Rabbi Jaymee Alpert

On the last Shabbat of each Jewish month, we recite a blessing called Birkat HaChodesh over the new month ahead. The blessing is based on the words that Rav, an early Talmudic rabbi, used to say at the end of his Amidah (Berachot 16b): May it be Your will,Adonai our God and God of our ancestors,to reawaken in us joy... Read more »

Gratitude and Blessings on Thanksgiving

by Jaymee Alpert on December 3, 2019

Gratitude and Blessings on Thanksgiving In this past Sunday’s New York Times, David DeSteno wrote an opinion editorial entitled, “Why Gratitude is Wasted on Thanksgiving.”  DeSteno, a psychologist who has spent years studying how gratitude shapes people’s lives, writes the following, “truth be told, gratitude is wasted on Thanksgiving. Don’t get me wrong: I love the rhythms and rituals of... Read more »

High Holy Days Sermons

by Jaymee Alpert on November 4, 2019

If you would like to reflect on Rabbi Alpert’s High Holy Day messages, the sermons are available for you to read.... Read more »

How One or Two Changes Can Have a Big Impact

by Jaymee Alpert on September 26, 2019

At this time of the year, we tend to have high expectations. During the High Holy Day season, we turn over a new leaf as we pray that we will become the best person we possibly can be. We might not have a plan for how to make incremental changes in our lives, but as we reflect on the words... Read more »

Writing an Ethical Will for Selichot

by Jaymee Alpert on August 29, 2019

Last year on Yom Kippur, I spoke about ethical wills. According to celebrationsoflife.net, an ethical will, or in Hebrew, a tz’a-va’ah is “a way to share your values, blessings, life’s lessons, hopes and dreams for the future, love, and forgiveness with your family, friends, and community. An ethical will is not a legal document; it does not distribute your material... Read more »

I want to hear from you…

by Jaymee Alpert on July 3, 2019

Dear Friends, It is hard to believe that a year has gone by since Danny and I moved to California, and you welcomed us into the community.  What a year it has been!  Thank you for being patient with me as I have tried to learn your names (I still have work to do), to learn the culture of Beth... Read more »
Rabbi Alpert Wants to Hear from You… Rabbi Alpert is eager to hear your thoughts on the year that has passed since she joined Beth David as well as what you might like to see happen in the future. Join her for coffee or a glass of wine Coffee with Rabbi Alpert Friday, July 12 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. Peet’s, 12148... Read more »

Reinvigorating Friday Night Services

by Jaymee Alpert on June 5, 2019

In my very first D’var article, one year ago, I shared one of my favorite liturgical passages.  It is the one I use as both a reminder and a guide that every day, we are granted a new beginning.  Each morning before the Shema, we say “u’v’tuvo m’chadesh b’chol yom tamid ma’aseh v’reisheet – Day after day in God’s goodness... Read more »

Kedoshim and LGBTQ Relationships

by Jaymee Alpert on May 16, 2019

Kedoshim and LGBTQ Relationships Our parashah this morning, Parashat Kedoshim, contains many different ways to become holy.  The word Kedoshim means holy, and the Torah portion opens with God speaking to Moses saying, “Speak to the whole Israelite community and say to them:  You shall be holy, for I, Adonai your God, am holy.”  That’s a powerful message – we... Read more »

Adding Traditions on Shabbat Morning

by Jaymee Alpert on May 9, 2019

Over the last few weeks, we have incorporated two new traditions into our Shabbat morning services.  We have begun calling two people to the Torah to share an aliyah under certain circumstances, and we have added the opportunity to bensch gomel (recite the prayer for recovering and/or emerging from a dangerous situation) as a group.  Here is more explanation: There... Read more »

Metzora, Shabbat HaGadol, Homelessness – 4/13/19

by Jaymee Alpert on April 24, 2019

Parashat Metzora, much like last week’s parashah – Tazria, is one of those parshiot that is really tough for moderns / post-moderns to understand.  It’s gross, it’s icky, it deals with skin disease, bodily fluids and emissions – lots of things we don’t discuss in polite company let alone from the bimah.  And yet, each year, Parashat Metzora comes around,... Read more »

Preparing for Passover

by Jaymee Alpert on April 4, 2019

On Shabbat HaChodesh, the Shabbat on or immediately preceding the month of Nisan – the month in which we celebrate Passover, we read a special maftir portion from the Torah (Exodus12:1-20).  This year, Shabbat HaChodesh falls on April 6, and it is also Rosh Chodesh Nisan.  The maftir contains a description of Passover, and it is a good reminder that... Read more »

3.16.19. Shabbat Zachor, New Zealand

by Jaymee Alpert on March 20, 2019

3.16.19. Shabbat Zachor, New Zealand On Wednesday night we will come together to celebrate Purim.  Purim is a time to let loose – it’s holiday where the normal rules don’t apply.  It is not a holiday of moderation, rather it’s a time to be silly, to dress up, to maybe get a little tipsy, to make noise, and to have... Read more »

Music Instruments on Shabbat

by Jaymee Alpert on March 6, 2019

Music Instruments on Shabbat Back in January we held a parlor meeting to discuss the use of musical instruments on Shabbat.  Despite the rain and wind, more than 40 people came to talk about music as well as to brainstorm ideas for reinvigorating our Friday night services.  I know there were more people who were interested in the discussion but... Read more »

Parashat Tetzaveh: Keva v. Kavannah 

by Jaymee Alpert on February 19, 2019

Parashat Tetzaveh:  Keva v. Kavannah (February 16, 2019) Rabbi Jaymee Alpert Our parashah this morning, Parashat Tetzaveh, picks up where last week’s parashah left off.  Terumah is mostly about the blueprint of how the mishkan was to be constructed, while Tetzaveh is about what and who was to go inside the tabernacle.  Once again, the rules are highly detailed, this... Read more »

World Wide Wrap

by Jaymee Alpert on January 29, 2019

World Wide Wrap The week before I became a Bat Mitzvah, my father called me into his study and said, “I have something for you.”  Before I could ask what it was, my dad showed me a small velvet bag containing a pair of tefillin.  “But Dad,” I said, “I’m a girl.”  My father, well ahead of his time, told... Read more »

Happy 2019!

by Jaymee Alpert on December 25, 2018

Happy 2019! It is hard to believe that it is already January.  It is especially hard for me to believe since it is not cold and snowy.  In the Northeast, January tends to be a quiet time for synagogues.  Many people travel to warmer climates, and the people who do not travel are reticent to go outside unless it is... Read more »

Happy Hanukkah

by Jaymee Alpert on December 4, 2018

Hanukkah is just around the corner, and at this time of the year, we are probably thinking about the gifts still left to buy, the latkes we will get to fry, and the candles we will light.   Hanukkah is also called Chag HaUrim – the Festival of Lights.  We celebrate the miracle of the oil the Maccabees found lasting for... Read more »

Chayei Sarah, Installation 11-3-2018

by Jaymee Alpert on November 8, 2018

Thank you Rabbi Simon – It’s so special to have you here today.  Rabbi Simon has known me since my rabbinical school orientation.  He has been and continues to be my teacher, mentor, and friend.  He has helped to shape the way I approach being a rabbi, and I am appreciative that he is here with us today.  And by... Read more »

The Month of Heshvan – A Time To Settle In

by Jaymee Alpert on October 25, 2018

We are now deep into the month of Heshvan on the Jewish calendar.  This month is often overlooked, because it does not contain any holidays.  In fact, its nickname is Marheshvan, or bitter Heshvan.  I have never thought of Heshvan as a bitter or sad month, rather I have always approached the second month of the Jewish year as a... Read more »

Kol Nidrei: Physical and Spiritual Hunger

by Jaymee Alpert on September 26, 2018

View/Download PDF  Physical and Spiritual Hunger Kol Nidrei, September 18, 2018 Rabbi Jaymee Alpert We just began a fast.  For 25 hours or so, we will refrain from eating all types of food and from drinking all beverages.  It’s been about an hour since we started this fast, and if you’re like me, you might already be thinking that this... Read more »

Yom Kippur: Ethical Wills

by Jaymee Alpert on September 26, 2018

View/Download PDF  Ethical Wills Yom Kippur, September 19, 2018 Rabbi Jaymee Alpert I would like to invite you to take a few moments to think about some ‘big’ life questions:  what values are most important to you?  Why?  How do you make those values manifest in your life?  What experiences have you learned the most from?  What life lessons do... Read more »

Rosh Hashanah Day 1: Change

by Jaymee Alpert on September 18, 2018

View/Download PDF  Change Rosh Hashanah Day 1, September 10, 2018 Rabbi Jaymee Alpert A few years ago, I took a trapeze lesson, and it was amazing.  Terrifying, but thrilling.  The first thing I needed to do was climb a tall, narrow, rickety ladder – it was unnerving, but as long as I didn’t look down, it was okay.  When I... Read more »

Erev Rosh Hashanah: A Sukkat Shalom – A Canopy of Peace

by Jaymee Alpert on September 17, 2018

View/Download PDF  A Sukkat Shalom – A Canopy of Peace Erev Rosh Hashanah, September 9, 2018 Rabbi Jaymee Alpert I would like to take this opportunity to share my remarks from Erev Rosh Hashanah with you.  Wishing you a happy, healthy, peaceful New Year. As part of the evening service, not just on Erev Rosh Hashanah, but every night, we... Read more »

Rosh Hashanah Day 2: Israel

by Jaymee Alpert on September 17, 2018

View/Download PDF  Israel Rosh Hashanah Day 2, September 11, 2018 Rabbi Jaymee Alpert Last April, a social media phenomenon in Israel called Koolulam gathered 12,000 Israelis at an arena in Tel Aviv to sing “Al Kol Eleh” in advance of Israel’s 70th Anniversary.  They sang with the Jerusalem Street Orchestra, and Shlomi Shabat, one of the hosts of The Voice... Read more »