Union for Reform Judaism Member Congregation

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A Shelter of Peace

This past Friday night and Saturday, the peace of our Shabbat was pierced by the unspeakable violence and brutality of the coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris. Our hearts go out to those who are mourning loved ones, and our prayers for healing go out to those who were wounded. It is as though this wanton…Read on →

Abraham Preparing to Sacrifice Issac. Marc Chagall

Emerging from Trauma

Isaac, son of Abraham, is one of the most tragic figures in the Genesis narratives. When he was just a boy, he suffered the loss of his older brother Ishmael, when Ishmael and his mother Hagar were expelled from the household into the wilderness by Isaac’s mother Sarah. Then, sometime after this, Isaac walked for…Read on →

Yitzhak Rabin. Photo: Flickr: Israel Defense Forces

Thoughts on the Legacy of Yitzhak Rabin, z”l

As we approach the 20th anniversary of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, z”l, on November 4th, a tangible and trustworthy peace between Israelis and Palestinians seems, still, a pipe dream at best. Yet we remember that peace accords between Israel and parts of the Arab world have indeed been achieved, and continue…Read on →

Planned Parenthood website screenshot

The Condemnation of Eve and the Politics of Planned Parenthood

This week we begin again our yearly cycle of Torah study. The Torah portions of this week and next week concentrate on primordial history: the creation of the world and human beings, and the nature of human beings and their potential to do both good and bad (the yetzer hatov – the good inclination, and…Read on →

A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed

We all know the expression “a friend in need is a friend indeed.” Here is a bit of a different slant. This past Sunday Steve and I attended a small gathering at the home of a rabbinic colleague in New Jersey for a send-off, if you will, for one of our colleagues who is loved…Read on →

Ongoing Engagement

The central story of our Torah portion, Lech Lecha, the story of the scouts, is familiar to most of us. Moses was charged with assigning twelve scouts, one from each of the tribes, to go ahead of the people and scout out the land of Canaan, in order to prepare the people for the conquest as…Read on →

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 →