Union for Reform Judaism Member Congregation

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Erev Sukkot 5780: “Be Joyful, People!”: Training for the Sukkot Season

As you know, because I am totally obsessed with her, we’ve got a 2.5 year old. A few months ago, she started telling us that her room was too dark when she went to sleep, so we decided to get her a nightlight. We got a little one for the wall. It was simple and…Read on →

Yom Kippur 5780: On a Quest to Seek Out Life: The Mars Rover Curiosity and Me

Forecasts on August 6, 2012 called for favorable Martian weather over the landing zone. After a journey from Earth of more than 350 million miles and 8 months, engineers said they were hopeful the rover, the size of a small sports car, would land precisely as planned near the foot of a tall mountain rising…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 →

Rosh Hashanah Morning 5780: To Build a Mishkan: A Blueprint for Sacred Community and Union Temple’s Next Chapter

James was the front office guy at Temple Israel in Boston—the first congregation that I served as a rabbi. He was the first person you’d see when you walked in the door and he was just about the kindest person you could ever meet. For example, he had worked there for about a week when…Read on →

Erev Rosh Hashanah 5780: Extremely Unrandom Acts of Kindness: A Chesed Baseline for the New Year

I sat once in a classroom with my teacher and mentor—Rabbi Larry Hoffman, a well respected scholar and one of the greatest intellectual minds of modern Jewish thought.  On this day, Rabbi Hoffman had asked us a simple question: What is the most important attribute a person can have?   The first thing I thought of…Read on →

Drilling Down on our High Holy Day Prep with the Help of Parshat Ki Teitzei (and a Little Competitive Ribbon Dancing)

This morning, I was involved in a messaging chain as my family tried to set up plans for our kiddo with a couple of our friends. The texts proceed: What time, oh that’s during nap, maybe she’ll nap in the car, that is a complete fantasy, she never naps in the car…and so forth. This…Read on →

Shabbat Shoftim Torah Study

Deut 20:19 כִּֽי־תָצ֣וּר אֶל־עִיר֩ יָמִ֨ים רַבִּ֜ים לְֽהִלָּחֵ֧ם עָלֶ֣יהָ לְתָפְשָׂ֗הּ לֹֽא־תַשְׁחִ֤ית אֶת־עֵצָהּ֙ לִנְדֹּ֤חַ עָלָיו֙ גַּרְזֶ֔ן כִּ֚י מִמֶּ֣נּוּ תֹאכֵ֔ל וְאֹת֖וֹ לֹ֣א תִכְרֹ֑ת כִּ֤י הָֽאָדָם֙ עֵ֣ץ הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה לָבֹ֥א מִפָּנֶ֖יךָ בַּמָּצֽוֹר׃ When in your war against a city you have to besiege it a long time in order to capture it, you must not destroy its trees, wielding the…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 →

Subliminal Stirrings: Or, Oh Dear, The High Holy Days Are Coming

I remember the first time that I learned about the idea of subliminal messages. It was back in the good old days when people watched TV at the time their show came on and during that show, there were commercial breaks. There were advertisements for food, cars, vacations, and toys. And for each of these,…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 →