Union for Reform Judaism Member Congregation

Archive

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 →

Letting Moses Have His Failure; Letting Us Have Ours, Too

I want to begin by sharing with you words by a famous individual—they write this: “…it is fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as…Read on →

The Story of Chanukah: An Ancient and Yet Unfolding Miracle

This week, a parent shared with me that her son asked her if it’s safe to tell his classmates that he’s Jewish. This week, we mourned the loss of Jewish and non-Jewish innocent people who were killed in a targeted Anti-Semitic attack in New Jersey. This week, Nessah Synagogue, a Persian congregation in Beverly Hills…Read on →

Who Are Your “Esaus” and Is It Time To Let Them Be Free?

Quick pop quiz: In Jewish tradition, who is the good guy and who is the bad guy? David and Goliath—who’s the bad guy? Pharaoh and Moses—who’s the bad guy? Moses and Korach? Who’s the bad guy? Amalek and the Israelite stragglers? And from this week’s Torah portion—Jacob or Esau? Who’s the bad guy? Now, for…Read on →

Falling Off Camels and the Art of Feeling What We’re Feeling

I was recently talking with a particular teenager and she was animatedly telling me a story. Her voice was loud, she was practically out of her skin telling me about something that happened to her at school. She started crying, and then out of nowhere, as if someone had thrown a switch, she got totally…Read on →

Living in the Time of Sodom: Stories From the Border

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 →

Lech L’cha: The Story of a Border Crossing People

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 →