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Archive: September 2020

What Are We Building? – Yom Kippur

Posted on September 28, 2020

September 28, 2020 Watch recording on our YouTube channel The Talmud tells us that, in the middle of writing the Torah, Moses asks God to take a break and show him the future. God obliges, taking Moses forward a thousand years and placing him in the back of Rabbi Akiva’s classroom. They are talking about Continue Reading »

My Father’s Words of Wisdom – Kol Nidre

Posted on September 27, 2020

September 27, 2020 Watch recording on our YouTube channel Last year, as we read about being inscribed in the Book of Life, my family prayed that we would get one more year with my father. As you know, we lost him the week before Thanksgiving. It’s been ten months, and most days, I still don’t Continue Reading »

Abraham and Moral Leadership – Rosh Hashana

Posted on September 19, 2020

September 19, 2020 Watch recording on our YouTube channel In the weeks leading up to Rosh Hashana, I like to ask people to share their questions about the texts we read on the High Holy Days. Without a doubt, the one that causes us the most trouble is the Binding of Isaac, which we read Continue Reading »

Breaking the Chandelier – erev Rosh Hashana

Posted on September 18, 2020

September 18, 2020 Watch recording on our YouTube channel According to the mystics, the world began with a shattering. In the book of Genesis, the world’s birth is portrayed as a gentle unfolding: a series of peaceful separations, the intimate animation of clay from earth’s four corners by God’s own breath. But in the 16th Continue Reading »

Dancing into Mourning into Dancing

Posted on July 31, 2020

July 31, 2020 This week’s sermon on Tisha B’Av. Mourning for the ancient Temple isn’t at the forefront of the Reform Jewish consciousness. So you might not have known that yesterday was Tisha B’Av, the day of fasting and lamentation commemorating the Temple’s destruction. This is not a fast I typically observe, unless I’m in Continue Reading »

Filling in the Blanks

Posted on July 17, 2020

July 17, 2020 This week’s d’var Torah on Parashat Matot-Maasei   As we transition from Numbers to Deuteronomy, things start to get repetitive. The Israelites stand poised to enter the Promised Land, while Moses prepares for his death. As he bids farewell to the Israelites, Moses tells, and retells, the story of our people’s journey Continue Reading »

When is Anger “Righteous”?

Posted on July 10, 2020

July 10, 2020 This week’s d’var Torah on parashat Pinchas. The first time I heard the story of Pinchas was at a teen study session at Camp Harlam, the topic of which was “Sex and Violence in the Torah.” Once I’d heard it, I wasn’t surprised I hadn’t learned it in Religious School. While Israelites Continue Reading »

It Only Works When You Use It Regularly…

Posted on July 3, 2020

  July 3, 2020 This week’s d’var Torah on Chukat-Balak. One day, a rabbi decided to meet a local shop owner for a walk around the neighborhood. The rabbi was hoping that she might convince the shop owner to contribute to the synagogue and other worthy causes. After a bit of small talk, the rabbi Continue Reading »

May We Be Strong and May We Share Our Strength

Posted on May 15, 2020

May 15, 2020 This week’s d’var Torah on Behar-Behukotai. When we get to the end of a book of the Torah, as we do this Shabbat when we finish the book of Leviticus, what words do we say (and what does it mean)? Hazak Hazak v’Nitchazek (Be strong, be strong, and we will be strengthened). I Continue Reading »

Love is a Discipline Too

Posted on May 1, 2020

  May 1, 2020 This week’s d’var Torah on Acharei Mot-Kedoshim This week, the Torah came to me from Twitter. About a week ago, I saw the following exchange. Jonathan Shalit, a British talent manager, tweeted this: “If you don’t come out of this quarantine with 1) a new skill 2) your side hustle started Continue Reading »