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From the Rabbi


From the Rabbi

Rabbi Ethan Bair


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Rabbi Ethan Bair grew up in Boston where he was raised by spiritual seekers who rediscovered their Judaism through the Jewish Renewal movement. A graduate of Oberlin College and a former Fulbright scholar to Germany, Rabbi Bair was ordained at the Reform seminary, Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles, in 2011. He wrote his Rabbinic thesis on "Re-Envisioning Reform Jewish Prayer," with Dr. Rachel Adler. While in rabbinical school, he was a recipient of the prestigious Schusterman Rabbinical Fellowship, which brought together future Reform and Conservative rabbis to learn about volunteer engagement, strategic planning and synagogue management. Stemming from this experience, Rabbi Bair would describe himself as a member of a new generation of Jewish leaders for whom denominations are secondary to transformational Jewish experience. Over the last six years, he has served congregations in Ogden, Utah; Vancouver, British Columbia; Sun Valley, Idaho; and San Rafael, CA. Most recently, he worked at American Jewish World Service, a global Jewish non-profit working to realize human rights in the developing world. Before that, he served as Campus Rabbi at the University of Southern California Hillel. Rabbi Bair is committed to creating a participatory and authentic Jewish prayer culture; promoting inter-faith social justice work; and integrating Jewish studies with traditional Jewish sources into his repertoire of teaching. He enjoys running, hiking, singing, and welcoming Shabbat guests into his home with his wife, Nadya. She is a doctoral candidate in Art History, currently writing her dissertation.


Shabbat Unplugged! Bringing the Generations Together

Written by // Rabbi Ethan Bair Categories // 2017 Posts

Dear Temple Sinai Family,

I am very grateful for the dedication and passion of all our committees, and this week, especially to the Jewish Practice and Social Action committees, who have combined forces along with an ad hoc committee to bring us “Shabbat Unplugged!” a fun, musical, contemporary and accessible prayer service with a special song-leader from San Francisco, Toby Pechner. This is a new initiative of Temple Sinai.

This month there is an update from our T.S. Familyhood Committee, below, as part of our effort for committees to share their work directly with the congregation.

This week’s Torah portion is Toldot, which means “generations.” Our hope is that Shabbat Unplugged! will truly bring together all the “toldot” and reference groups within the community for an inter-generational Shabbat. Jewish summer camp melodies can be fun and uplifting whether you’re a kid or have grandkids and everyone in between. Please join us!

In these weeks leading up to Chanukah, may we rededicate to bringing our light to our diverse Jewish community of all ages, where every person is valued for their kindness and how we show up for one another in community. We pray for the speedy recovery of all our Temple Sinai members in need of healing, with thanks to the Caring Committee and every member who has reached out and visited or called a fellow T.S. member in recovery from illness. May our deeds across generations spread light within the Sinai community and beyond.

Shabbat shalom!
Rabbi Bair


Floods, Fires and Anti-Semitism

Written by // Rabbi Ethan Bair Categories // 2017 Posts

Autumn might be my favorite season: the leaves are turning, the temperature is dropping and it’s that magical period now between the end of the High Holy Day Season and Thanksgiving. Before we know it, we’ll be lighting the candles of Chanukah.

That said, there are two recent, difficult events for our Northern Nevada Jewish community we need to address. Firstly, many of us have friends and loved ones who have been affected by the wildfires in Northern California. The devastation has been staggering. Please know that our beloved URJ Camp Newman (located in Santa Rosa, CA) was very much affected. The new cabins all over camp were burned to the ground. If you can find it in your heart to help them rebuild, that would be wonderful.

Most alarmingly, there have also been findings of anti-Semitic graffiti on the UNR campus recently in the form of swastikas painted on the walls of the UNR art galleries. This fascist hate speech implicitly threatens violence against Jews, gays and others. It is deeply disturbing. As Jews, one of our central values is education, and in the face of bigotry and ignorance, all the more so. Thus, we are in process of supporting Hillel and professors on campus to host an educational forum on anti-Semitism.

This week’s Torah portion in Parshat Noach, in which God promises “never again” to destroy the world by flood. In recent weeks and months, we have seen a surge of floods from hurricanes, fires in the west, as well as a surge in hate speech throughout our land. We remember that even if God will never destroy the world again, it is on us to ensure that we humans will pass a world on to our children that is better than the one we found. As a synagogue community, that is the center of our mission as well.

Please see the appeals below from URJ Camp Newman and Jewish Nevada. If you have not yet done so, please consider supporting our new state-wide Jewish Federation, “Jewish Nevada.” Both of these institutions strengthen our ability to fulfill our people’s mission of tikun olam. (And we’re applying for grants to Jewish Nevada, so it looks great to have Temple Sinai members’ support!) Jewish Nevada is very active in Las Vegas, where they continue to help victims of the domestic terrorism event there as well. Strong Jewish institutions are an important check on the various destructive floods of our time.

With prayers for healing and shalom,
Rabbi Bair

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Rabbi Bair's Blog Archive