. degree in History and Science from Harvard College. For the past two years she served as assistant rabbi at Congregation Kehillath Israel in Brookline, a prominent Conservative synagogue in the heart of the Boston area. There she launched an award-winning kabbalat Shabbat—KICKS (KI’s Community Kabbalat Shabbat)—which drew over 60 people each week for soulful, lively intergenerational services and monthly dinners.

Her work at Kehillath Israel also included empowering congregants to lead Shabbat morning and daily services, forming new partnerships with local organizations to create richer programming for the entire community, and bringing a personalized approach to lifecycle events. During her rabbinic training, Rabbi Kippley-Ogman provided pastoral care to patients and families as a chaplain at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, served as High Holy Days rabbinic advisor to the Hillel at Washington University in St. Louis, worked as a community organizer in Chicago with the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, provided rabbinic support to eight isolated congregations during a summer with the Institute of Southern Jewish Life, and spent two years in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Allen, who has served as Beth Jacob’s first rabbi since 1986, is excited to welcome Rabbi Kippley-Ogman back to the congregation as its first assistant rabbi. “Rabbi Kippley-Ogman will bring her passion, her wisdom and insight, and her love of all things Jewish to our community,” he said. “Her success at Kehillath Israel provides us a wonderful glimpse of what we can expect from her work here at our shul.”

Rabbi Kippley-Ogman returns to Minnesota with her husband, Benj Kamm, and their infant son, Otto. They share passions for biking and hiking, organic vegetables, folk singing and piyut (the diverse tradition of Jewish poetry as sung across the Jewish world), and building community. Benj is a systems analyst at Health Leads. The family will live in Mendota Heights.

Why Marriage Matters Video

Check out this video of three Beth Jacob families (Darla & Sam, Larry & Sue, and Amy & Dan) talking about why marriage matters to them!

Nativ Video

Over the past 8 years Beth Jacob has sent many students on gap year programs.  The vast majority of these students, who take a year off before starting college, have gone to Israel on Nativ (www.nativ.org).  They have come to understand the complexities of Israel and the challenges that it faces in ways that most never have the opportunity to.  This is indeed an investment in a life worth making.

Education “Town Hall” Meeting

We invite all of you to a special “Town Hall” meeting beginning at 1:30 pm and preceded by a meet and greet at 1:00 pm on Sunday, January 16, 2011 to re-imagine and strengthen the Jewish learning of Beth Jacob’s young people. Childcare will be available. Read more

Dedication of our Holocaust Torah Scroll

A Gift from Harold and Mickey Smith

Our interest in sifre torah began with the purchase of a large sefer torah from the Beth David synagogue on the old west side. At the same time we purchased that scroll, the dealer told us of another Torah he had which was not kosher and he claimed to have surfaced after the war. The script was faded, the parchment was dirty and the atzei chayim had been cut off.

He explained that this torah was originally from a small town in Czechoslovakia and had been hidden by a non-Jew during the war. He was friend of the rabbi in this town and was told to hide it and keep it till the war ended. He supposedly hid it in an indentation in his basement and to fit the space he had to cut off the aitz chayim. Sometime after the war it surfaced and made its way to the Westminster Torah registry in London and wound up with this dealer in New York. We were intrigued by the story and bought it.

He had it cleaned up as best he could and had a new mantle woven by Moshe Klein and sent it to us. We loved the story and the beautiful mantle and so kept it in our home these many years—knowing full well that some day we would have to find a permanent home for it. And that permanent home is the Beth Jacob Synagogue.

We have also donated a gold breastplate to the Beth Jacob in memory of our beloved daughter, Marjorie (z’l).

–Harold and Mickey Smith

Celebrate Simchat Torah!

On Thursday evening, October 20th, join us at 7:00 p.m. for a wild old time, celebrating the joy of Torah! The first Hakofah on Erev Simchat Torah will be for this year’s 7th grade class honoring them at this special time in their Jewish journey. There will be dancing and eating and doing all sorts of wonderful things – all centered around the joy of Torah.

And then on Friday, October 21st at 9:00 a.m., we will complete the reading of the Torah and will start all over at Bereshit. There will be L’Hayim for one and all! We will be honoring several of our congregants who have been outstanding volunteers to our community.