Israel in Crisis

Posted on March 24, 2023

Last Saturday night, 500,000 Israelis took to the streets all across the country. It was the 11th consecutive week of mass protests against the Netanyahu government’s efforts to undermine Israel’s democracy. 500,000 represents 5% of the entire population of Israel; the equivalent in the United States would be 16.5 million Americans. Could you imagine such Continue Reading »

We Should Be Like Aaron

Posted on March 10, 2023

Our Rabbis tell us that we should strive to be like Aaron, “loving peace and pursuing peace, loving all people and bringing them near to the Torah.” (Pirkei Avot 1:12) This is the way our tradition remembers Aaron, as a man of peace, a lover of humanity. But if we look at this week’s Torah Continue Reading »

Shabbat Chanukah: We Must Fight Like the Maccabees for the Soul of Israel

Posted on December 23, 2022

On November 1, Israel held its fifth round of elections in less than four years. The good news is that the vote was free and fair. It was an unquestionable, unassailable exercise in representative democracy. The bad news for those committed to liberal democracy and religious pluralism is that the voice of the people has Continue Reading »

As Hard as Splitting the Red Sea

Posted on April 21, 2022

In a d’var Torah for the 7th day of Pesach, my colleague and friend Rabbi Michael Marmur recalls a favorite midrash — one that I like to share at weddings: A wealthy Roman woman once asked R. Yosi ben Halafta, “How many days did it take God to create the world?” “Six days,” he answered. Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: Why I am Proud to Be a Zionist

Posted on April 16, 2021

On Israel’s 73rd Birthday: Yesterday, Israel turned 73 years young. I say “young” because in the grand scheme of history, especially Jewish history, 73 years is a relatively short span. I also say “young” because I see in Israel a youthful spirit and dynamism that is vital and exciting. And I say “young” because Israel Continue Reading »

Shoah U’gevurah – Holocaust and Heroism

Posted on April 21, 2020

Today is Yom HaShoah, the day established by the Knesset in April 1951 to be the official day of Holocaust remembrance for Israel and the Jewish people. In 1953 the Knesset appropriately renamed this day yom hashoah v’hag’vura, the Day of Holocaust and Heroism. The date, the 27th of Nisan, was chosen for its proximity to the date of Continue Reading »

Rediscovering My Jewish Self In Israel

Posted on April 7, 2020

Fate has just handed you the trip of a lifetime to a place you’ve always wanted to see, but didn’t think would ever happen, and in a way that most visitors would never experience. You tell family and friends, hoping they’ll share your happiness. In most cases, they do. But then the inevitable questions come Continue Reading »

Israeli Politics: 3 Elections, 11 months

Posted on April 7, 2020

It’s a confusing time in Israeli politics. On March 2, 2020, Israel had its third election since last April. It’s especially confusing to those of us in the United States when we hear things like, “They can’t form a government!” What does that even mean?! Our American news agencies try to explain it by using Continue Reading »

The Results Are In: World Zionist Congress Elections

Posted on April 7, 2020

From January 21 through March 11, 2020, Temple Beth-El and our Reform Movement campaigned in the World Zionist Congress Election. This was the one democratic opportunity we had to have our Reform voices heard in Israel and throughout the world, and to work to implement the values we hold dear — pluralism, equality, freedom, and Continue Reading »

We Need You to Be a Shamash!

Posted on January 6, 2020

Have you ever wondered why we use a shamash to light the candles on the chanukiah? We could just as easily use the same match to light all of the lights each night, so why do we need a shamash? Just think of all the candles we could save!  We need the shamash because it Continue Reading »