Union for Reform Judaism Member Congregation

Archive

The Greatness of Yiddish, and A Few Rotten Words

Thanks to the efforts of our wonderful congregant Peter Gomori, a group of us will soon treat ourselves to a performance of Di Goldene Kale (The Golden Bride) at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park. It is being presented by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, and is one in a series of performances this…Read on →

The Message of Chanukah: Making War or Pursuing Peace?

Our Haftarah for Shabbat Chanukah is taken from the prophet Zechariah, Chapter 4. It envisions the lampstand once again in the Temple in the Jerusalem, as the angel explains its meaning. Verse 6 proclaims: “Then he explained to me as follows: ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel. Not by might, nor by…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 →

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 →

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 →

The Brutal “Messiness” of Life

“Yucky Stuff” . . . For the next two weeks we are reading portions in our Torah that most of us would prefer to avoid: this week, Tazria, next week, Metzora. Leprosy, mold on houses, impurities incurred from childbirth, and similar “yucky” stuff. And it was the priests who had the dubious honor of examining all these…Read on →

We Are Jews

Destructive Proclamation. . . Last Wednesday, Knesset Member David Rotem, leader of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party and Chairman of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee of the Knesset, stood on the Knesset floor and declared Reform Jews not to be Jews, and Reform Judaism to be a different religion. This is the same David…Read on →

Nelson Mandela’s Work

Last Thursday the world lost Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa. Through his own unimaginable personal sacrifice and almost superhuman determination and political acumen, he brought about peace and reconciliation to a deeply troubled land. In so doing, he inspired us all with hope in the potential of human beings to overcome the racism…Read on →

Happy Thanksgivukah!

Happy Thanksgivukah! I admit that earlier this fall I resisted using this greeting, because I didn’t want to risk compromising the integrity of either holiday. Nevertheless, the confluence of these two beloved celebrations will not come around again for about 79,000 years, so I figured, why not?! If I’m still here for the next one,…Read on →

The Extraordinary Poetry of Abraham Lincoln

This week our country marks the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, delivered by President Abraham Lincoln on November 19, 1863, to a crowd of about 15,000, at the consecration of a new national cemetery at Gettsyburg. On July 1-3 of that year, forces of General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army and the Union Army…Read on →