Guiding Principles

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 »

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 »

When Will Our Redemption Come?

Posted on December 24, 2021

This brief commentary is dedicated to the memory of Shuey Horowitz and Cindy Andrews, both of whom were what the Talmud would call “women of consequence.”(1)   In this week’s parashah, the Torah offers a lesson that would be significant had it been written today. That it was written some 2,800 years ago is truly Continue Reading »

Vayeitzei: We Must Speak the Truth

Posted on November 12, 2021

Some say it is from this week’s Torah portion that our rabbis derived the custom of wearing a kippah to cover one’s head. “And Jacob went forth from Be’ersheva…” says the opening verse of our parashah, Vayeitzei. Would our father Jacob go out without covering his head? Of course not, said our teachers. So much Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message for Ki Tavo: Ready, Aim, Live!

Posted on August 27, 2021

The Dubner Maggid told a parable that speaks poignantly to this moment in the cycle of the Jewish year: A champion marksman was passing through a tiny village when he saw a hundred circles drawn on the side of a barn – and in the center of each circle was a bullet hole. The man Continue Reading »

Parashat Balak: The Premise of the Story

Posted on June 25, 2021

There is much to unpack from this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Balak.  It is a well- known story of a man sent to curse our people only to have the curse turned into a blessing, and it is a story seemingly out of place.  It is a story to which neither Moses nor the Israelites Continue Reading »

What Judaism Means to Me

Posted on January 15, 2021

Comments from the Reflection Service during Yom Kippur My favorite Hebrew expression is kolhakavod. I heard it for the first time from a spectator, screaming from the sidewalk, as I was running the Jerusalem marathon. I was only at about mile five and this person was not just cheering ME. I was among thousands of Continue Reading »

What Being Jewish Means to Me

Posted on November 13, 2020

Every year at our Yom Kippur Reflections Service, several members of our congregation speak about how Judaism, and the experience of being Jewish, has affected their lives, their perspectives and their character. Here, three of the speakers from this year’s service offer their thoughts on how being Jewish has impacted them. Rande Aaronson – When Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: The “If” of Chance and the “If” of Choice

Posted on May 15, 2020

A few years ago, MetLife ran a clever ad that featured an image of their iconic blimp with Snoopy and the word LIFE that highlighted the middle letters “IF.” Its tag line was, “Metlife, for the IF in LIFE.” Beyond good advertising, the ad offered sage advice. There is wisdom in being prepared for the Continue Reading »

Getting Through Tough Times

Posted on January 15, 2020

Pain, medicine, and depression were consuming me. The doctors told me I was winning my battle with leukemia, but I felt I was losing emotionally. The depression that had overtaken me seemed worse than physical disease. As a rabbi I thought I had been trained to deal with depression. I was used to members of Continue Reading »