Union for Reform Judaism Member Congregation

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Living in the Time of Sodom: Stories From the Border

What is the sin of Sodom? That’s a question that has fascinated commentators for generations. And it stems from this week’s Torah portion, parshat Vayera. God tells Abraham that the sin of Sodom is so great that God has to destroy it. In response, Abraham bargains and begs God for their lives, asking for mercy…Read on →

In Memory of the Lives Lost at Tree of Life Synagogue: Connected by our Roots

There is something quite magical about trees. We read in the book of Deuteronomy about a tree who is standing in the field when a conquering army comes to take the city in which it grows. And we are instructed not to cut down that tree because, Torah asks rhetorically, “is a tree of the…Read on →

When Our Walls are Breached

When I was a kid, and my brother and I used to play with the neighborhood children in Stuyvesant Town—kickball, or dodgeball, or running bases—there used to be a bit of an unspoken rule about when you could get a do-over. Another try to go back in time and do it better. A do-over was…Read on →

We Could Be Miriam: For the Protection of Immigrant Children

A 12-year-old boy: “I’m hungry here all the time. I’m so hungry that I have woken up in the middle of the night with hunger… I’m too scared to ask the officials here for any more food, even though there is not enough food here for me. I saw a child ask for more food…Read on →

Guard Your Tongue From Evil, And Your Lips From Deceitful Speech

In the past few days, we have been subjected to celebrities behaving badly. I will address the two most recent incidents, but they come at a time when public discourse in general is deteriorating by the day, taking on an increasingly coarse and destructive cast. Nevertheless, I will begin with the davar that I had…Read on →

The Way Out of Hell

Camp Coleman is located in Cleveland, GA. It is the Union for Reform Judaism camp that services the communities in the Southeast region of the United States. It is the equivalent of Camps Eisner, Crane Lake, and Six Points, which are our URJ camps here in the Northeast. Alyssa Alhadeff was a camper at URJ…Read on →

Truth and Lies

The centerpiece of our Torah portion this week is the Ten Commandments, or as the code is commonly identified in Hebrew, Aseret HaDibrot -“The Ten Words.” There are two in particular that deal with honesty. The third commandment: You shall not swear falsely by the name of the Lord your God; for the Lord will not clear one…Read on →

To See Through the Darkness

As our Torah portion begins, there have been eight plagues upon Egypt. And now we read: Then the LORD said to Moses: “Hold out your arm toward the sky that there may be darkness upon the land of Egypt, a darkness that can be touched.” Moses held out his arm toward the sky and a thick…Read on →

President or King

We open the Book of Exodus this week upon the cruel and despotic king of Egypt, who abuses his title of “Pharaoh” in all the worst ways. He is self-absorbed, power-hungry, narcissistic and paranoid. He has enslaved an entire people to build cities for his own glorification, and then he fears that their baby boys…Read on →

To Stick Our Necks Out

Joseph wants to see if his brothers have grown beyond their jealously and callousness during the 20 years since he last saw them. As Viceroy of Egypt, he arranges a ruse. He orders his steward to hide his own silver goblet in the backpack of Benjamin, his younger brother. When the goblet is then “found,”…Read on →