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Ta Shema: October 29, 2021

Believe it or not, Chanukah is coming! This past month of Cheshvan, we had a break from the holidays. As we announce the new month of Kislev this Shabbat, we set our eyes towards those twinkling Chanukah lights. (By the way, this is your reminder to check out the Sisterhood gift shop for all of your Chanukah needs.) 

Chanukah reminds us to be the one to stand up when all hope seems lost. When everyone else searches around the room for that hero to do or say something, Chanukah reminds us to look no further than ourselves. Our voices must be the hammer that smashes through all systems of oppression in our lives and the lives of others. 

As you make your list of holiday gifts to buy and foods to make, also make your list of organizations to give to and causes to raise up. Use your voice as a gift for yourself, your family, and others this upcoming holiday season.

Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom, 

Rabbi Bender


Let My Voice be a Hammer 

--Rabbi Rachel Greengrass


Mattathias was just a man,

A man who saw that if he did not stand up, no one else would

Judith was just a woman,

Who saw that if she did nothing, her people would be destroyed.

Both refused to give up, both used what little they had, attacked by using cunning, guerrilla warfare.

And so it was that one woman was able to save her town, and one family was able to save our people–

From loss of life–

From loss of spirit–

From forgetting what it means to be Israel

Being Israel means to struggle and fight

Being Israel means standing up when others would push us down

Being Israel means hope in the darkest of times–like a menorah in the window

Being Israel means speaking out against tyranny, against prejudice,

It means letting your voice be the mouth piece of God

Rising above fear

So, God, let my voice be a hammer

Let it break down walls,

Build homes and community,

Strike out against injustice

Let it be a comforting tool for my sisters and those who are weak

Let it smash indifference

Let it ring the eardrums of those who would silence us

Because I am Israel.

I struggle with the divine,

I will not be kept quiet

Let my voice be a hammer

Like Mattathias and Hertzl, like Judith, and Nofrat



Rabbi Chaya Bender

Bnai Israel Congregation


C. 910-547-7595

Mon, October 3 2022 8 Tishrei 5783