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 some of Rabbi Cassi’s recent parashot, sermons, and articles from the Kol Beit El:
Friday, May 14, 2021/3 Sivan, 5781 Parashat B’midbar Numbers 1:1−4:20 Dear Friends, For seven weeks, many of us have gathered every morning for prayer, community, and reflection. We began during Passover when we celebrated our liberation from Egyptian bondage. Sunday morning will be our last day counting the omer – the days between our Exodus […]
Friday, May 7, 2021/25 Iyar, 5781 Parashat B’har-B’chukotai Leviticus 25:1-27:34 There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope. – Spinoza This week we conclude the book of Leviticus with a double Torah portion called B’har-B’chukotai. It begins with a discussion of shmita, a practice of letting the land lay fallow […]
Celebrate Freedom Rabbi Cassi Kail email@example.com On an April afternoon, I went to the temple and was surprised by a building filled with workers going in and out, laying down materials, and taping up walls. The clangs and bangs were music to my ears. Workers were there to repair our broken elevator. You might recall […]
Friday, April 30, 2021/18 Iyar, 5781 Parashat Emor Leviticus 21:1−24:23 Dear Friends, Today is meant to be a day of celebration. After marking the days between Passover and Shavuot for four and a half weeks, we arrive at Lag B’omer. This lesser-known holiday is filled with picnics, bonfires, learning, music, and dancing. Many people get […]
Friday, April 23, 2021/11 Iyar, 5781 Parashat Acharei Mot – K’doshim Leviticus 16:1-20:27 Dear Friends, This week’s Torah portion, Acharei Mot-Kedoshim, holds some of the most important, some may even say central lessons of the Torah. This description is very appropriate, as this is the exact center of the Torah scroll. Well, at least that’s […]
Friday, April 16, 2021/4 Iyar, 5781 Parashat Tazria-M’tzora Leviticus 12:1-15:33 Dear Friends, Early in the pandemic, we reached this week’s Torah portion, Tazria-M’tzora, which discusses the proper ways to respond when people were afflicted with a contagious skin disease called Tzaraat. The Torah explains that when someone displayed symptoms, they would report them to the […]
Friday, April 9, 2021/27 Nisan, 5781 Parashat Sh’mini Leviticus 9:1-11:47 Dear Friends, A year ago, Abby Imley was preparing to become a Bat Mitzvah. She knew her Torah portion, her prayers, and the service’s choreography. She had studied Torah and composed a D’var Torah she was prepared to share with the community. When the pandemic […]
Friday, April 2, 2021/20 Nisan, 5781 Parashat Yom Sh’vi-i shel Pesah Exodus 14:30–15:21 Dear Friends, Transgender Day of Visibility took place on Wednesday, in the middle of the holiday of Passover. It occurred amidst a flurry of anti-transgender legislation moving through state legislatures, banning transgender children from receiving the life-affirming health care they need or […]
Resetting the Table Rabbi Cassi Kail firstname.lastname@example.org On a Sunday afternoon, eighteen community members gathered to begin a series of courageous conversations through an organization called Resetting the Table. Participants were diverse in age, perspectives, political leanings, and life experiences. They shared a desire to create meaningful relationships and learn skills for having difficult conversations […]
Friday, March 26, 2021/13 Nisan, 5781 Parashat Tzav Leviticus 6:1–8:36 Dear Friends, As we begin to prepare for this very full weekend of celebration and Passover festivities, we enter in with the words and teachings of Parashat Tzav, this Shabbat. I always believe that there are no coincidences, so I took a moment to consider […]