Union for Reform Judaism Member Congregation

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We Mourn Together as People of the Faith

Late last week, as you know, nine members of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, were brutally murdered as they sat together with their Pastor in the fellowship of Bible study. They were doing what we at our temple do as Jews all the time, and what faith communities of all denominations do as…Read on →

A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed

We all know the expression “a friend in need is a friend indeed.” Here is a bit of a different slant. This past Sunday Steve and I attended a small gathering at the home of a rabbinic colleague in New Jersey for a send-off, if you will, for one of our colleagues who is loved…Read on →

Ongoing Engagement

The central story of our Torah portion, Lech Lecha, the story of the scouts, is familiar to most of us. Moses was charged with assigning twelve scouts, one from each of the tribes, to go ahead of the people and scout out the land of Canaan, in order to prepare the people for the conquest as…Read on →

The WZO Elections: Great News!

I thought you would like to see the email that I received yesterday from Rabbi Joshua Weinberg and Rabbi Bennett Miller, Director and President of the Association of Reform Zionists of America, ARZA. Our hard work has paid off. Now, for the REAL work of raising our voice in Israel even louder. To all of you who…Read on →

Kabbalat Shabbat and the Hills of Tzefat

As you know, a little less than a decade ago, we at Union Temple began including an introductory segment at the beginning of our Shabbat Evening Services. This segment is called Kabbalat Shabbat, Welcoming (literally “receiving”) Shabbat, and is relatively standard now at the beginning of most Reform congregations’ Friday Evening Services, as it has…Read on →

A Stroke of Luck

This past Thursday was Lag Ba’omer, and here in Israel, there was great rejoicing – bonfires, weddings, and music. By pure coincidence, our tour group struck a lucky, unplanned moment by happening upon a great celebration. We had spent the day in the Old City of Jerusalem, as we stepped back through some 3,000 years…Read on →

Israel…Wonderful, and Complicated

It’s wonderful; and, it’s also complicated. . . . It is the end of a long but wonderful day – the first full day of our journey on our Breadth of Israel Tour. When we arrived last night we gathered for our opening dinner at a very special restaurant in the cultural heart of Tel…Read on →

A God of War or a God of Peace? *

Shirat Hayam, the Song of the Sea, is the centerpiece of our Torah portion this week. “I will sing to the LORD for He has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider He has hurled into the Sea.” (Exodus 15.1) From the outset, God is portrayed as a mighty warrior. Adonai ish milchamah, Adonai Shemo. (Exodus 15.2)…Read on →

A New Year’s Prayer

As we prepare to close out the old year and ring in the new, this week also will conclude our reading of the Book of Genesis. It is a poignant coincidence that happens rather frequently in our year. Further poignancy is to be found in the conclusion to the Genesis narratives themselves, which have been…Read on →

I Am Joseph Your Brother

The defining moment. . .  It is the defining moment of Joseph’s life. Yes, he has come through life-altering moments before.  Gifted with a tunic by his father.  Thrown into a pit by his brothers.  Sold as a slave to the Midianites, also by his brothers. And once in Egypt, refusing to give in to…Read on →