Union for Reform Judaism Member Congregation

Archive

A God of War or a God of Peace? *

Shirat Hayam, the Song of the Sea, is the centerpiece of our Torah portion this week. “I will sing to the LORD for He has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider He has hurled into the Sea.” (Exodus 15.1) From the outset, God is portrayed as a mighty warrior. Adonai ish milchamah, Adonai Shemo. (Exodus 15.2)…Read on →

The Breath of Life

The death of Eric Garner. . .  The events of last Wednesday and days dealt a blow to the sensibilities of New Yorkers. We are a nation of laws, and cannot simply form lynch mobs to carry out vigilante justice. At the same time, we have the right to expect that those responsible for a…Read on →

An Ongoing Struggle

Jacob has spent twenty years in Haran after escaping his brother Esau’s wrath. He now has two wives, two handmaidens, eleven sons (Benjamin, the 12th, was born later), one daughter, servants and possessions. But there is something that remains unsettled for him. It is the bad blood that exists between him and his brother Esau….Read on →

The Attribute of Loyalty

No question, the patriarch Jacob is a flawed individual. Of course he is intelligent and intuitive, but he is also calculating and dishonest. He tricks his own brother out of the birthright, and his own father, out of the blessing meant for his brother. And of course, his very name, Ya’akov, comes from the word…Read on →

Kol Nidre and the Union Temple Connection

Kol Nidrei. . . The chanting of Kol Nidrei is the moment of greatest power and emotion for most Jews during the entire High Holy Day period. But the origins of this formula are not at all clear. The most popular theory is that it was linked to the Jewish conversos in Spain (often called…Read on →

Labor Day for Jews

A Day Off. . . I hope you all had a pleasant Labor Day. We spent it with our good friends, eating hot dogs and watching the US Open. A great way to spend the day. But Labor Day is also serious business. It reminds us of the centrality of work in our consciousness, and…Read on →

A Stain Upon the Land

“You shall not pollute the land in which you live; for blood pollutes the land, and the land can have no expiation for blood that is shed upon it, except by the blood of him who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in which I Myself abide, for I…Read on →

Nelson Mandela’s Work

Last Thursday the world lost Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa. Through his own unimaginable personal sacrifice and almost superhuman determination and political acumen, he brought about peace and reconciliation to a deeply troubled land. In so doing, he inspired us all with hope in the potential of human beings to overcome the racism…Read on →

Women at the Kotel

Chodesh Tov! This is our greeting to each other today on Rosh Chodesh, the first day of the new month. Today begins the month of Kislev, during which, of course, we will celebrate Chanukah (25 Kislev) – our festival of light and freedom. The number 25 for this particular Rosh Chodesh Kislev is most auspicious…Read on →

A Bond Born of Bondage

  Our Torah portion, Ki Tavo, contains the text that serves as the beginning of “Maggid” (Narration) section of our Passover Haggadah. It instructs us as to how to relate to our children, and to all future generations, our sacred history as a people. You shall then recite as follows before the Eternal your God:…Read on →