About Michael Birnholz
Posts by Michael Birnholz:
Chevruta on Hanukah! December 12, 2020 from 9:30 to 12:30 Eastern Time!
The tradition of Jewish study prefers Chevruta, partnership.
Study is an action that brings us into connection with beings Divine and Human.
Study is a spiritual experience, builds community, connects us across time and
space, broadens our perspective. We are excited to bring all of our communities together to learn and connect for this Festival of Light.
You can us for this Chevruta study experience on this Saturday December 12th. Between 9:30 am and 12:30 pm, we will offer multiple 45 minute sessions on Zoom. You are welcome to go to any of the offerings to partake of the learning and discussion. If you have questions or need additional login information contact Rabbi Birnholz email@example.com
Below, you can find the biographies and further class descriptions
The Study Sessions:
Starting at 9:30 am
Rabbi Barbara Goldman-Wartell: Jewish Texts on Fair Voting and Just Elections
Rabbi Joseph Edelheit: Celebrating the Festival of Light During the Summer! Jewish Life in Brazil
Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar the History of Hanukkah – an examination of the Book of Maccabees
Rabbi Richard Birnholz: Hanukah in the Responsa
Starting at 10:30 am
Rabbi Michael Birnholz: Temple Beth Shalom in Vero Beach https://tbsvero.org/category/about-us/our-staff/rabbi-2/
All the lights of Hanukah: the Hanukiyah and the Moon
As we discuss the in’s and out’s, the why’s and wherefores of the Hanukah Menorah, we will consider the way we increase the light in our homes and its connection to the increasing and decreasing lights in this season in nature!
Beth Pennamacoor: Chanukah Around the World
Rabbi Estelle Mills: History and Mystery in the Chanukah Story: The Secrets in the Stanzas of Maoz Tzur and Seduction by Cheese
Rabbi Courtney Berman: Miracles Large and Small: Using Texts from the Siddur to Explore the Constant Miracles that Make Up Our Lives
Hanukkah is a time when we acknowledge the presence of miracles. We affirm “Nes Gadol Hayah Sham,” a great miracle happened there, with each spin of the dreidel. This season of miracles can give us an opportunity to consider all the ways smaller miracles permeate our lives as well. We will explore the constant nature of those miracles through a study of Birkhot Ha’shahar – the morning blessings – and a few other sources from the Siddur.
Starting at 11:30 am
Rabbi Bruce Benson: Up or Down 1 to 8 or 8 to 1. How to define a miracle…
Cantor Sara Kheel: The Maccabees and Religious Fanaticism
Rabbi Matt Durbin: One People, Many Traditions: Come take a tour around the world as we examine and unpack many of the foods and customs that define our culture and people.
Rabbi Emily Losben-Ostrov: Miracle of Miracles- The miracle of Hanukkah and the miracles in our own lives
Rabbi/Cantor Bruce Benson has been the spiritual leader of Temple Beth El Israel in Port St. Lucie, Florida for 6 years. He spent almost 40 years as an ordained Cantor by HUC-JIR before adding a second Ordination as Rabbi. He is a published author on Jewish subjects and is the recipient of a Grammy nomination for his musical liturgy, “The Rock Service”, the first liturgical piece ever nominated in that category.
Cantor Sara Kheel, who serves Temple Beth Shalom in Vero Beach, Florida, hails from Los Angeles, CA. She began her involvement in the Jewish community early in life, studying at Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School in Northridge, CA and spending her summers at Habonim Dror Camp Gilboa. She grew up at Temple Judea in Tarzana, CA, where she also sang and led services as a young adult. It was there that she began her trajectory toward the cantorate. Cantor Kheel was ordained from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 2017. During cantorial school, she held pulpit positions at Garden City Jewish Center in Garden City, NY, Congregation Or Hatzafon in Fairbanks, AK, Temple Beth Shalom in Arnold, MD, and Temple Beth Israel in York, PA. Immediately following ordination, she spent a year as a chaplain resident at NYU Langone Hospital – Brooklyn. She is passionate about creating meaningful worship, composing new Jewish music, and pastoral care. You can find her around Temple Beth Shalom working with the Caring Community Group; directing our choir, the Shalom Singers; and teaching music and liturgy to our young people.
Beth Pennamacoor has served the Congregation as Cantorial Soloist at Temple Beit HaYam in Stuart, Florida since 1997. Originally from Worcester, Massachusetts, she participated in her Temple’s choir from 2nd grade until graduating high school in 1974. Beth has been Temple Beit HaYam’s Director of Education since 2009. She is having a great time in that position. She loves working with all of the teachers and students in the Religious School. She also does one-on-one tutoring with students preparing to become B’nei Mitzvah. She feels that this is one of the most rewarding parts of her job.
In 2017, Beth achieved one of the things on her bucket list. She received a dual Bachelors/Masters Degree in Jewish Education through Hebrew College with a minor concentration in Israel Education through the iCenter in partnership with Hebrew College. This has been a long time goal for her to complete her education. Beth is an active member of the Commission for Jewish Education in Palm Beach, as a member of the Educators’ Council. She is also a member of the Association for Reform Jewish Educators and is a current board member for the Guild of Temple Musicians serving as Vice President of Conventions. She previously served as Vice President of Membership.
Rabbi Michael Birnholz arrived at Temple Beth Shalom in Vero Beach in 2002 following his ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Over the almost 20 years that Rabbi Birnholz has been in Indian River County, he and his family have had a chance to grow in body, mind and spirit right along with Temple Beth Shalom. Rabbi Birnholz enthusiastically shares his ruach and koach -spirit and strength – with the many diverse generations and facets of the Jewish community. From the biblical garden to tot Shabbat, from Men’s club breakfast to adult learning while making challah, Rabbi Birnholz is proud to be part of vibrant and meaningful life of his congregation. Rabbi Birnholz has also enjoyed his wide variety of community opportunities to teach and preach Jewish values and wisdom. His hope is to build Temple Beth Shalom into a House of wholeness, harmony and peace and see these efforts spread caring, compassion and justice to the whole Treasure Coast.
Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar was ordained in 2009 by Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, where she also earned her Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters.. She also earned a BA in philosophy at Brandeis University. Rabbi Bahar is president of the South East Central Conference of American Rabbis. She was recognized by The Forward as one of “America’s 33 Most Inspirational Rabbis” in 2015. On June 1, 2020, Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar joined the Temple Beth Israel family after serving at Congregation Ahavath Chesed in Jacksonville.
She served the congregation in Jacksonville beginning on July 1, 2018. Prior to that she served as spiritual leader of Temple B’nai Sholom in Huntsville, Alabama for nine years.. The values and traditions she cherishes and her commitment to fostering the closest relationship possible between congregation and clergy are central to her new role at Temple Beth Israel. Rabbi Bahar is the proud parent of a daughter, Aiden, and two sons, David and Daniel.
Rabbi Emily Losben-Ostrov is honored to serve as the spiritual leader of Temple of Israel in Wilmington, NC. Prior to that, she served as the Rabbi of Temple Anshe Hesed in Erie, PA and as the Rabbi of Sinai Reform Temple in Bay Shore, New York (Long Island) following her ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati in 2008.
Rabbi Losben-Ostrov is very proud to have founded the Pesach Project for HUC-JIR which has now allowed hundreds of Rabbinical Students to help lead seders and educational opportunities in the Former Soviet Union. She is also very passionate about fighting AIDS and has led an annual Healing Service for nearly two decades to raise awareness of the AIDS crisis.
Rabbi Matthew Durbin was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, and was an active member of his home congregation of Holy Blossom Temple. After completing an undergraduate degree (Honours B.A.) from York University in Toronto in Anthropology, he embarked on his journey towards the rabbinate preparing at the Leo Baeck College in London, England where he was awarded a Masters of Hebrew and Jewish Studies as well as rabbinic ordination in 2008. Rabbi Durbin was the spiritual leader for Temple Beth El, a Reform congregation located in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate NY for six years, where he strengthened the community, formed a strong sense of Jewish identity within the congregation and inspired members of the community to become more active and involved in congregational life. He brings with him to Stuart a great energy and excitement for Judaism and a strong commitment to learning and education, as well as a deep passion to interact and form relationships among the members of the community. During his third year in rabbinical school, while studying abroad in Jerusalem, he met his wife, Rose, while she was training for the rabbinate in her first year at HUC-JIR in Israel. They have three beautiful and energetic daughters, Eliana, and Maya, and Delilah, who are a delight and certainly keeps them on their toes. They are thrilled to call Stuart home.
Rabbi Barbara Goldman-Wartell is in her thirteenth year serving as the Rabbi of Temple Concord in Binghamton, New York. She is an adjunct faculty member of the Judaic Studies Department and has taught a course on Jewish Nonprofit Organizations for seven years. She has served other congregations in PA, VA and CA and worked for Jewish Federations and Jewish Community Centers in Jewish family education, Jewish education, Holocaust education and awareness, and community relations.
In addition, she is the chair of the Children of Abraham of the Southern Tier Planning Group, has served on the Board of the Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding at Muhlenberg College, and is on the boards of the Broome-Tioga NAACP and the Southern Tier AIDS Program. She has continued her work locally, working to build coalitions and foster understanding and joint endeavors.
Rabbi Richard Birnholz is the Rabbi Emeritus at Congregation Schaarai Zedek in Tampa, Florida. He graduated from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York, and was ordained in 1971. From 1971 to 1973, he was the Assistant Rabbi of Temple Israel in Memphis, Tennessee. From 1973 to 1986, he was Rabbi of Beth Israel Congregation, Jackson, Mississippi, where he also served as a Visiting Professor in the Religion Department at Millsaps College.
Rabbi Birnholz has won numerous awards for his outstanding contributions to Reform Jewish life. In 1977, he won the Samuel Kaminker Memorial Curriculum Award for the outstanding informal education curriculum in the country. In 1983, he was Alumni-in-Residence at Hebrew Union College in New York. In 1989, he was a United Jewish Appeal National Rabbinic Award Winner. In 1991, the professional title of Reform Jewish Educator was conferred on him by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. In March of 1996, he was conferred with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Divinity from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion for serving the spiritual and intellectual needs of the Jewish community for 25 years. Rabbi Birnholz was elected to serve on the Executive Board of the Central Conference of American Rabbis from 1996-1998.
He has been published in numerous magazines and lectures extensively on “Jewish Assertiveness Training. ” He is currently listed in ‘Who’s Who in Religion.”
Rabbi Estelle Gottman Mills received her honorary doctorate for twenty-five years of service as a rabbi in 2017. Most of those twenty-five years were spent serving as the rabbi of Congregation Kol Chadash in the Cleveland suburb of Solon, and as the rabbi of Congregation Kol Am in the St. Louis suburb of Ballwin. Rabbi Mills was the recipient of the prestigious Legacy Heritage Innovator Grant and the Union for Reform Judaism has recognized her creative and innovative programming by awarding her an Incubator Grant for her Family Education Program: “Exciting Destinations, Jewish Explorations” and a Belin Award for her Membership Program: “No Regrets Membership. Rabbi Mills currently serves as the rabbi of Temple Bat Yam in Ocean City, Maryland.
Rabbi Joseph Edelheit was ordained in 1973, served congregations in the Chicago area and Minneapolis. He retired as the Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel in 2001. He served as Director and Professor of Religious and Jewish Studies at St. Cloud State University until his retirement in 2016. He was the rabbinic chair of the Reform Movement’s committee on HIV/AIDS, served on President Clinton’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, and created an interfaith AIDS orphanage in India. He currently lives in Rio de Janeiro and volunteers in small cities without a rabbi. He is the author of “What Am I Missing? Questions About Being Human” available through his website, www.whatamimissing.org
Thurs., 12/10 Downtown Vero near Heritage Center – corner of 20th and 14th Ave
Fri., 12/11 at TBS SHABBAT SERVICES at 7:30pm on ZOOM– SHINING LIGHTS
Sat., 12/12 Gifford Historical Museum and Cultural Center – 2880 45th Street
Sun., 12/13 Sebastian at Riverview Park US1 and County Rd. 512
Mon., 12/14 Sexton Plaza on Ocean Drive and Beachland Blvd.
Tues., 12/15 TBD
Wed., 12/16 At TBS in front of the sanctuary with our Hebrew school students
Thurs., 12/17 Miracle Mile at Vero Estate Jewelry 2101 Indian River Blvd.
This page will evolve as Rabbi Birnholz continues his study through the week for November 21st!
Toldot Triennial Year 2
21 Nov 2020
What is the Rabbi studying
All Campus visits are by appointment or reservation.
For campus visits to the office or for an in-person event:
When you leave your car, please wear a mask that covers
your nose and mouth at all times. Each person must go through a screening process and temperature check upon arrival.
Office visits will be by appointment only.
In-person programs will be by reservation only and have limited capacity on a first come, first serve basis. Please arrive at least 15 minutes before the program to check in with a completed tracing questionnaire. For in-person programs you must remain in your pre-arranged seat. There will be no singing at in-person events.
Please note: Restrooms in the Sanctuary and Social Hall
are available for use at your own risk.
Restrooms in the office are not available for use.
email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or to register for an in-person event.
Join Rabbi Birnholz at 9:30 am in one of the pavilions along the IR Lagoon at Riverside Park.
This month we study invisible lines of connection as we experiment with Static Electricity.
email email@example.com to register.
Social Distancing and Mask wearing required!
In the first two Portions of the Torah, humanity is given the responsibility to take care of the creatures of the earth. In Genesis, Adam and Eve are named caretakers for the animals in the Garden of Eden and then beyond. (In Genesis 1:28 the instruction is to “fill, master and rule.” In Genesis 2:15 it is to “till and tend.” Both imply power over the animals and creatures but later Midrash points out that if you spoil what you rule, then it is gone and you are lost.)
Ten generations later Noah comes forward, righteous in his generation, walking with G!d. Central to the instructions to build an ark, G!d tells Noah to take animals of all species, to safe guard them from the coming flood. Midrashim abound about the care that Noah and his family offer the animals who float along with them. “Our masters said: During the twelve months Noah spent on the ark, he did not saver the taste of sleep – neither he nor his children, neither by day nor by night, occupied as he was with feeding the creatures that were with him.” (Book of Legends page 28 #131)
As the High Holy Days pass, and we celebrate Sukkot, we are entering a new season outside. (In some places it is Fall or Autumn, in Israel it’s the Rainy season, here it is “maybe a little less hot”.) This is a time of appreciating our harvest and considering what we need to do to get through the colder and darker time of year that approaches with the Winter solstice. Connecting the season and its shift in weather and light to the stories we are telling from the Torah at this time of year, is a vital part of our turning outward with energy and inspiration of the High Holy Days. After reflecting on our past year with acts of apology, forgiveness and atonement, we are challenged to think like Adam and Eve, like Noah and his family and consider what we are called to do to care for the creatures of the earth. Are we maintaining the commandments and covenants that G!d made with humanity and have been passed to us? Are we following the model of our ancient ancestors to be responsible as guardians and stewards for the animals who share this planet with us?More
June 4, 2020
Over the years our group (what was once known as the Ministerial Association) has grown from a gathering of just Christian congregations to a truly interfaith and inter racial gathering. This Interfaith Community is a group of clergy and faith leaders who started with meeting the last Tuesday of each month for lunch many years ago. Over time we have organized and participated in community events and celebrations: Martin Luther King Jr parade, annual joint Thanksgiving Service, Four Chaplains service. From responding to the Pulse Night Club Shooting to a service of healing after the attack on the Muslim community in New Zealand, we have also gathered in moments of sadness to offer collective healing. This year we embarked on an interfaith dialogue program inviting the community to hear how each tradition or community approaches different values. Through all of these activities and meetings, we have come to know and understand each other better and have actually become friends in many ways.
Our Interfaith Community group has been working for years to “integrate” our spiritual communities. It seemed only logical that we might take this historic opportunity to try to set a course for the establishment of a more equitable world for people of color at this time. Our various Scriptures and the moral bases of our faith traditions speak powerfully to the basic dignity and equality of every human person.
Indian River County is a perfect microcosm of America in terms of race and ethnic diversity. We have an incredible opportunity here to significantly work on increasing awareness and understanding of cultural and racial differences that have long divided and separated us. Perhaps the road to a more peaceable and just America begins right here in Indian River County, if we take the time and effort to engage one another across communities. The interfaith community has a unique and vital role to play here. In the wake of the death of George Floyd, we wrote and now share this letter as one more example of how leaders of many faith communities, right here in Indian River County and the Treasure Coast are working together to bridge the gaps and the polarization that is so hurting our country and world. We hope our words and actions will inspire and empower you to reach out and seek dialogue and fellowship with people of all walks of life around us.
In the wake of the death of George Floyd and all that has followed members of the Interfaith Community group wrote this letter to our community.
So many of our traditions call us to “love our neighbor as ourselves”; to “let justice roll down as water and righteousness as a mighty stream”; to “beat swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks”; and to create a world where everyone can “sit in peace under vine and fig”… a world in which “there are no throwaway people”. These words and these values are all over Sacred texts, even if you have a different Sacred text or no sacred text, they resonate as a vision of what could and should be.
We lament that some who have sworn to serve and protect have chosen instead to dehumanize, cause pain and inflict harm.
We lament that people have taken cover from those protesting peacefully with righteous indignation and have acted to bring violence, chaos, and destruction into our midst.
We lament that leaders who could bring us together, offer prayers of justice and peace and call us to our highest American values have instead sowed division and directed the use of indiscriminate force.
We are uplifted by so many who come out not to just call for a country and communities of compassion and caring but have themselves stepped up to act to live out these values.
We are uplifted by so many of our law enforcement and first responders who, in these confusing and scary times, still rush forward to take care of all of us, both in body and in spirit.
We are uplifted by leaders who don’t just speak words about what we should do, but instead respond to inspire and empower all of us with action as individuals, communities and as a country so we might find our best selves.
We must be a mindful listener and graceful witness. We challenge ourselves and those around us, in this time and place to reflect on our actions, to connect with family and community and not just hope or pray for a world of compassion and peace, caring and kindness but to go forth and do what we can with an open heart, an open mind and open hands to build it. We stand up to care for and seek justice for people of color and all who are marginalized in our society.
Rabbi Michael Birnholz, Temple Beth Shalom
Rev. Linda Tice, Roseland United Methodist Church
Rev. Dr. Charles E. Johns, Affiliate Minister Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach
Sasan Rohani, member of the IRC Bahá’í Faith.
David Kimball, Humanist Chaplain
Cantor Sara Kheel, Temple Beth Shalom
Rev. David Johnson, Minister of Mission and Education Community Church of Vero Beach
Rev. Scott Wells Alexander, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach
Chaplain Mindy Serafin, Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital
Swami Anjani, Kashi Ashram.
Rev. Denise Hudspeth, Assistant Priest, St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church
Imam Derrick Peat, Resident Scholar at the Islamic Association of Treasure Coast
Swami Dhumavati. Kashi Ashram
Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Jackson, Lead Pastor, Life Changers Global Nation Ministries
Rev. Z. Melinda Witter, Pastor and Director, Institute for Spiritual Development Treasure Coast
The Rev. Nicole K. Eastwood
The Rev. Mark A. Bernthal
The Rev. Jack Diehl
Rev. Dr. Crystal Bujol, First Woman’s Church in the City of the Angels
Carol Ludwig, Executive Director, Center for Spiritual Care
Gerry Lamothe, Pastoral Counselor.
Rev. Dan Holloway, Unity Spiritual Center
Rev. Kathy McManus, Unity Spiritual Center
Rev. Dr. Jacqueline Clanton Pastor, New Bethel A.M.E. Church Vero Beach (Gifford), Florida
Rev. Dr. Joe LaGuardia
Rev. Dr. John G. Brown III ministerial affiliate, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach
Father Michael Goldberg, St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church