Our Scars are a Road Map to Healing

Posted on April 8, 2022

This has been a time of building up walls and of tearing them down. We have endured a prolonged period of enforced separation to protect us from the dangers of COVID. And many of us have had to tear down walls that were infected with mold spawned by floodwaters from Hurricane Ida. It is as Continue Reading »

Gender and Rabbinic Torah

Posted on April 1, 2022

I have a colleague in Texas named Cantor Sheri Allen. Cantor Allen recently penned an op-ed in the Forward, entitled: “I’m a cantor in Texas and parent of a trans child. My state’s assault on trans youth is terrifying.” Cantor Allen’s son, Preston, is transgender. In this op-ed, she illuminates the dangers of a recent governor’s Continue Reading »

Green Tip — How to Recycle Soft Plastics

Posted on March 30, 2022

Starting May 4, most single-use, point-of-sale plastics will be banned in New Jersey, including plastic shopping bags and Styrofoam take-out food containers. But you’ll still see plenty of recyclable plastic: produce bags for loose fruits and vegetables; many shipping bags; and anything prepackaged with film. We’ve checked with a couple of local grocery stores, and Continue Reading »

We Can Help Heal Each Other

Posted on March 25, 2022

There is a tense moment at the opening of this week’s Torah portion, Shemini. It has been only a year since the liberation of Israel from Egypt and nine months since our people arrived at Mount Sinai. Led by Moses and Aaron, the Israelites have received the Torah and labored to build the Tabernacle that Continue Reading »

Ad La Yada? This Year, Maybe Not

Posted on March 18, 2022

I have to admit, Purim is bothering me this year. The seemingly unending number of social, cultural, and political ills that plague the world make it hard to feel light and frivolous. Quite the opposite, I’m feeling heavy and distressed. And yet, here we are — it’s Purim, and frivolity and fun are what’s called Continue Reading »

Eradicating the Evil of Amalek

Posted on March 11, 2022

This Shabbat before Purim is called Shabbat Zachor after the special reading from Deuteronomy(1) which commands us to remember what Amalek did to us on our journey, after we left Egypt. Mercilessly, and undeterred by fear of God, Amalek caught us in a moment of weakness and attacked from the rear, cutting down the stragglers Continue Reading »

Making Room for God and One Another

Posted on March 4, 2022

Having received the Torah at Mount Sinai, our people built a sanctuary to carry God’s presence with them on their journey to the Promised Land. How was this possible? What made it possible to bring God – God who is infinite and beyond time and space – into that space? It was not the beauty Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: That I May Dwell Within Them

Posted on February 25, 2022

The phone rings… you recognize the number, but you pick up anyway… Hello? Hi! This is Gary from Temple Beth-El, I’m calling about our current fundraiser… we want you to stop sending money… we have too much! Yes, Esther, it is Adar, but Purim aside, this actually happens in this week’s Torah portion, Vayakhel. For Continue Reading »

Finding God Within

Posted on February 18, 2022

In the opening portion of the Book of Exodus, Parashat Shemot, we read that as Moses looks away from the burning bush which is unconsumed by the flames, God calls out to him, “Moses, Moses!” And Moses answers “Hineini.” Here I am. God bids Moses to go to Pharaoh to set the people of Israel Continue Reading »

The Clothes Make Much More Than the Man

Posted on February 11, 2022

This week’s Torah portion is Tetzaveh, meaning “you shall further instruct.” The further instruction is a reference to last week’s portion, Terumah, in which God laid out highly specific directions for the building of the Mishkan to Moses. Having now designed a sanctuary so that God may dwell among the people of Israel, it is Continue Reading »