Union for Reform Judaism Member Congregation

Archive

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 →

The Story of Chanukah: An Ancient and Yet Unfolding Miracle

This week, a parent shared with me that her son asked her if it’s safe to tell his classmates that he’s Jewish. This week, we mourned the loss of Jewish and non-Jewish innocent people who were killed in a targeted Anti-Semitic attack in New Jersey. This week, Nessah Synagogue, a Persian congregation in Beverly Hills…Read on →

Who Are Your “Esaus” and Is It Time To Let Them Be Free?

Quick pop quiz: In Jewish tradition, who is the good guy and who is the bad guy? David and Goliath—who’s the bad guy? Pharaoh and Moses—who’s the bad guy? Moses and Korach? Who’s the bad guy? Amalek and the Israelite stragglers? And from this week’s Torah portion—Jacob or Esau? Who’s the bad guy? Now, for…Read on →

Falling Off Camels and the Art of Feeling What We’re Feeling

I was recently talking with a particular teenager and she was animatedly telling me a story. Her voice was loud, she was practically out of her skin telling me about something that happened to her at school. She started crying, and then out of nowhere, as if someone had thrown a switch, she got totally…Read on →

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 →

Lech L’cha: The Story of a Border Crossing People

As many of you know, I spent this past week at the southern border of our country, in El Paso on the US side, and in Juarez on the Mexican side. I was honored to join a group of Jewish clergy which was led by HIAS, who we heard from here on Yom Kippur. And…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 →