Union for Reform Judaism Member Congregation

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Erev Sukkot 5780: “Be Joyful, People!”: Training for the Sukkot Season

As you know, because I am totally obsessed with her, we’ve got a 2.5 year old. A few months ago, she started telling us that her room was too dark when she went to sleep, so we decided to get her a nightlight. We got a little one for the wall. It was simple and…Read on →

Yom Kippur 5780: On a Quest to Seek Out Life: The Mars Rover Curiosity and Me

Forecasts on August 6, 2012 called for favorable Martian weather over the landing zone. After a journey from Earth of more than 350 million miles and 8 months, engineers said they were hopeful the rover, the size of a small sports car, would land precisely as planned near the foot of a tall mountain rising…Read on →

Rosh Hashanah Morning 5780: To Build a Mishkan: A Blueprint for Sacred Community and Union Temple’s Next Chapter

James was the front office guy at Temple Israel in Boston—the first congregation that I served as a rabbi. He was the first person you’d see when you walked in the door and he was just about the kindest person you could ever meet. For example, he had worked there for about a week when…Read on →

Erev Rosh Hashanah 5780: Extremely Unrandom Acts of Kindness: A Chesed Baseline for the New Year

I sat once in a classroom with my teacher and mentor—Rabbi Larry Hoffman, a well respected scholar and one of the greatest intellectual minds of modern Jewish thought.  On this day, Rabbi Hoffman had asked us a simple question: What is the most important attribute a person can have?   The first thing I thought of…Read on →

Drilling Down on our High Holy Day Prep with the Help of Parshat Ki Teitzei (and a Little Competitive Ribbon Dancing)

This morning, I was involved in a messaging chain as my family tried to set up plans for our kiddo with a couple of our friends. The texts proceed: What time, oh that’s during nap, maybe she’ll nap in the car, that is a complete fantasy, she never naps in the car…and so forth. This…Read on →

Subliminal Stirrings: Or, Oh Dear, The High Holy Days Are Coming

I remember the first time that I learned about the idea of subliminal messages. It was back in the good old days when people watched TV at the time their show came on and during that show, there were commercial breaks. There were advertisements for food, cars, vacations, and toys. And for each of these,…Read on →

The Same, But Different

The Same, But Different That was the title of Rabbi Goodman’s Bulletin column last year at this time: “The Same, But Different.” If it was true then, when Rabbi Goodman wrote those words—preparing to lead services at Union Temple for the last time as your Rabbi before assuming the role of Rabbi Emerita—it is, kal…Read on →

Opening the Door for Elijah

As I was growing up, there were two highlights of Passover Seders for me—the reading of the Four Questions and opening the door for Elijah. My family followed the tradition at the time of assigning the reading of the Four Questions to the youngest son—never the daughter. So even though I was younger than my…Read on →

History of the Miracle

A review of history. . . Between 167 and 164 BCE, the Syrian-Greek king Antiochus IV, who was politically and militarily in control of Judea at the time, imposed a series of decrees upon the population of Judea, effectively banning the observance of Judaism. Though throughout the preceding centuries there had been many wars for…Read on →

The Mystical Jewels of Shavuot

Those of us who traveled to Israel together in May of 2015 spent part of our last day there up north in Tzefat – the highest city in Israel. Tzefat was the center of Jewish mysticism in the 16th century. Even now we have a taste of the mystical tradition that was born in Tzefat…Read on →