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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are Rabbi Cassi’s most recent sermons, parashot, and articles from the Kol Beit El:
Friday, November 15, 2019 /17 Heshvan, 5780 Parashat Vayeira Genesis 18:1-22:24 Dear Friends, During a Torah portion jam packed with stories such as the Binding of Isaac, Abraham and Ishmael’s circumcision, and the birth of Isaac, the Torah gives us a powerful lesson in rebuke. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were known for their […]
Friday, November 8, 2019 /10 Heshvan, 5780 Parashat Lekh L’kha Genesis 12:1-17:27 Please note: This post is a special guest Parashat from Cantor Ilan Davidson Dear Friends, In every person’s life, there are moments when we, like Abraham, hear a voice inside saying, “Lech Lecha — Go forth!” It is up to us whether or […]
Friday, November 1, 2019 /3 Heshvan, 5780 Parashat Noah Genesis 6:9-11:32 Dear Friends, This week’s Torah portion includes the curious story of the Tower of Babel. Taking place just after the flood, nine short verses describe a world in which people are working together for a common purpose. They say to one another, “Come, let […]
Holding on to Holiness Rabbi Cassi Kail email@example.com The Hebrew month of Heshvan has arrived. After a month that contained four of our most significant Jewish holidays, Heshvan’s quietude is most welcome. Over the past few weeks we have eaten apples and honey as we celebrated the New Year. We asked for forgiveness, worked on […]
Friday, October 25, 2019 /26 Tishrei, 5780 Parashat B’reisheet Genesis 1:1-6:8 Dear Friends, “If I confess what motivated me, a woman, to become a rabbi, two things come to mind. My belief in God’s calling and my love of humans. God planted in our heart skills and a vocation without asking about gender.” – Rabbi […]
Friday, October 18, 2019 /19 Tishrei, 5780 Parashat Hol MaMo-eid Sukkot Exodus 33:12-34:26 Dear Friends, On Sukkot, there is a tradition to invite honored guests into the sukkah. Tonight we are blessed with three such guests: incredible men who have offered to share their stories about how they became homeless, and how they rebuilt their […]
Rabbi Cassi Kail’s Erev Rosh HaShanah Sermon Spotlighted by the URJ Our new Rabbi Cassi Kail gave a series of moving and inspirational sermons over this year’s High Holiday Services at Temple Beth El. On Erev Rosh HaShanah she spoke of our community, its nearly century-long history, of the many multi-generational families that have been […]
Friday, October 4, 2019 /5 Tishrei, 5779 Parashat Vayeilekh Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30 Dear Friends, This Shabbat we celebrate Shabbat Shuva, the Shabbat of return. Situated between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, this Shabbat is one of reflection and preparation. In just a few days we will gather to atone for our sins, and to let go […]
Turning Fasting Into Feasting Rabbi Cassi Kail firstname.lastname@example.org Just five days separate Yom Kippur and Sukkot, and yet they seem light years apart. In less than a week we move from fast to feast, and from confronting our mortality to celebrating our lives. Whereas on Yom Kippur we stand in the security of our sanctuary, […]
Fighting Fire with Fire Rosh Hashanah 5780/2019 Rabbi Cassi Kail I remember it like it was yesterday. I was walking down High Street at Oxford University, where I was studying abroad. High Street is the main road connecting St Hilda’s College—my school—with Oxford’s vast libraries, lecture halls, and cultural centers. Although it was just a […]