Union for Reform Judaism Member Congregation

Archive

9-11 Memorial Museum. Photo: Irina Lee

No Answers, Only Questions

On September 11, 2001, our lives were changed forever. 2,983 souls perished on that day: in New York, in Washington, in Shanksville, PA. We were a world in shock; a nation in mourning; a city in rubble and ashes. At 8 o’clock in the morning, there was not a cloud in the sky. It was…Read on →

Yeshiva Maharat website screenshot

RCA Rejection of Women’s Ordination

Our Torah portion this week opens with the death of the Matriarch of our People, Sarah. She derived great joy from the birth of her son Isaac. But throughout most of her life, she encountered great difficulty and pain, much of which came about from the secondary position to which she was relegated within her…Read on →

Yitzhak Rabin. Photo: Flickr: Israel Defense Forces

Thoughts on the Legacy of Yitzhak Rabin, z”l

As we approach the 20th anniversary of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, z”l, on November 4th, a tangible and trustworthy peace between Israelis and Palestinians seems, still, a pipe dream at best. Yet we remember that peace accords between Israel and parts of the Arab world have indeed been achieved, and continue…Read on →

Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem

Pray For the Peace of Jerusalem

Our Torah portion explains that the mabul – the flood – that God sent to destroy the world was as a result of the hamas that had filled the earth. In Biblical translation, this word hamas is usually translated as “violence.” Rabbinic commentaries further explain this “violence” as “economic corruption.” But violence in the raw,…Read on →

Planned Parenthood website screenshot

The Condemnation of Eve and the Politics of Planned Parenthood

This week we begin again our yearly cycle of Torah study. The Torah portions of this week and next week concentrate on primordial history: the creation of the world and human beings, and the nature of human beings and their potential to do both good and bad (the yetzer hatov – the good inclination, and…Read on →

Sukkah roof. Photo courtesy of Teofilo at Flickr. CC

Shelter of Peace

The sukkah has come to symbolize a shelter a peace. But the structure of a sukkah speaks powerfully to the nature of such shelter. While the roof of the sukkah is covered with branches and leaves (s’chach) to provide shade, we must also always be able to look up and see the sunlight by day, and…Read on →

Title: Jonah Preaching in Nineveh, illustration to Jonah (portfolio) Gurlitt Verlag, Berlin, 1923 Creator: Jakob Steinhardt, Born Germany, active Germany and Israel, 1887–1968 Data provider: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem Provider: Athena View item at: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem Rights Reserved - Free Access

The Anomalies of Jonah

Our Haftarah reading for Yom Kippur Afternoon is The Book of Jonah, the annual reading of which will be delightfully delivered by Mike Wolfson, and we look forward to it, as always. Within these four brief chapters, the book delivers an important message, which is central to our observance of these Days of Awe. The…Read on →

Open Gate. Courtesy Dave Catchpole, Flickr. CC.

Inside High Holy Day Hebrew

On Rosh Hashanah we greet each other with “L’shanah Tovah” – “A good year.” The more formal expression is “L’shanah Tovah Tikateivu V’teichateimu” – “A good year, and may you be inscribed and sealed (for blessing in the Book of Life).” The traditional imagery of the High Holy Days is of the Almighty sitting up…Read on →

Shofar by Alphonse Lévy

Prayer of the Heart

In these remaining days before Rosh Hashanah, I offer some thoughts from our new machzor, Mishkan HaNefesh (Sanctuary of the Soul). These thoughts are found in the Rosh Hashanah Morning Service, at the very end of the Amidah, during our moment of Silent Prayer. It is a section entitled “Prayer of the Heart.” • •…Read on →

The Sin of Xenophobia

Cursed be the one who subverts the rights of the stranger, the orphan, and the widow. . . . (Deuteronomy 27.19) In our sidra this week, among the litany of laws and statutes that Moses rehearses for the Israelites as they stand at the Jordan River is the admonition concerning fair treatment of the ger…Read on →