From the Rabbi

In this week’s parashah, Vayetzei, Jacob “encounters a place” (vayifgah bamakom). The root of the word vayifgah, translated as “encounter,” is related to both the word for hitting or striking, and our commentators suggest that it is also a word for prayer. An encounter – perhaps any encounter – has the potential to be violent, or to be sacred.

It is with that knowledge that I want to encourage you to join the encounter prepared by the Israel Program Task Force tomorrow evening, about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. You’ll hear about the BDS resolution that passed on UO campus last spring, and why UO Hillel deeply opposed it. You’ll also hear from people who have wrestled with their relationship to the movement from many directions. Whether your opinions about Israel and Israeli policy are firmly set or are based more on questioning than opinion, this event will both answer and raise questions. I encourage you to embrace the encounter.

TBI Updates

Oneg Signup
Host an oneg following Erev Shabbat services! Share the spirit of our community, greet friends, meet new friends. Celebrate a milestone, honor a family member or friend, remember a loved one. Co-host with someone. Life is busy, so keep it simple. Cookies and fruit is all that’s needed!  Instructions and reminders provided. Questions? Contact Jody  in the office. Sign up here.

Shabbat Lunch
TBI provides a light lunch following Shabbat morning services when there are no B’nai Mitzvah. Everyone is invited, and you don’t need to attend services to join in. If you’d like to sponsor a lunch in celebration of an occasion, to honor someone, or to remember a loved one, please send in a check or donate online and select “Shabbat Lunch Fund.” Sponsorships are a minimum of $100.

We also need help with set-up and clean-up. Volunteer here.

TBI Brotherhood, November 18, at 9:30 am. Ken Rosemarin will be the featured speaker. His talk is entitled “The US Postal Service, an unauthorized insider’s view.” FREE. All are welcome!


TBI Sisterhood presents Lisa Ponder as the featured speaker, November 18, 2:00 pm. “An insider’s peek at Monument(al) History, Art, & local Stories.” Lisa will show photos and tell stories drawn from 20 years of designing and creating one-of-a-kind memorials for interesting civic and personal local histories. FREE. All are welcome!


Jewish Literature Group
Wednesday, November 28, 7:00 pm

Three Floors Up by Eshkol Nevo


As part of our “Scientists in Synagogues” series, Dr. Paul Slovic, Professor of Psychology, University of Oregon, and TBI member, presented “The Arithmetic of Compassion” – What motivates us to save one life? What deters us from saving many?”

To learn more about how his organization raises awareness of psychological obstacles to compassion, click here.


Our synagogue is part of a national project entitled “Scientists in Synagogues,” a grass-roots initiative run by Sinai and Synapses in consultation with the American Association for the Advancement of Science Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion, and funded by the John Templeton Foundation. Click to learn more.

These are free and open to the public. 

The next one is Wednesday, December 12: Dr. David Frank, Professor of Rhetoric, University of Oregon, “Justice and Mercy” – Using Cain and Abel as a case study in rhetoric. Registration will open soon.

Save these dates: Jan 16 and Feb 13. Additional details will be announced soon.


In the Bin: Each month at TBI, we collect a different item needed in the community. For November, we are collecting new men’s and women’s socks, hats, and scarves for guests at Whiteaker Community Thanksgiving dinner. Please bring something to add to the bin when you come to TBI and help make this season a little brighter.


TBI is hiring a Director of Community Education. View the job description and application instructions here.


Read Rabbi Ruhi Sophia’s dvar for the Torah portion, Lech Lecha, which was part of HIAS’s National Refugee Shabbat. To learn more about the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, click their logo.

To read Rabbi Ruhi Sophia’s words, click here.


Sign Language Interpretation
Some services and events have interpreters scheduled. Please notify the office if you would like interpretation at additional upcoming services or events.

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Check us out on YouTube!

You can find the High Holiday services, The Purim Shpiel, This American Jewish Life talks by TBI members, and more. Full HD videos and live streaming where available.