Union for Reform Judaism Member Congregation

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Long Live the King?

While our Torah portion, Shofetim – Judges – is indeed about judges, and their responsibilities for maintaining judicial integrity in Ancient Israel, I’d like to focus for a moment on another type of leader in Ancient Israel mentioned in this portion. That is the king. We know that beginning around 1,000 B.C.E., kings did exist…Read on →

Lloyd George, Sir Herbert Samuel, Arthur Ruppin, and The Sabbath of Comfort Inbox

This Shabbat immediately following Tishah B’Av is known in our tradition as “Shabbat Nachamu,” “The Sabbath of Comfort,” after the first few words of the Haftarah portion from Chapter 40 of Isaiah: Nachamu, nachamu ami – Take comfort, take comfort, O My people. During the Winter Study Retreat of the Rabbinic Leadership Initiative of the…Read on →

Jerusalem Pride

In our Torah portion for this week, Bylam, a popular magic man known throughout the Ancient Near East, was summoned by the Moabite King Balak to throw a curse upon the Israelites, who were camped on the Steppes of Moab. Though the Israelites meant him no harm and were just passing through on their way…Read on →

Graduation Day

The highlight of this past week for me was the graduation of the fifth cohort of the Rabbinic Leadership Initiative (fondly abbreviated as “RLI V”) from the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. We are now officially Senior Rabbinic Fellows of the Institute. For the past three and a half years, I have joined 26 other…Read on →

Eilu v’Eilu

I am in Israel this week, as of today (Thursday) safely ensconced with my colleagues at the Shalom Hartman Institute. But I spent the first part of the week with seven of my rabbinic colleagues from Brownstone Brooklyn, and five Jewish professionals as well. We came on a mission with UJA-Federation to explore issues of…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 →

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 →

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 →