Shabbat Message: Rosh Hashanah Came Last Wednesday

Posted on September 4, 2020

Rosh Hashanah came for a visit a few days ago. Don’t worry, you didn’t miss the actual Yom Tov. That will come on time, according to the proper rhythm of the Hebrew calendar, and we will celebrate it with joy, as is fitting. So how did Cantor Wallach, Amy Rubin, and I experience Rosh Hashanah Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: The Battle of the Human Heart – Don’t Be Indifferent

Posted on August 28, 2020

This week’s Torah portion contains more laws than any other parashah in the Torah – 72, to be exact. The purpose was not to provide a code that the average Israelite would carry around to consult at any given moment; rather, it was to cultivate a certain sensibility, awareness, and attitude. Nowhere is this more evident than in the prescription Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: A Message for Rosh Chodesh Elul – Finding the Beauty that Lies Within

Posted on August 21, 2020

Rabbi Kalonymous Kalmish Shapira, the Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto left us a wonderful metaphor for the work of repentance and renewal that we began today with Rosh Chodesh Elul. When sculptors begin their craft, he said, what stands before them is a “brute block of stone.” Within that stone lies the possibility of something beautiful that is as Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: Moving Toward Elul

Posted on August 14, 2020

At this time of summer, the days begin to approach the month of Elul, a month of reflection and looking inward, leading into the High Holy days. We are also in the midst of the seven weeks of comfort following Tisha B’Av, when the Haftarah each week is selected from the book of Isaiah, and Continue Reading »

The Mitzvot We Perform with Our Feet

Posted on August 7, 2020

This week’s Torah portion, Eikev, opens with words of encouragement to walk in God’s ways and to obey God’s commandments. “v’haya eikev tishmaun…” It shall come to pass if you observe God’s rules… that God will … bless you and multiply you…” (Deuteronomy 7:12) The word eikev is most interesting. Its plain meaning is, “as Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: From Lamentation to Consolation

Posted on July 31, 2020

I recall the moment when remembering my dear father felt only joyful and not also painful. It was a long time coming, and I’m not quite there yet with my beloved mother, who died a little more than a year ago. Grief is potent. Like gravity, it has a persistent pull and weight. It saps energy Continue Reading »

Finding Light Amidst the Darkness – Our Observance of Tisha B’Av

Posted on July 24, 2020

Finding Light Amidst the Darkness – Our Observance of Tisha B’Av What are we to do when our dreams are shattered? The wise counsel of the late great Israeli author Amos Oz is to find a new dream. Remember, he said, that the loss of a particular hope or dream does not mean that all Continue Reading »

Shabbat Mevarechim

Posted on July 17, 2020

July 17, 2020 25 Tammuz 5780 This Shabbat is one of those traditionally called Mevarechim, a Shabbat on which we recite the blessing for the new month in anticipation of Rosh Chodesh (the first day of the new Hebrew month). The coming Hebrew month is the month of Av. The most mournful day of the Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: Interdependence Day

Posted on July 3, 2020

This year July 4 is different. Yes, it is still a celebration of the birth of our nation. But this year it is shrouded in a cloud of crisis and controversy about the meaning and nature of our freedom. For some, American liberty means license to do whatever we want, even if it involves blatant Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: It Should Be Enough to be Ourselves

Posted on June 26, 2020

The great Chassidic Rebbe Zusya of Anipol is known for this saying: “When I die and meet my maker, I will not be asked, ‘Why were you not Moses?’ I will be asked, ‘Why were you not Zusya?’” In this week’s Torah portion, Moses asks a similar question of Korach, who led a rebellion against Continue Reading »