Rabbi’s Blog

Recent Posts

  • Rabbi’s Blog | Yom HaAtzma-ut
    April 16, 2021
    Today is Yom HaAtzma-ut: Israel Independence Day. In honor of Israel’s 73rd Independence Day, I share with you a poem and a prayer. Wild Peace by Yehuda Amichai (1971) (from: A Life of Poetry 1948-1994, translated from the Hebrew by Benjamin and Barbara Harshav) Not the one of an armistice, Not
  • Rabbi’s Blog | After Justice, After Justice, Must You Chase
    March 19, 2021
    As many of you know I have been “away” at my Rabbinic Convention this week. The speaker for the opening session on Sunday was Andrea Weiss, Rabbi, Professor, and Provost at HUC-JIR. In a session titled “Biblical Texts for Precarious Times: Religious Values,” Weiss, discussed a project she
  • Rabbi’s Blog | A prayer in honor of those who died from COVID-19
    March 12, 2021
    March 14 marks the one year anniversary of the first death from COVID in Louisiana. In honor of all who have succumbed to the COVID-19 virus, I share with you this prayer by Alden Solovy, a liturgitst, poet, and teacher. One by One: A Prayer as the COVID-19 Death Toll Mounts “God of consolation,
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Purim Fun Facts
    February 25, 2021
    We say:  “When Adar enters happiness increases.” Purim is celebrated on the 14th of Adar except in Jerusalem where it is celebrated on the 15th Adar.  The Jews of Shushan—a walled city—fought their enemies for an extra day. Persia is modern-day Iran. In Deuteronomy 25:19, we are
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Purim: A Poignant Parody
    February 18, 2021
    We often think of Purim with its costumes, carnivals, groggers, and fairytale-like story (the heroes Mordechai and Esther are victorious over the wicked villain Haman) as a children’s holiday.  But the story, which is found in the scroll, or Megillah, of Esther is complex and quite adult in
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Rosh Chodesh Adar
    February 11, 2021
    In his book, Seasons of Our Joy, Arthur Waskow looks at the Jewish holidays through the prism of the rhythm of the seasons. He also comments on the shorter rhythms that we experience: the rhythm of the day with its morning, afternoon, evening, and bedtime prayers; the rhythm of the week which is
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Parshat Yitro
    February 5, 2021
    It’s three months after the Exodus. The Israelites have reached the wilderness of Sinai and camp at the foot of Mount Sinai.  G-d speaks to the people and says: “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me. Now then, if you will
  • Jewish Disability, Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month
    February 2, 2021
        In 2009, the Jewish Special Educational International Consortium established February as JDAIM: Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month. The purpose? To raise our awareness of the needs, strengths, opportunities, and challenges of people with disabilities and mental health c o
  • Rabbi’s Blog | R’eih
    August 13, 2020
    In this week’s Torah portion, R’eih, we read:  Be careful to observe only that which I enjoin upon you:  neither add to it nor take away from it. (Deut 13:1)   If we examine Jewish history, we observe that the Jewish community has both added to and taken away from the laws as found
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Haftarot of Consolation
    July 30, 2020
    During the seven weeks between Tisha b’Av (which was observed last night and today) and Rosh HaShanah, special Haftarot known as the Haftarot of Consolation are read during the Torah service on Shabbat mornings. These special prophetic readings are intended to give us hope, as we approach
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Shabbat Chazon
    July 23, 2020
    This Shabbat is known as Shabbat Chazon – the Sabbath of vision. It refers to Isaiah’s vision of the destruction of the Temple which is found in the Haftarah reading (Isaiah 1:1-27) on the Shabbat before Tisha b’Av. During the heat of summer comes this holy day of Tisha b’Av. It is a
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Evidence of Civilization
    July 16, 2020
      Most importantly, I hope that each and every one of you is doing well—health-wise and coping with the uncertainty of these times. This week, I’d like to share with you the words of Margaret Mead that I came across on one of my rabbinic discussion groups. I think the message is so
  • Rabbi’s Blog | My time at Aunt Jemima
    June 19, 2020
    Chaverim Yekarim, As many of you know, I spent a few years working at PepsiCo after graduating college in my early 20s. I worked in brand management at their Quaker Oats Division, and spent my first two years assigned to the Aunt Jemima brand. Along with a couple of other employees, I helped
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Chazak, Chazak… (Strength & Strengthening)
    March 13, 2020
    Shalom u’vracha. The news is dizzying. Our reality is in constant flux. The list of closures and cancellations is staggering. It would be easy to fall prey to the yetzer, our impulse to panic and fear. And yet, we do not. Instead, as we mark this Shabbat, let us take a deep breath and
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Rebuke, the Jewish way
    February 18, 2020
    Chaverim Yekarim, During this past week’s Democratic debate, Senator Bernie Sanders launched a vitriolic attack against Israel’s democratically-elected leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, calling him a ”reactionary racist.” Days before, Sanders tweeted that AIPAC, the pro-Israel,
  • Rabbi’s Blog | 10 Reasons Why
    February 14, 2020
    Chaverim Shalom, A few years ago, I was walking next to a park in Aspen, Colorado and stumbled across a discreet, yet elegant monument. It was a large stone engraved with the words of the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments. On one hand, I remember feeling pride that the universal words of our
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Israel, not Auschwitz
    January 31, 2020
    מִן הַמֵּצַר קָרָאתִי יָּהּ עָנָנִי בַּמֶּרְחָב יָהּ / Men ha’metser karati ya, anani va’merchav ya.  In great distress I called out to you God, You answered me and brought me relief. – Psalm 118  In the period of less than 3 years, the
  • Rabbi’s Blog | WE define who we are
    January 3, 2020
    Chaverim Yekarim, While a season of holiday cheer and rededication, the last couple of weeks have left the global Jewish community anxious and gripped by uncertainty. Near-daily Anti Semitic incidents in New York culminated with the horrific machete attack in Monsey. At a party celebrating
  • Rabbi’s Blog | The Jewish ________ (fill in the blank)
    December 13, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, This week has been a busy one on the domestic Jewish front. On Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order that will make Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act also apply to anti-Semitic acts. Specifically, it is meant to protect Jews on college campuses facing the
  • Rabbi’s Blog | We don’t know them all…
    November 8, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, My wife, Sam’s, favorite genre of music is country music, and so whenever she uses my car, the radio is invariably tuned to a country station. Far from my own preferred music, I have grown to appreciate the profound simplicity of the lyrics, along with the human interest