Union for Reform Judaism Member Congregation

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The End of One Year

Our Torah portion begins, Vayehi miketz sh’natayim yamim. . . After two years’ time. . . . The two years are those that presumably have passed since the end of last week’s parashah, as the cupbearer of the Egyptian court had told his dream to Joseph, and Joseph interpreted it with astounding accuracy. This time,…Read on →

Chanukah, Christmas and Chinese Food

  The year was 2010, and the Senate Judiciary Committee was carrying out its Constitutional responsibility of conducting a confirmation hearing for the President’s nominee for the US Supreme Court – a responsibility, I might add, which the Senate has now defiantly shirked for the better part of this past year. But in 2010, the…Read on →

If Your Menorah Could Talk, What Would It Say?

I have told many of you about a close friend of mine in the Rabbinate who is a collector of antiques. Among his collection are a number of gorgeous menorot from different places and time periods. One was an 18th century German menorah. Just before the pogrom of Kristallnacht, someone who had an inkling of…Read on →

The Chutzpah of Abraham

הֲשֹׁפֵט כָּל־הָאָרֶץ לֹ֥א יַֽעֲשֶׂה מִשְׁפָּט: – Shall the Judge of all the Earth not deal justly? Within our Torah portion this week is one of the most primal utterances of our entire tradition; one that has haunted us since it was first uttered. The implications are manifold. Abraham finds himself in a confrontation with the…Read on →

Dreamers in America

Jacob is on the move. He has had to leave his home, and journey to Haran to live under the protection of his uncle Laban. He is alone. It is night time, and he lies down and falls asleep. Suddenly in a dream, a ladder appears with angels going up and down. In the morning…Read on →

That’s How the Light Gets In

Whenever I contemplate the uncertainties of human existence, I am amazed by the good fortune I have enjoyed in my sojourn on this earth. Out of all the places I could have been born, by some quirk of fate, I was born in the United States of America – in the middle of New York…Read on →

In a Time of Loss

I have to admit that I have been agonizing over what to write this week for the past three days. I even wrote a long epistle to you, pouring out my own feelings. I have decided however, that for just now, it would not be the most helpful thing for me to send it to…Read on →

Tower of Arrogance

A number of Biblical stories are intended to provide an etiology of how certain things came to be. Within Parashat Noach is such an etiology in the story of the Tower of Babel. We may wonder why it is that there is a profusion of languages within the human family. The story of the Tower…Read on →

What is “Pink Shabbat?”

This week we turn back to the beginning of the Torah upon the dawn of Creation and the appearance of humanity on Earth. “And God created man and woman in the image of God; male and female, God created them, and God blessed them.” This is a lovely and poetic account of how we as…Read on →

A Conflict of Positive Values

The conflict. . . . For the past four years, we at Union Temple have been presented with what I have called a “conflict of positive values.” There is profound meaning and good will informing each of these values, though together they present us with something of a conflict. By way of explanation, I will…Read on →