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, July 10, 2020 /18 Tammuz, 5780 Parashat Pinhas Numbers 25:10-30:1 Dear Friends, As I watched Hamilton on television this past weekend, there was one song that particularly struck me. Aptly named “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story,” this masterful piece of music prompts us to consider the legacy of Alexander Hamilton. I […]
Friday, July 3, 2020 /11 Tammuz, 5780 Parashat Hukat-Balak Numbers 19:1−22:1, 22:2−25:9 “How glorious are your tents, O Jacob, your dwellings, O Israel.” (Numbers 24:5) These words, which open our morning liturgy, come from an apparent enemy of Jewish people, Balaam. In this week’s Torah portion, we learn that the Moabite King Balak feels threatened […]
Standing Against Racial Injustice Rabbi Cassi Kail firstname.lastname@example.org Throughout my rabbinate, I have always valued interfaith partnership and community connections. When my tenure began, I was delighted to join the San Pedro Faith Consortium, a cooperative effort of five congregations working to make a positive difference in our community. Rabbi Briskin had been one of […]
Friday, June 26, 2020 /4 Tammuz, 5780 Parashat Korach Numbers 16:1-18:32 Dear Friends, Tonight, Temple Beth El will celebrate Pride Shabbat for the first time in our history. While Pride has been celebrated in the LGBTQIAQ community for years, its message of equality and civil rights for all has resonated within the Jewish community forever, […]
Friday, June 19, 2020 /27 Sivan, 5780 Parashat Sh’lach L’cha Numbers 13:1-15:41 Dear Friends, How do two people from similar backgrounds internalize an experience in entirely different ways? This question is at the heart of this week’s Torah portion, Shlach Lecha. Moses gathers the leaders of each of the twelve tribes and sends them on […]
Friday, June 12, 2020 /20 Sivan, 5780 Parashat B’haalot’ha Numbers 8:1-12:16 Dear Friends, I have studied this week’s Torah portion, B’haalotecha, on numerous occasions. This year the text struck me differently than in years past. It reads, “Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman he had married, “He married a Cushite […]
Friday, June 5, 2020 /13 Sivan, 5780 Parashat Naso II Numbers 6:1-7:89 Dear Friends, I was 19 when I began to understand the power of a blessing. Josh and I were newly dating, and I was invited to his parents’ house for the first time. There I found a Shabbat table adorned with candlesticks, wine […]
Strong as Ever Rabbi Cassi Kail email@example.com As my first year at Temple Beth El comes to a close, I find myself reflecting about the moments of joy, inspiration, and and connection that we have shared. I am grateful for the way you have so graciously welcomed me into the temple family and into your […]
Friday, May 29, 2020 /6 Sivan, 5780 Parashat Naso I Numbers 4:21-5:31 Dear Friends, When asked to sum up the teachings of Torah, Rabbi Hillel famously replied, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.” For all the laws and words of inspiration contained within our vast body of sacred literature, […]
Friday, May 22, 2020 /28 Iyar, 5780 Parashat B’midbar Numbers 1:1−4:20 Dear Friends, This week, we begin a new book of Torah, a new chapter in the history of the Jewish people. Parashat Bamidbar literally means “in the desert.” So many of us have been feeling as though we are traversing through the Midbar these […]