Union for Reform Judaism Member Congregation

Archive

I Am Joseph Your Brother

The defining moment. . .  It is the defining moment of Joseph’s life. Yes, he has come through life-altering moments before.  Gifted with a tunic by his father.  Thrown into a pit by his brothers.  Sold as a slave to the Midianites, also by his brothers. And once in Egypt, refusing to give in to…Read on →

The Rabbinic Transformation of Hanukkah

The Need to Stamp the Festival. . . The Festival of Hanukkah commemorates the Maccabean victory over the powerful army of the Syrian-Greek King Antiochus IV (Antiochus Epiphanes) in 165 BCE. The Books of Maccabees and the Jewish historian Josephus describe various commemorative ceremonies in the years following this momentous event. But the Rabbis of…Read on →

The Breath of Life

The death of Eric Garner. . .  The events of last Wednesday and days dealt a blow to the sensibilities of New Yorkers. We are a nation of laws, and cannot simply form lynch mobs to carry out vigilante justice. At the same time, we have the right to expect that those responsible for a…Read on →

An Ongoing Struggle

Jacob has spent twenty years in Haran after escaping his brother Esau’s wrath. He now has two wives, two handmaidens, eleven sons (Benjamin, the 12th, was born later), one daughter, servants and possessions. But there is something that remains unsettled for him. It is the bad blood that exists between him and his brother Esau….Read on →

The Work Never Stops

This has been a busy time for the officers, trustees and staff, and a time of transitions. The holidays are be-hind us now, and the officers thank everyone who put so much work into making them successful. Thanks especially to Rabbi Goodman for leading us, Student Cantor Goldin for her beautiful singing, and Henry Singer…Read on →

The Attribute of Loyalty

No question, the patriarch Jacob is a flawed individual. Of course he is intelligent and intuitive, but he is also calculating and dishonest. He tricks his own brother out of the birthright, and his own father, out of the blessing meant for his brother. And of course, his very name, Ya’akov, comes from the word…Read on →

A Personal Story for Veterans Day

Veterans Day. . . .  Today is Veteran’s Day. World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, when the Treaty of Versailles was signed at the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, the fighting actually ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied…Read on →

Kol Nidre and the Union Temple Connection

Kol Nidrei. . . The chanting of Kol Nidrei is the moment of greatest power and emotion for most Jews during the entire High Holy Day period. But the origins of this formula are not at all clear. The most popular theory is that it was linked to the Jewish conversos in Spain (often called…Read on →

Labor Day for Jews

A Day Off. . . I hope you all had a pleasant Labor Day. We spent it with our good friends, eating hot dogs and watching the US Open. A great way to spend the day. But Labor Day is also serious business. It reminds us of the centrality of work in our consciousness, and…Read on →

A Stain Upon the Land

“You shall not pollute the land in which you live; for blood pollutes the land, and the land can have no expiation for blood that is shed upon it, except by the blood of him who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in which I Myself abide, for I…Read on →