Union for Reform Judaism Member Congregation

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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 →

The Blessing, The Curse, The Vote

Our Torah portion describes a public ceremony that was to be carried out as soon as the Israelites crossed over the Jordan into the Promised Land. In the city of Shechem (the modern city of Nablus) there are two mountains that slope down into a crossroads. The ceremony was to take place on those two…Read on →

Praying for Amatrice

Our thoughts and prayers will be with the people of Italy on this Shabbat, as they continue the heartbreaking work of digging out the city of Amatrice after a 6.2 earthquake toppled the beautiful city and environs in central Italy earlier this week. We know that their mourning has only just begun, and the devastation…Read on →

Open Gate. Courtesy Dave Catchpole, Flickr. CC.

Inside High Holy Day Hebrew

On Rosh Hashanah we greet each other with “L’shanah Tovah” – “A good year.” The more formal expression is “L’shanah Tovah Tikateivu V’teichateimu” – “A good year, and may you be inscribed and sealed (for blessing in the Book of Life).” The traditional imagery of the High Holy Days is of the Almighty sitting up…Read on →

Shofar by Alphonse Lévy

Prayer of the Heart

In these remaining days before Rosh Hashanah, I offer some thoughts from our new machzor, Mishkan HaNefesh (Sanctuary of the Soul). These thoughts are found in the Rosh Hashanah Morning Service, at the very end of the Amidah, during our moment of Silent Prayer. It is a section entitled “Prayer of the Heart.” • •…Read on →