April 22, 2021

Dear TI Community,

Even as we witness the conviction of Officer Derek Chauvin, there is a long road yet ahead to reach the place of racial justice where we need to be. We pray that the verdict in the Chauvin case will be met with peace and relief.

As Jews, we know what it is to be the stranger and to live in fear. We stand with our African-American sisters and brothers in the fight against racism and racial injustice. Racism, like anti-Semitism, will not disappear in our lifetimes. But it is an ongoing fight; we can never rest our efforts, thinking that it has been addressed enough to end the injustice.

While I urge you join me in supporting the police, who strive to serve and protect; we must also acknowledge that racial profiling in policing is untenable for a democracy that demands equality and justice for each and every citizen. We repudiate all violence in the service of the cause of justice.

Faith in the justice system cannot be achieved without retraining to prevent systemic racism in the law enforcement community, from street level policing to official local, state and federal agency leadership. We must rededicate ourselves to making our country even more fair to all its inhabitants. May we all join together in the pursuit of justice and peace. As the Prophet Amos said “Let love and justice flow like a mighty stream; let peace fill the world as the waters fill the sea.”

Rabbi Raphael Kanter

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If you did not get a chance to virtually attend the
JTS Convocation (held on Sunday, 1/31/21) please
click to
watch Rabbi Kanter receive his Doctorate of Divinity!


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January 6, 2021

Dear TI Community,

Looking ahead with hope to vaccinations, I am providing a very important document. Click here for the three blessings to say after you are vaccinated. This would be a great way to celebrate the long-awaited moment as a Jew.

The first of the three blessings thanks God for the secular scholars, the scientists, who made this possible. The second is to mark the miraculous nature of receiving a vaccine that can stop the pandemic and the carnage in its wake. The third blessing is the Shehecheyanu that we say on all happy and momentous occasions.

Please print these blessings and bring them with you when you go for your vaccination. (A special thanks to Ross Chartoff who created the accompanying sheet in Hebrew, transliteration and in English translation.)

The Talmud teaches us that a Jew should say 100 blessings each day. So here are three of the hundred for that special day in your life and the life of this nation and the world.

May we all stay healthy and feel a sense of peace with the pandemic's end in sight.

Sincerely,
Rabbi Raphael Kanter

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September 3, 2020

Dear Friends,

I hope that you enjoy this prayer written by my colleague Rabbi Menachem Creditor.

Warmly,
Rabbi Raphael Kanter


A Blessing for all our Children
Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Dear, Precious Ones, Our Children,

May you be blessed in your goings and comings, in your ongoing journeys through an uncertain world. May God protect you from evil and from carelessness.

May your hearts grow in awareness and sensitivity. May your minds deepen in appreciation and curiosity. May you learn life's lessons and be strengthened.

May whatever successes you achieve find you humble and ready to share, graciously and generously. May whatever challenges you face find you brave and ready to ask for help.

May you be blessed with good neighbors, good teachers, and good friends. May this world invite your hearts' gifts and the gift of your hearts. May your soul be resilient and heal fully and quickly whenever it needs to.

May we, your teachers and families, be blessed to witness your amazing paths forward, inward, and upward. May you never doubt the overflowing love and gratitude we feel for you. May the Source of Life pour through you and surround you as you choose your next steps.

May you know and share kindness, deep and true.

Thank you for being ours, and for being your own, glorious selves.

We love you more than we can say.

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August 21, 2020

Dear Friends,

I am so proud of the commitment we have made to Jewish life and all that we have accomplished during this difficult and challenging time. Please help us make the services we offer, both outside and inside, a success. We need your help to keep them going. Now is the time that our commitment is being tested.

I hope to see you soon in person or online at our services and the upcoming programs for 5781.

Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy New Year 5781.

Warmly,
Rabbi Raphael Kanter

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August 9, 2020

A Teaching From Rabbi David Wolpe
    Shared with us by Rabbi Kanter

About Me


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August 2, 2020
Dear Friends,

I recently came across the story of "Leica and the Jews." As it says in the story "Memories of the righteous should live on."

Please read the story and share this link.

Rabbi Raphael Kanter

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July 24, 2020
Dear Friends,

Please listen to this very important message, "Healing the emotional and spiritual pain of job loss" from my colleague Rabbi David Wolpe (click here).

I hope that you will share this with anyone that you believe will find it helpful.

Rabbi Raphael Kanter

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Rabbi Kanter's Prayer at the
Interfaith service June 14th at
St. Mary's Cathedral Fall River MA

I don't know what it feels like to be a black man or woman in America.

I don't know what it feels like to be judged by the color of my skin.

I don't know what it feels like to wear a hoodie and be considered a menace.

I don't know what it feels like to go for a jog and fear someone may think I am a threat.

I don't know what it feels like to be pulled over by Police and worry I may be shot.

I don't know what it feels like to teach my 16-year-old son how to be pulled over for being a person of color.

I don't know what it feels like to have someone threaten to call the authorities and specify my race with the expectation that I will be harmed.

I don't know what it feels like to experience police officers as anything other than helpers.

I don't know what it feels like to suffer centuries-old racism embedded in so much of America.

I don't know what it feels like to live in fear each day because of the color of my skin.

I don't know what it feels like to not be able to breathe, like George Floyd.

Here is what I do know and that we must remember today and every day – that every human being is created in the image of God and is of infinite value. White prejudice and rascism is a lifelong fight that must be eradicated from each and every one of us. God, as we condemn the murder of George Floyd, we know with your presence guiding us, we can build a world, and a country, in which the dignity of People of Color is affirmed and cherished.

The Modern Day Jewish Prophet Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, taught: "There is an evil which most of us condone and are even guilty of: indifference to evil. We remain neutral, impartial, and not easily moved by the wrongs done to other people. Indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself; it is more universal, more contagious, more dangerous." We hear your word in his words and they must enter our heart that we must not remain neutral and impartial in the face of continued devaluation of black bodies and acknowledge the evil that lives among us that would allow a policeman to believe that this murder would be condoned. We can do this if we truly sense your presence. Alohaynu Velohai Avoteynu, Our God and God of our Ancestors, give us a new heart, a heart that turns to your truth, a heart filled with peace and justice. If we truly walk in your paths then the right of protestors to free speech will be unimpeded and every citizen will raise her voice in protest until we see changes and policies that show that Black Lives Do Matter.

We pray now for the day when the words of the psalmist become a reality.

HeneiMaTov
Hineh Mah tov umah na'im shevet achim gam yachad.
"How good and how pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity."
amen

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Rabi Kanter's Statement on the murder of George Floyd
June 3, 2020

Our Torah teaches us that every human being is created in the image of God and is of infinite value. For far too long, for generations, African-Americans have been treated as less than fully human and have often paid for White prejudice with their lives. We as Jews, a people of the covenant, condemn the murder of George Floyd, and we continue to commit to building a country, and a world, in which the dignity of People of Color is affirmed and cherished.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, taught: “There is an evil which most of us condone and are even guilty of: indifference to evil. We remain neutral, impartial, and not easily moved by the wrongs done to other people. Indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself; it is more universal, more contagious, more dangerous.” We must not remain neutral and impartial in the face of continued devaluation of black bodies. We must acknowledge the evil that lives among us that would allow a policeman to believe that this murder would be condoned.

I believe that we, the members of the TI community, will not be indifferent. We will support the right of protestors to free speech unimpeded. We support every citizen’s right to raise her voice in peaceful protest. We will not let the actions of the few undermine the vast majority of peaceful protestors filling our streets, especially here in New Bedford. Let us pray for the day when the words of the psalmist become a reality, “How good and how pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity.”

Rabbi Raphael Kanter

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April 29, 2020
Dear Friends,

Were it not for the Corona virus this coming Shabbat (Acharei Mot/Kedoshim) we would have celebrated the Bat Mitzvah of Ella Friedman. Ella worked hard preparing for this day and we wanted to share with you the beautiful job she did learning her Haftorah. You can view this virtual bat Mitzvah video posted on Youtube by clicking here. We are sure that Ella will be pleased to read your comments!

We know that you all join with us in wishing Ella a heartfelt Yasher Koach and Mazal Tov.

Rabbi Raphael Kanter
Cantor Nathaniel Schudrich

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April 19. 2020
Dear TI Family,

Here is a link to an article from my friend Martin Bentz, the Outreach Coordinator for the Islamic Society of Southeastern Massachusetts.

I believe that sharing this information with you is a worthwhile gesture of peace to our Muslim brothers and sisters for the Ramadan Period which begins on April 24th.

Be well. I hope to see you all soon.
Rabbi Kanter

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Prayer in the Time of Corona Virus
   by Rabbi Joseph R. Black

Our God, and God of all people:
God of the rich and God of the poor;
God of the healthy, and God of the afflicted;
God of those with healthcare, and God of the uninsured;
God of the hoarder, and God of the helper;
God of those who have no God.

We are acutely aware of the gnawing unease that has been inspired by a global pandemic. Everywhere we look, we see apprehension and uncertainty unleashed all around us. The impact of this illness is very real. Its presence is felt every time we wash our hands, clear our throats or flinch in response to someone coughing behind us.

A virus cannot be seen by the human eye – and yet it makes its presence known in the empty classrooms andcancelled events that increasingly are becoming the norm around our city, state, nation and throughout the world.

It inspires fear as we await news of its arrival in our midst. We struggle to avoid contact with our faces and abandon all gestures of human touch that, just last month were expressions of friendship and affection.

We have heard stories of how the virus has brought out the worst in some of us. We have hoarded vital supplies and taken advantage of shortages to gouge our fellow citizens on the secondary market. We have taken solace in the fact that it is projected to most severely impact the most vulnerable in our midst: the aged and indisposed; the compromised and infirm;

We have watched in horror as racists have targeted Asian and other ethnic communities, using our fears to reinforce their hideous agendas.

But along with the ugliness, we also have seen simple beauty:

  • Outpourings of caring and concern;
  • Communities coming together to ensure that the frailest among us will be safe and secure;
  • Doctors, nurses and healthcare workers who have labored in dangerous conditions in order to care for their patients;
  • Researchers and students who valiantly search for cures and vaccines to stem the tide of infection.

The Psalmist wrote:"Who may ascend the mountain of the Eternal? Who may stand in God's holy place? Those with clean hands and a pure heart." (Psalm 24:3-4)

We pray that, as we wash our hands (for 20 seconds – no less...) we also might strive to find You, O God – in our hearts our hopes and our homes.

Eternal One: Bless all who come to this sacred place. Keep them healthy. Give them strength to find ways to safeguard our State and protect the lives and livelihoods of every one of its citizens.

We pray for healing of those who are affected. We pray that those who are healthy will remain so. We pray that this crisis will end and that lives and livelihoods will be spared.

Amen

Click for more prayers recommended by Rabbi Kanter.

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A message from Rabbi Kanter -- 4/5/2020

With the synagogue closed, we are continuing to adapt to the new reality and improvise new Jewish spiritual expression. Since we are not reading Torah, we are not doing the mishebeyrach prayer (the prayer for the ill). I realized that there is an acceptable temporary substitute for this prayer. I am davening individually in the chapel each morning and as part of my Amidah, the standing silent prayer, I add to it a prayer for the congregants who I know are recovering from surgery or illness, or others who may be in treatment for an illness, or in recovery from substance abuse etc. If there is someone you would like me to add to my prayer I would be happy to do so.

I also encourage you to say a free form prayer of your own for each person whose name you send to me.

Yasher Koach, May Your Strength Be Continuous,
Rabbi Raphael Kanter

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Rabbi Kanter was recently contacted (4/3/2020) by Rev. David A. Lima. Rev. Lima is the Pastor of the New Seasons Worship Center, Executive Minister for the Inter-Church Council of Greater New Bedford and the Chair of the Greater New Bedford Suicide Prevention Coalition.

Rev. Lima shared the following:

NEEDED - Corvid-19 Homeless Supply Wishlist
We have a homeless population in the area that numbers in the dozens. We're encouraging the city to put somethings in place but we need to help these folks now. There are a few outreach teams out there continuously as well as, I know, some of you. Danielle Brown is one of the leads for the Homeless Servers Providers Network HEART outreach program and lists what's needed most.

  • Clothing
  • Water
  • Blankets
  • Small First Aid Kits
  • Hygiene Products
  • Grill Rack
  • Wash station
  • Solar phone chargers
  • Sandwich meat
  • Sleeping bags
  • One gentleman needs sneakers
  • Gloves
  • Mask
  • Trash bags
  • Liquid soap
  • Drying materials
  • Tent
  • Food

Please contact her directly with any assistance you can provide.

  • Danielle Brown
  • Project Coordinator
  • Project FAIHR
  • 5 Dover Street, Suite 207
  • New Bedford, MA 02740
  • Telephone: 774-992-0655
  • Facsimile: 774-628-9757
  • Email: dbrown@steppingstoneinc.org

Rabbi Kanter encourages all who are able to assist to please do so.

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Dear TI Family,

I have a suggestion. During this difficult time, you can support those in need by bringing groceries to the Salvation Army who helps those with food insecurity. They are accepting food donations. If you are healthy and able to go shopping, shop for yourselves and buy one or two items for those in need. Please call the Salvation Army; call ahead before going there, in order to make sure they have available staff to accept the donation. Click here for the Salvation Army Web Page. We all should look for opportunities to do a mitzvah wherever and whenever we can.

Please note, we are keeping a watch to see what new health guidelines might be issued, and if they become stricter, you may have to postpone this mitzvah until the time is right.

Rabbi Kanter

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Tifereth Israel Congregation
145 Brownell Avenue
New Bedford, MA 02740-1654

phone: (508) 997-3171
 fax: (508) 997-3173
e-mail: ti@tinewbedford.org

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