Union for Reform Judaism Member Congregation

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Kol Nidre 5780: The Psalmist, the Prophet, the People

“Please stand up ma’am. I’m placing you under arrest.” I usually go by rabbi, but this was not the time. I stood up silently. It was not a surprise. It was what I was there to do. This past summer was also the first time I was arrested, and I could feel my heart pounding…Read on →

Love in Jewish Tradition: A To-Do List, Not a To-Feel List

I want to talk to you about love. Well, to be fair, actually Judaism wants to talk to you, and all of us, about love. Today is a day on the Jewish calendar called Tu B’Av, which translates to the 15th day of the month of Av. Post-Biblically speaking, it is the day 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 →

A Gut-Wrenching Week

This has been a gut-wrenching week for us as Americans, as Jews, as human beings. Whether we’re Democrats, Republicans, Independents; whether or not we have had the privilege of raising children ourselves, or have been part of the “village” that raises everyone’s children; it doesn’t matter. Just a shred of rachmones—compassion—is all it took this week for any…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 Commandment to Love the Stranger

We have a double Torah portion this week, Acharei Mot–Kedoshim. We in the Reform Movement know Kedoshim particularly well, because in addition to this appearance in the calendrical cycle, it is our Torah reading for the afternoon of Yom Kippur. Kedoshim tihyu, ki kadosh ani Adonai Eloheichem… You shall be holy, for I your Eternal God am holy. So it…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 →

Voices in the Wilderness: The Courage of the Clergy in Georgia

This weekend is devoted to commemorating the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, z”l. The inspiring, poetic style of his soaring oratory became the voice for so many African Americans whose voices were never heard before, after centuries of the brutality and racism that marked racial segregation and discrimination in virtually every area…Read on →