Scholar-in-Residence Rabbi David Ebstein

Land is a Four Letter Word: 
Why We Don’t Talk about Eretz Yisrael
and Why We Should

March 3-4, 2017

CBE’s own former rabbi, Rabbi David Ebstein, will be our Scholar-in-Residence in early March. All events are free and open to all congregants and friends. These discussions will focus on the religious and theological aspects of Israel’s importance to Judaism and dovetail nicely with the forum we presented last year on the importance of supporting Israel. Please note that Rabbi David will not promote any political agenda and that the intent of his visit is to inform rather than persuade.

You will surely not want to miss these three wonderful opportunities to learn from and with Rabbi David, or the informal Friday night potluck dinner with Rabbi David:

Friday Night, March 3

  • 6:00 PM, Family Service with BEECC Gimel class participation (stay for the potluck!)
  • 6:45 PM, Shabbat Potluck Dinner before services: Please RSVP with what you will bring at
  • Immediately following services: This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land, Jewish thinkers have written volumes about the people and state of Israel, but since 1948 we don’t seem to talk about the importance of the land of Israel. In light of the debate about Jews settling on the biblical lands of Judea and Samaria, a clear understanding of the importance of land in Judaism is essential.

Saturday Morning, March 4

  • During services, which start at 9:00 AM, Rabbi David will deliver the sermon, entitled: Holy Time (Shabbat) vs. Holy Space (Israel): Which is more important? 
  • 10:30-11:45 AM, Ruach with Robin and Rebecca!

Saturday Afternoon, March 4

  • After Kiddush luncheon, Rabbi David will share with us in a session entitled: “The Temple Mount is in Our Hands: Is it Really?" This small piece of land is the flashpoint for the struggle between Palestinians and Israelis. How should we understand the Palestinian claims that the temple never existed, or the extreme right-wing Israeli demands that the temple should be rebuilt? Explore two different versions of reality, two different narratives that are shaping the way we relate to holiness and the Arab-Israeli conflict. 

    Using passages from two important works by Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath, and Israel: An Echo of Eternity and other teachings of our sages, we will explore the idea of holy time and holy space, and learn which Heschel believes to be the more important of the two. Is land important to the Jewish people? Is the land of Israel holy? Is it worth fighting for this land? 

Rabbi David served our congregation from 1988-1995 before making aliyah to Israel with his family.  Feel free to check out Rabbi David’s Website at before his visit.