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Hope as a Participatory Virtue: Even Now, Especially Now, Essentially Now, Rosh Hashanah 5781

At the very beginning of this pandemic, the very first thing that happened in my family is that I broke my toe and probably my foot. I had just heard the news that we would be quarantined for two weeks—which, at the time, was shocking. I leapt out of my chair and ran to check…Read on →

A Collective Cheshbon HaNefesh: Sweeping out the Evil of Racism: Rabbi Kolin’s Sermon on Ki Teitzei

I have been so distraught this week. Looking at your beautiful faces, I have a feeling I’m not alone. Last Sunday, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a black man named Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by a police officer while his children were in the car, a couple of feet away. He will…Read on →

Crying out from the Rubble of Tisha B’Av:  A Way to Help our Hungry New York Family Today

There’s something happening in our city and state that I didn’t know about until recently. Maya Angelou famously taught—when you know better, do better. So I’m trying to do better now and I wanted to share with you what I’ve learned so maybe we have a chance of doing better together. Maybe some of you…Read on →

The Imperative to Grieve Before We Move: The Daughters of Zelophechad as a Model for our Broken Hearts

Three and a half months ago the parents of a little girl named Blake recorded her reaction to learning that everything needed to be closed down because of the germs. That’s how we talk to our toddlers about COVID. In this video, Blake is sitting at a table and explaining, through tears and the broken…Read on →

Between the Packing and the Journey:  Parshat Behar Bechukotai

In my house, we are constantly packing to go somewhere. Always. We pack endlessly. We pack in suitcases and toy boxes and blankets wrapped up with other blankets. Then we take the car to the airport and we go on a plane. Sometimes we fly to California. Sometimes to Puerto Rico. Sometimes we take the…Read on →

Unmasking our Hearts while Masking our Face

We’ve started playing a game in my house. It’s called “that’s a terrible idea!” And it goes like this. You name something that would be totally outlandish to do, then you look at each other and say: “should we do that?” And then we answer together: “NO! That is a terrible idea!” And then we…Read on →

And I Will Dwell Amongst Them: Being Sacred Community in Preparation for the Coronavirus

In her song, February, the musical artist, Dar Williams captures this moment in time well, I think. She sings: “And February was so long that it lasted into March.” Right? Besides the fact that we have an extra day of February this year—happy birthday too all our leap babies, of course—February can seem like the…Read on →

We Point our Bodies Toward the East: Voting in the World Zionist Congress Election This Year

It was March 9th, 2002. I had spent the year up until that point living in Israel for my first year of rabbinical school. We had climbed the mountains and walked the beaches. We had met with artists and politicians and teachers. We had hung out with shop keepers, and had endless Shabbat dinners. We…Read on →

Letting Moses Have His Failure; Letting Us Have Ours, Too

I want to begin by sharing with you words by a famous individual—they write this: “…it is fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as…Read on →

The Distance Between Us, The Difference Between Us Melts Away: MLK Shabbat and Building the Beloved Community

She looked down at her nursing baby and put her hand on the baby’s soft cheek. Her movements were so gentle, but her eyes were full of agony. I have shared in this circle on several Shabbats my experiences traveling to the southern border of our country to witness the situation for asylum seekers in…Read on →