On Sunday, March 17th, I attended the Community Du'ah and Solidarity Gathering for South Bay Muslim community at the Islamic Center of the South Bay with other local clergy and members of the religious community.
A Blessing, a Hope as We Approach Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day [ 01/18/19 ]
This month, our country celebrates a man who led boldly and bravely with both his words and his actions. His memory is a blessing. His legacy is a blessing. Inspired by Dr. King, I offer these words...
Coming Together for You at Temple Menorah [ 12/13/18 ]
Despite the light and joy that filled our synagogue and many of our homes during the festival of Chanukah, there is no denying that these most recent weeks have brought new, complex challenges to the Jewish community. Both the loss of life at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and cherished space at our local Jewish summer camps are at the forefront of our collective mind, and the need for a community to call home is as strong as it has ever been.
Thankfully, our precious Temple Menorah community continues to exist as a beacon of light during these dark days. Though we have had our share of changes and challenges during 2018, we are excited that things with our synagogue are indeed coming together in ways such as: - improved Religious School curriculum - multi-generational Israel adventure
The Power of Jewish Camp: In Response to the Wildfires Devastating Our State [ 11/18/18 ]
As I write this, we are one week into the Hebrew month of Kislev, the month known for Chanukah, the festival of light. At the very moment that the calendar turned to light last week, large sections of our state became engulfed in flames of light. These days have been filled with anxiety, fear, devastation and heartbreak for many of us. Friends and family members were evacuated
Given the dizzying number of events affecting our community, I'd like to share some words of comfort from our Friday night's Shabbat service:
Shabbat for Veterans. Kristallnacht Anniversary. November 9, 2018. 2 Kislev 5779 I would like to begin tonight by sharing with you a sampling of requests that I have received from members of our community, just within the last 24 hours: - Rabbi, during services, can you please say a prayer for the people whose homes are in danger from these horrible fires?
In Response to the Terror in Pittsburgh [ 11/01/18 ]
The past week has been one of disorientation, sadness, anger, mourning and fear. In the aftermath of last Shabbat%u2019s massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, people have been scrambling to make sense out of the senseless hatred. Sadly, hatred in all forms is real. This was cruelly highlighted on Tuesday night when,
Shabbat Beha’alotecha. Do Not March On. [ 06/01/18 ]
"I was given only five minutes to say goodbye. My babies started crying when they found out we were going to be separated. In tears myself, I asked my boys to be brave, and I promised we would be together soon. I begged the woman who took my children to keep them together so they could at least have each other."
When the High Holy Days arrive in just a couple of weeks, the prayers, translations, meditations and poetry found in Mishkan HaNefesh, our new machzor (High Holy Day prayer book), will encourage us to consider the themes of the Holy Days personally, in the context of our day. It is, as the editors continue to say, a machzor for our generation. It is not too late to order your copy here! Gates of Repentance, the red-covered machzor that many of us have tucked away on our home library shelves, served this same purpose for our Reform movement for nearly two generations %u2013 since 1978, when it was published.
With an understanding that national and world events weigh heavily on the minds of many, what follows is an excerpt from my remarks to our congregation last Friday night during our fun and uplifting Barechu and BBQ with music from Queen and The Who:
In Response to the Events in Charlottesville [ 08/17/17 ]
August 14, 2017
23 Av 5777
As happens every Shabbat, last weekend, our sanctuary was filled with the same words of Torah that were being read in Jewish communities all over the world. Here are a few of those words:
When you have eaten your fill and built fine houses to live in, and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold have increased, and everything you own has prospered, beware lest your heart grow haughty and you forget the Eternal your God, who freed you from the land of Egypt, the house of bondage.
By now, many of you have seen the Op-Ed piece in Sunday's Los Angeles Times which claims "It's Too Expensive to be Jewish." Leslee Komaiko, who wrote the piece, is a mother who, like many in our community, is busy trying to make the puzzle pieces of her family's life fit together. She has decided that it is time for her 12-year-old son to begin studying for his Bar Mitzvah and is unable to find a tutor that is, to her, affordable (If you haven't yet seen the piece, you can read it here).
Judaism and the Jewish people have long had a complicated relationship with change. On one hand, we are known as Ivrim, which colloquially means 'Hebrews.' More technically, though, it means 'the ones who cross over.' Since Abraham, the first Ivri, we have been a people well acquainted with change. Our people have often crossed from one place to another, from one way of interpreting the tradition to another or from one way of integrating tradition with modernity to another. On the other hand, the rabbis of the midrash state clearly that 'kol hatchalot kashot… all beginnings are difficult.' While Judaism may provide us with language to describe our complicated relationship with change, having a hard time with it is hardly a phenomenon unique to the Jewish people.
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