Union for Reform Judaism Member Congregation

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A Holy and Human Hesitation After the Flood

There’s a piece of music that’s been circulating on social media this week and probably a lot leading up to this week, but it just got to my circles now. It’s a piece that is being created on the spot by a couple, the Bengsons, Abigail and Shaun, who have been singing new songs, kind…Read on →

Ayeka, Where Are You?: God’s First Question for Us

I think maybe the most common question asked throughout a day might be: How are you? And the most common answer? Good! Fine. Okay. It’s almost a reflex. How are you? Good. Really? No. But we rarely ask the “really” part. The one who asks, though surely well-meaning, probably doesn’t have time for an actual…Read on →

A Time to Uproot What Has Been Planted: Rabbi Kolin’s Erev Sukkot Sermon

On Tuesday night, as I listened to the presidential debate, there was a moment when I audibly gasped. A lot of the debate felt predictable or uncomfortable or, at times, demoralizing, but this moment made my blood run cold. There were five words uttered that were all over the airwaves this past week, and they…Read on →

Bein Kodesh L’Kodesh: Union Temple’s Beloved Community at a Moment of Historic Discernment: Rabbi Stephanie Kolin, Yom Kippur 5781

The word midbar means wilderness. Now sometimes when our people’s story gets told, it’s reported that we wandered in the desert for 40 years. And then everyone pictures the flat, dry, yellow sand of a cartoon desert. A thirsty bunch in colorful robes plodding along the smooth terrain. But that’s not a midbar. No, our…Read on →

Ten T’fachim High: What is This Fist I Place on my Heart in Confession?: Rabbi Kolin’s Kol Nidre Sermon 5781

In a few minutes from now, we will ball up our fists and we will say the words of our Vidui—our confession of all of the things we want to repent for this year. All of our mistakes and missteps – the things we have done knowingly and unknowingly that have hurt someone. The harsh…Read on →

Hope as a Participatory Virtue: Even Now, Especially Now, Essentially Now, Rosh Hashanah 5781

At the very beginning of this pandemic, the very first thing that happened in my family is that I broke my toe and probably my foot. I had just heard the news that we would be quarantined for two weeks—which, at the time, was shocking. I leapt out of my chair and ran to check…Read on →

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 →

Between the Packing and the Journey:  Parshat Behar Bechukotai

In my house, we are constantly packing to go somewhere. Always. We pack endlessly. We pack in suitcases and toy boxes and blankets wrapped up with other blankets. Then we take the car to the airport and we go on a plane. Sometimes we fly to California. Sometimes to Puerto Rico. Sometimes we take the…Read on →

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 →