Dear Temple Beth El Community,
My name is Cassi Kail, and I am both humbled and overjoyed by the opportunity to serve as the next Rabbi of Temple Beth El. This past summer I moved to San Pedro with my husband, Josh, and our children Noam and Talia.
From the moment I walked through the synagogue’s doors, I knew I wanted to be a part of the Beth El community. It was not the stunning new building that most impressed me, but rather the people within. I feel immense gratitude to work alongside the superbly talented and devoted leadership of Cantor Ilan Davidson, Racheli Morris, Carrie Hernandez and Shoni Gramcko. Conversations with lay leaders such as Gale Swartz and Eric Imley demonstrated a sense of pride in Beth El’s rich 97-year-old history. I am proud to join in their commitment to upholding this rich legacy while embracing the enormous opportunities of today.
Growing up in Brooklyn, NY, I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a rabbi. I delight in creating meaningful worship, studying and teaching Torah, interfaith work, and tikkun olam. Of all the work I have been blessed to do since my ordination in 2011, I find relationship building to be the most gratifying. It will be my top priority to find opportunities to get to know you when I arrive in San Pedro this Summer. I am so grateful for the congregational leaders who are already volunteering to open their home for informal social gatherings so that we can begin what I hope will prove to be meaningful and long-lasting connections. In Pirkei Avot, our ancestors teach, “Make for yourself a teacher, acquire a friend.” I look forward to the many years of learning and of friendship ahead of us.
Rabbi Cassi Kail, a native New Yorker, was ordained in 2011 from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where she also received a Master’s in Jewish Literature. For the past seven years, she worked as a congregational rabbi for Temple Emanu-El of Utica, NY and then Temple Or Elohim in Jericho, NY. Rabbi Kail is a proud member of the Interfaith Clergy Council of Syosset and Woodbury. Previously, she served on the steering committees of InterFaith Matters, Reform Jewish Voice and the Empire State Anti-Poverty Initiative of the Mohawk Valley. While in Seminary, she co-founded a young egalitarian minyan called The Wandering Jews of Astoria, serving unaffiliated Jews in their 20s and 30s. Rabbi Kail is passionate about worship, Israel, interfaith work, and supporting people on their individual Jewish journeys. She loves teaching people of all ages, singing, and playing guitar. Rabbi Kail and her husband, Josh are proud parents of their children, Noam and Talia.
Rabbi Cassi may be reached by email at email@example.com.
Here are some of Rabbi Cassi’s recent parashot, sermons, and articles from the Kol Beit El:
Friday, February 4, 2022/3 Adar I, 5782 Parashat T’rumah Exodus 25:1−27:19 Dear Friends, After receiving the Ten Commandments from God, the Israelites are hard at work to create a sacred community of justice and compassion. They have now been living in the wilderness for months. Although the Torah gave them guidelines to help them settle […]
Friday, January 28, 2022/26 Shevat, 5782 Parashat Mishpatim Exodus 21:1−24:18 Dear Friends, This week’s Torah portion, which immediately follows the giving of the Ten Commandments, continues the giving of laws. As we know, there are not only 10 commandments attributed to the Torah, but a total of 613. Mishpatim adds approximately 50 new laws or […]
Friday, January 21, 2022/19 Shevat, 5782 Parashat Yitro Exodus 18:1–20:23 Dear Friends, Forty-five days elapsed between the Israelites’ escape from Egypt to their arrival at Mt. Sinai. Those early days included too many trials, from fighting off the Amalekites to learning how to find the food and water they needed to sustain themselves. The Israelites […]
Friday, January 14, 2022/12 Shevat, 5782 Parashat B’shalach Exodus 13:17−17:16 Dear Friends, As a child, Jane Goodall developed a friendship with a tree in her backyard that she affectionately called “Beech.” She spent many afternoons climbing upon it, reading books under its leafy branches, and observing the life within. In this tree, she began to […]
Friday, January 7, 2022/5 Shevat, 5782 Parashat Bo Exodus 10:1-13:16 Dear Friends, Some prayers are so resonant that it is hard to imagine a service without them. Mi Sheberach is one such prayer, even though it didn’t exist in its current form until relatively recently. It originated as a communal blessing in Babylonia, in connection […]
Healing Prayers Rabbi Cassi Kail firstname.lastname@example.org My favorite prayers aren’t the words in the prayer book, sanctified by time and passed down for generations. They are the personal blessings that usher forth from the hearts of individuals grappling with life’s joys and challenges. In the words of Rabbi Naomi Levy, these prayers are “the ones […]
Friday, December 31, 2021/27 Tevet, 5782 Parashat Va-eira Exodus 6:2−9:35 Dear Friends, This was not how Moses expected things to go. He had been comfortable in Midian as a shepherd, husband, and father. When God spoke to him from the burning bush, it wasn’t a given that Moses would heed God’s call and go back […]
Friday, December 24, 2021/20 Tevet, 5782 Parashat Sh’mot Exodus 1:1−6:1 Dear Friends, And just like that, more than 400 years have passed from the end of the Genesis, Joseph stories, and a new Pharaoh is ruling over Egypt, who did not know the name of Joseph. We find ourselves beginning the book of Shemot and […]
Friday, December 17, 2021/13 Tevet, 5782 Parashat Vayechi Genesis 47:28–50:26 Dear Friends, As Jacob reaches the end of his life in this week’s Torah portion, he gathers his sons around him. Recalling how his father Isaac offered blessings on his deathbed, Jacob feels inspired to do the same. Rather than offer a prayer only to […]
Friday, December 10, 2021/6 Tevet, 5782 Parashat Vayigash Genesis 44:18−47:27 Dear Friends, There are a few moments in the Torah overflowing with courage and vulnerability. One of them occurs in this week’s Torah portion, Vayigash. Joseph’s eleven brothers stand before him, unaware that he is the brother they once sold into slavery. As viceroy of […]