Union for Reform Judaism Member Congregation

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A Collective Cheshbon HaNefesh: Sweeping out the Evil of Racism: Rabbi Kolin’s Sermon on Ki Teitzei

I have been so distraught this week. Looking at your beautiful faces, I have a feeling I’m not alone. Last Sunday, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a black man named Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by a police officer while his children were in the car, a couple of feet away. He will…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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →