Korach: You Say You Want a Revolution

Posted on June 23, 2023

In December 2019 I had the good fortune to attend, with many of my Temple Beth-El colleagues, the URJ Biennial in Chicago. One of the sessions I participated in was led by Dr. Andrew Rehfeld, then the newly appointed president of Hebrew Union College. Dr. Rehfeld’s topic was the connection between Judaism and the music Continue Reading »

Shelach Lecha: Two Truths

Posted on June 16, 2023

This week’s Torah portion, Shelach Lecha, from the Book of Numbers, begins with the familiar story of the 12 spies sent out to scout the Land of Israel, The Promised Land. As Rabbi Plaut in his Chumash points out, the titular words, Shelach Lecha could mean “send out” as in God commanding Moses to send Continue Reading »

Let Us Raise Up the Light

Posted on June 9, 2023

I am honored and privileged to be your new temple President. I’d like to thank Rabbi Gluck and Amy Rubin for all they have done, and will do, to help me be the best leader I can be. It is an honor to follow in the footsteps of past TBE presidents like Robin Osman, Jay Continue Reading »

Naso: Lift Up the Heads

Posted on June 2, 2023

Our Torah portion, Naso, begins with a census, continuing the counting of the Israelites and the Levites that began in last week’s parashah, B’midbar. The language used to describe the task is noteworthy. “naso et rosh b’nai Gershon,” translates literally to, “lift up the head of the children of Gershon.” The original intent was clearly Continue Reading »

We Are More Than A Number

Posted on May 19, 2023

This week’s parashah, B’midbar, has extraordinary resonance for this moment in our lives. B’midbar, which means “in the wilderness,” describes the beginning of our people’s difficult journey of 40 years through the desert to the Promised Land. Along the way, they encounter many challenges. They experience fear, anxiety, frustration, uncertainty, and deprivation. Yet they endure. Continue Reading »

Shabbat Behar B’chukotai: Hold Fast to Dreams

Posted on May 11, 2023

On January 8, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty. He didn’t succeed in eradicating it. He didn’t win the war. But his clarion call did lead to a noble effort. Congress responded by passing the Economic Opportunity Act, which spawned 40 programs to alleviate the plight of the poor by expanding government funding for Continue Reading »

We Are Partners With God

Posted on May 5, 2023

Our Torah portion for this week, Emor, contains the origin of challah, the beloved bread that is the foundational element of virtually every festive meal on Shabbat and holy days. Each Shabbat the Priests of ancient Israel were instructed to bake 12 loaves of bread made from exact measurements of fine flour. These challot were Continue Reading »

Yom HaShoah V’ha-g’vurah: The Jewish Spirit of Resistance

Posted on April 21, 2023

American Jews refer to it as Yom HaShoah, but the official name given to Holocaust Memorial Day by the State of Israel is Yom HaShoah V’ha-g’vurah, Holocaust and Heroism Day. Set on the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the intention was to emphasize Jewish resistance to the Nazis. We were not merely hapless victims Continue Reading »

Nadav and Avihu are Dying Every Day

Posted on April 14, 2023

This week’s Torah portion, Sh’mini, relates the deaths of the two sons of Aaron, Nadav and Avihu. The boys entered the newly dedicated sanctuary unauthorized, offered “strange fire” upon the altar, and were consumed by the flames. Much is unclear, leaving some to speculate that the boys may have been drinking. What is clear is Continue Reading »

Passover Message: Mah Nishtanah?

Posted on April 4, 2023

This Passover is different than all others because Israel is in the midst of a political crisis that has exposed deep divisions among its citizens and among Jews throughout the world. As Reform Jews we stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers who are fighting to defend Israel’s liberal democratic character against the current Continue Reading »