December 17, 2018 |

Life Reflections

Sleepless in Persia

Originally written the shabbat before Purim 2011/5771 - but please - let's spread this far and wide so it has time to circulate by next purim- something to consider, to incorporate... Discuss, respond, comment, but mostly, if you want and would, please pass along... been contemplating this for a...

Torah of the Moment

The deepest Torah I can think in this very moment is that Mt . Sinai is not just an event in the past but that it refers to the constant transmission of Torah through the highest source in heaven to the lowest creature in the planet and that the idea of Mt. Sinai is happening now. This does not mean...

A Pre-Seder Pesach Prayer

Blessed be all those who attended to the logistics that make a Seder possible, especially, the women who, for centuries, did it all by themselves. Because making the home ready for Pesach includes: Cleaning the house, including closets and windows; Getting clothes for everyone in the family and...

Customs

In 1961, I was returning from my first trip to Israel. At JFK at that time, there was a balcony, with a glass wall, from which people could watch arriving passengers go through customs. My father z”l, the traditional conservative rabbi, watched as I went through the required interrogation. I was...

Dispatch from a Normal State

Sitting here in Jerusalem, just waiting for the pre-Shabbat siren, I realize something has changed. I've been here many times, shared this holy place with my wife, my children, my parents, and now my extended family, some of whom have made Aliyah. But something is different this time. The...

The Power of a Jewish Voice

Nicholas Patruno has written that: "[During the Sho'ah, the Nazis' attempts at] the suppression of language served as a cruel reminder that there would be no voice left to tell. ...But in Auschwitz, Primo Levi soon concluded that his survival, in physical and moral terms, depended largely on his...

Jewish Elasticity and Values

Elasticity describes a ratio of change, a useful tool whose work is independent of units. To measure a ratio of change is to come to terms with the specific language and factors in any given situation before stating an observation. It is a brave thing to step into this world of elasticity, where...

Women on a Beit Din

In the fifth year of rabbinical school, Rabbi Joel Roth had typically requested that soon-to-be ordained female rabbis not sit on Batei Din. (During my fifth year Rabbi Roth was teaching at the Conservative Yeshiva, and so Rabbi Mayer Rabinowitz was the instructor.) I felt then, and feel even...

A Prayer for Thanksgiving 2008: "Reaching for Gratitude"

Dear God: On a day in which the needs of the world have suddenly gained urgency yet again, in which the internal sense of stability in our country is increasingly fragile, we turn to You. Today is a day for invoking gratitude. But today, when we sit at the table with cherished friends and...

Spiritual Authority in a Participatory Congregation

In a world of individual empowerment, what is the place for authority? Is there one? Should there be? Inherited faith traditions locate the source of religious authority in text, the heavens, or a religious leader. Something tangible and limited. That is likely not the way our communities...

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