The HaNefesh Blog

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....

Hope and Healing in the Days Ahead

Yesterday, we were in disbelief by what we saw take place in the halls of our US Capitol. Domestic Terrorists who breached the sacred halls of our government. This was something we've seen on tv before, but we never imagined that we would see it here, on our own...

L’Shana Tovah!

September 17, 2020 | 28 Elul 5780 What an amazing opportunity we have this year to be with our families during our high holy day services!  This year is unique in so many ways and invites many opportunities for us to include our children in services. In the past...

HaNefesh – 7 Elul 5780

HaNefesh: Breathing New Life into the High Holy Days  Enjoy this inspirational video featuring Jewish thought leader Naomi Ackerman.  Naomi Ackerman, the founder and executive director of The Advot Project is an experienced actress, consultant, and...

August 13, 2020 | 23 Av 5780

High Holy Days 2020/5781 are going to be like nothing we have ever experienced. We are going to be “virtual” and with our new community, HaNefesh. These High Holy Days, we each bring our heart and soul forward to create our new year.  We are blending together...

Have a Community? Good to Have a Brit!

A group of people with shared values and vision come together to create a community. This is HaNefesh. We are a group of people with the shared values of creating an open and safe Jewish community where all can come, explore and express their Judaism without fear of...

Lettuce Know

July 9, 2020 | 17 Tamuz 5780know.... I had a great conversation this week about how to be a part of HaNefesh community. (quick grammar note: Ha=The, Nefesh=Soul. If I say, THE HaNefesh Community, I am saying, the THE soul community and that just sounds odd to my...

Yes, AND…

Yes, AND… We’ve talked about how you can support HaNefesh financially, now let’s talk about how you and HaNefesh can work together to build our Jewish community. I’ve been asked if we are going to have different committees and opportunities for HaNefesh. My answer has...

Come Be A Disrupter with HaNefesh

Come Be A Disrupter With HaNefesh!   Amy Asin taught us at the URJ Biennial in December that if we only seek to improve or transform what synagogues do, then they will not exist. If we want Judaism to exist tomorrow, we have to disrupt the system as we know it....