Shabbat Message: Love the Stranger and Judge All People Kindly

Posted on March 5, 2021

A Message for Refugee Shabbat At the beginning of this week’s Torah portion, Ki Tisa, God commands Moses to take a census by having each person give a half-shekel coin. Instead of counting the people, which was taboo, they would determine the number of people by counting the coins. The money collected would be used Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: Purim and the Perils of Powerlessness

Posted on February 26, 2021

As kids we loved Purim. Dressing up, playing carnival games, booing Haman, and watching adults being silly. It was all great fun. As adults, the frivolity of Purim is tempting. It awakens the innocence of childhood within us, and that can be a welcome thing, as long as one doesn’t actually read the Megillah. For Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: Radical Empathy

Posted on January 22, 2021

I like to ask my students if they think their parents would ever lie to them. Of course not, they assure me. Well then, I ask, is it true that your parents were slaves in Egypt and that God liberated them with signs and wonders? Yet, every year at the Pesach seder your parents tell Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: Let Us Soften Our Hearts

Posted on January 15, 2021

“And Pharaoh’s heart was hardened…” (Ex 7:22) This week’s parashah continues the story of the Exodus and the dramatic confrontation between God and Pharaoh. It is a story of pain and suffering that multiplies as the oppressor becomes the victim of his own designs. And the root of it all? The hardening of the heart. Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: The Wisdom of the Midwife: First Breathe,Then Push

Posted on January 8, 2021

Two days have passed since the violent attack on the Capitol and many, if not most, of us are still in shock. If we hadn’t seen it with our own eyes, we likely would not have believed it could happen -— not here, not in America. To this I say: thank God this is America. Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: May We Truly Live

Posted on January 1, 2021

This Shabbat, as we turn a page in the secular calendar, we also turn a page in Torah. With Parashat Va-yechi and the death of Jacob, we come to the end of the Book of Genesis and the days of our patriarchs and matriarchs. It is the end of an era, the end of our Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message for the End of Chanukah: Hope is More than Wishful Thinking

Posted on December 18, 2020

One Chanukah, while imprisoned in a concentration camp in Germany, the late Rabbi Hugo Gryn learned a lesson about hope. “It was the cold winter of 1944,” he wrote, “and although we had nothing like calendars, my father, who was my fellow prisoner there, took me and some of our friends to a corner of Continue Reading »

A Message for Shabbat Chanukah: The True Miracle that Banishes the Darkness

Posted on December 11, 2020

The True Miracle that Banishes the Darkness The Torah contains many examples of what I like to call “billboard moments” — places in the text where a kernel of life’s most profound wisdom is distilled into a pithy statement you would want to put on a billboard to announce to the world. These include sayings like Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: Peace Is Possible

Posted on December 4, 2020

This week’s Torah portion, VaYishlach, contains one of the most touching moments in the entire Hebrew Bible. After years of estrangement and bitter conflict Jacob and Esau meet and make peace. As they approach one another, we read that “Esau ran to greet him. He embraced him and, falling on his neck, he kissed him; Continue Reading »

Top This! Latkes as a Canvas

Posted on November 13, 2020

Sure, it’s fun to come up with new ways to gussy up latkes: beet latkes, cauliflower latkes, even ramen noodle latkes. But what I love more than adding other veggies and ingredients to the pancake itself is taking the classic potato latke and using it as a canvas for complementary and creative toppings. You can Continue Reading »