The HaNefesh Blog

Take Two Minutes to Remember

This weekend we observe Memorial Day. This is a time that we are to remember the people who gave their lives in service to our country and defended our country so that we can live as a free nation. Memorial Day has become a time of sales and the start of the summer...

We Come From the Garden

Last weekend, we did a thing…we planted a garden. We started with some grow bags and then a trip to a nursery for vegetable plants we knew we would like to eat. Admittedly, we could have bought a lot of vegetables for the amount we paid for plants and soil, but the...

Let Us Celebrate Israel’s 76th Birthday!

Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day begins on Monday night, May 13. This year, as with many of the holidays since October 7th, it seems even more important to celebrate Jewish life.  In 1948, the world watched as Ben Gurion, the Chairman of the Jewish Agency,...

Never Again Is Now – Yom HaShoah in 2024

On January 30, 1933, 91 years ago, Hitler came to power and began the long road of building a case against the Jewish people that would lead to the murder of close to 7 million Jews and 11 million people during the Holocaust. It didn't happen overnight, rather, it...

Yes, It Can Happen Again

Why did we let it happen? Why didn’t we just get out? How could we just let them lead us to the gas chambers? How could we let people push us out of businesses, schools, and our communities?  These were questions from not only after the Holocaust, but these are...

There’s something for everyone at Passover

Passover is z’man cheiruteinu, the time of our freedom. We love this holiday and all that we get to do with it. From the mass amount of cooking, which if the Israelites cooked like we do for Passover today, we would still be living in Egypt; to the gathering together...

What does it mean to be free?

As we prepare for Passover, we ask an important question; What does it mean to be free?  As Americans, we understand freedom to be, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom to assemble. While we have those freedoms, we also...

Keeping emotions in check

Our emotions can sometimes get the best of us. When we are angry or frustrated with something, we might forget to stop, think, and then act. It’s easy to react to an email or a posting that we disagree with or find offensive. And when we react too quickly, our anger...

One Year Olds Should Not Be In Tunnels

Remember one year old celebrations? We might remember them from pictures of when we turned one or when we celebrated our own children turning one. There was a party that was definitely more for the parents and family since the child would not remember it. There was...

A Note of Thanks

I heard that someone called HaNefesh the Gay/Lesbian congregation in Orange County. This comment was said to others in hopes of being hurtful to HaNefesh. I want to say to this person, thank you!  Thank you for recognizing that yes, HaNefesh is a community that...

Night 7 Song Lyrics 2022

Hamentaschen Latke Debate – Rabbi Joe Black Come answer the question: Which one is the best one? Latke(s)? Hamentaschen? Hamentaschen latke debate I like latkes - lots and lots of latkes. They're golden brown. I gobble 'em down  With sour cream and apple sauce. A...

We’re Far From Irrelevant!

It’s Thursday and you all know what that means…Thursday night football! The 49ers are playing the Seahawks tonight and Jodi is wearing her 49er gear in preparation. So far, it has brought the team luck and it means we make sure to do laundry before each game! Imagine...

HaNefesh Olive Oil Tasting

Check out all the great products from Pasolivo in Paso RoblesThey do have deals going right now for purchasing olive oil and other products, so check out the page soon! Recipes! There is so much you can do with olive oil, including baking. Here is the link to the...

Our Choices Are For the Future

Yom Kippur Morning Sermon/5783-2022 Rabbi Heidi Cohen How do our choices affect us? And do they only affect us? It’s like the pebble that, when tossed into the water, creates ripples for as far as it can go.  Today, we read in our Torah:  You stand this day, all of...

Integrity in 2022

Kol Nidrei Sermon - 5783/2022 Rabbi Heidi Cohen Recently, we’ve been wrestling with the state of our world, our country, our community? Why is it people are behaving the way they do? Over the past few years we saw the best in people as they supported each other at the...

Reproductive Rights Is A Jewish Value

Rosh Hashanah Sermon - 5783/2022 Rabbi Heidi Cohen   On June 24 we were all shocked yet not surprised. 50 years after Roe v Wade was passed, after the Supreme Court ruled that a woman had the right to her own reproductive care, it was taken away. It was as if the rug...

What is Freedom? Especially Today

Judaism exists because of freedom. Our text says often, ‘remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Eternal freed you.’ Shortly after our leaving Egypt and being free, we were given the responsibility of Torah and the 613 commandments. Our Jewish journey began...

Invest in HaNefesh at the End of 2021

Checks can be sent to: HaNefesh15333 Culver Dr.Suite 340-2AIrvine, CA 92604HaNefesh is about building Jewish life without "Building Funds." Our concrete and mortar are the strong relationships that bind our community together, the learning that provides a foundation...

We Are So Excited to be a Part of Something Big

This week, in our Torah portion, Vayishlach, we continue to see Jacob’s transformation. He comes from a family who shares a covenant with God. His mother made sure that he was destined to continue that line by helping him get the birthright blessing from his father,...

The Megillah as Seen Today

Judaism has over 3000 years worth of text to immerse ourselves in. And we often ask, is any of it still relevant? The answer is, yes! It is relevant because we do the work to ask the important question, what does this text tell me about my life today or the world?...

The Mountain Over Our Heads

Have you ever felt like someone was holding a mountain over your head wanting you to choose something? This was exactly how one midrash suggests the Israelites felt when the Torah was being presented to them.  This week, we read from Parashat Yitro which includes...

Who will plant for the future?

Who will plant for the future?

This week brings together two observances. Today is Tu BiShvat, the 15th of the month of Shvat during which we celebrate the birthday or the new year of the trees. This festival reminds us to never take for granted this beautiful earth that is ours to care for and...

Tu BiShvat Seder January 26 at 6:30pm

Join Sheila and Rhea for a fun Tu BiShvat seder celebrating Mother Earth, the trees and all that comes from them. Click here to log in and have your foods ready to enjoy. White and Red Wine/Grape Juice: You will need enough for four cups.Fruit that is hard on the...

A Blessing for a Vaccine

The time has come for us to receive our Covid-19 Vaccine! (Well, when our number is called) And with every moment, there is an opportunity for blessing. Below are a number of blessings to choose from. Find one that calls to you or even adapt and create your own....