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 14, 2020/19 Shevat, 5780 Parashat Yitro Exodus 18:1-20:23 Dear Friends, There are five short chapters between liberation and revelation. Whereas in last week’s Torah portion, we rejoiced in our freedom from the land of Egypt, this week we receive Ten Commandments. It is no small miracle that we were able to become a […]
Friday, February 7, 2020 /12 Shevat, 5780 Parashat Beshalach Exodus 13:17−17:16 Each Sunday morning, as I lead t’fillah with our Pre-K – 2nd graders, we approach the Mi Chamocha with the same introduction (the bold words are screamed out by the little ones): So…the children of Israel are trying to get away from a mean […]
Friday, January 31, 2020 /5 Shevat, 5780 Parashat Bo Exodus 10:1-13:16 Dear Friends, As we move further into the story of the exodus, Pharaoh’s heart continues to harden. Each time Moses asked Pharaoh to free the Israelites, Pharaoh declined. As plagues cause hardship for the Egyptians, Pharaoh insisted that he would release the Israelites as […]
World Zionist Congress Elections Rabbi Cassi Kail firstname.lastname@example.org As I landed in Israel for the first time, I remember feeling grateful, excited, and in awe. I had finally made it to the land on which my people became a nation, where Hebrew was spoken within its streets, and Jews were in the majority. My entire […]
Friday, January 24, 2020 /27 Tevet, 5780 Parashat Va-eira Exodus 6:2-9:35 Dear Friends, As my family prepared to start the day, my son turned to me and said, “Mom, I want to wear a kipa to school today.” This was the first time he had ever expressed a desire to wear this Jewish symbol to […]
Friday, January 17, 2020 /20 Tevet, 5780 Parashat Sh’mot Exodus 1:1-6:1 Dear Friends, Moses was tending to the flock of his father in law, as he had many times before. Before him there was a bush on fire. The Torah tells us that an angel of God appeared to Moses in a blazing fire out […]
Friday, January 10, 2020 /13 Tevet, 5780 Parashat Va-y’hi Genesis 47:28-50:26 Dear Friends, As Jacob reaches the end of his life, he prepares to offer his deathbed blessings to each of his sons. Although it was customary to offer the blessings to the eldest son first, Jacob begins with offering a blessing to Joseph’s sons, […]
Friday, January 3, 2020 /6 Tevet, 5780 Parashat Vayigash Genesis 44:18-47:27 Dear Friends, A student recently came into Professor Deborah Lippstadt’s office, wearing a kippah. He explained “There have been so many attacks on Jews recently. I’ve decided that every time there is an antisemitic act, I am going to wear my kippah to show […]
Outreach Rabbi Cassi Kail email@example.com At the Union of Reform Judaism’s Biennial conference in Chicago, Rabbi Rick Jacobs offered an important message: It is time to widen our Jewish tent. He was referring to our prophet Isaiah’s call. “Enlarge the size of your tent,” he said, “For you shall spread out to the right and […]
Friday, December 27, 2019 /29 Kislev, 5780 Parashat Mikeitz Genesis 41:1-44:17 Dear Friends, Hanukkah is often nicknamed the Holiday of Lights. Ask any child what the holiday of Hanukkah is about, and they will dutifully tell the story of how our ancestors returned to the temple after a long and tiresome battle, in the 2nd […]