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 →
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 →
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 →
“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 →
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 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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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