Union for Reform Judaism Member Congregation


To Journey and To Bake: The Sacred Work of What Comes Next for Our Country and Community

Rabbi Stephanie Kolin, Delivered January 22, 2021, Union Temple’s Final “On Our Own” Friday Night Shabbat Service It’s the dark of night. The Israelites are in their homes, awake, alert, quiet, waiting for word from Moses. They can hardly believe that this day has come. By morning, they might be free. The past few weeks have…Read on →

Vayechi and Union Temple in Transition:  Reaching Back and Looking Forward

January 1st has an almost ethereal feel to it. It’s definitely the new year—it’s been 2021 for more than 19 whole hours now—and I think we’re all pretty glad about that. As the clock turned to midnight last night, we all agreed that something changed, something significant was different about that second from the second…Read on →

The Last Shabbat of 2020: A Moment Frozen in Time—We Reflect and  Live Again

Well, we have arrived at the last Shabbat of 2020. Yes, it is our secular new year and does not hold the same weight for us as Rosh Hashanah does, but it’s natural to see this moment as meaningful for us, too. The human spirit desires many ways to mark time. To end things and…Read on →

Joseph Cries Freely:  The Emotional Whiplash of Winter 2020 and Resources for Those Facing Mental Health Distress

For eight nights, we have been lighting our menorahs. For each night, we added one candle, one flame, until last night, when we were full throttle, eight glowing candles plus a shamash. And then tonigh …as the sun set, Chanukah ended. And yes, we light our beautiful Shabbat candles tonight, but the bottom drops out…Read on →

Choosing Wonder on Chanukah

Can you believe it’s almost Chanukah!? What is a holiday about miracles in a year like the one we’ve had? Well, let’s start with a little history. Leading up to approximately the year 165 BCE, The Seleucids, who were part of the Assyrian-Greek Empire, oppressed the Jewish people in many ways, including prohibiting central rituals…Read on →

Getting Worse Before it Gets Better:  How Jacob Can Help us Weather the Months Ahead

Back when I used to fly a lot—not just pre-COVID days, but in my professional life as co-director of a national organization, I felt like I was constantly getting on and off planes. And every time, all around me, I’d see folks settling in, opening a book, or nodding off before takeoff. But not me….Read on →

Rabbi Kolin on Transgender Day of Remembrance

Many years ago, I was leading a birthright trip to Israel. Early on, one participant very nervously came to talk to me. She shared with me that she was a lesbian and she wasn’t sure how the other folks on the trip would be with that. Being pretty sure of our Reform Movement group, I…Read on →

Hachaziki et Yadech: Grab Someone’s Hand and Life-Giving Waters Appear

Four years ago, I sat with friends and watched the presidential election. As the votes came in, my sense of dread increased. This was not partisan dread. As an organizer, I have a deep respect for the power that a multiplicity of voices in the public square has to make real and enduring change. But…Read on →

The “Hey” of God’s Blessing: A Wellspring of Inner Strength

This week, our congregation gathered to make a huge and historic decision about our future. We voted to merge with CBE, our sister Reform congregation just up the road a bit. The evening was a powerful mix of storytelling, connecting with one another, dreaming, and honoring a full range of real and authentic emotion. It…Read on →

Grounding in Torah for Congregational Vote

We are on a journey right now and here tonight. And this week’s Torah portion—perhaps somewhat presciently— is about our quintessential journey. God comes to this guy named Avram, who had been just going about his business and then one day, God says to him Lech L’cha, Avram. Lech l’cha meiartz’cha—Go, from your land. U’mimolad’t’cha—from…Read on →