Looking Up and Down to Look Forward

Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin rocket went up into space again this week with four passengers, including (Jewish!) actor William Shatner, best known for playing Captain Kirk on the original Star Trek. Putting aside any opinions on private space travel and the priorities of billionaires for the moment, it is worth noting how Shatner was clearly …

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No God, No People. Know God, Know People.

This Shabbat we begin our annual Torah reading cycle anew, turning back to the beginning of the text with the opening verses of Genesis. We recreate this cycle every year, finishing the story of the Torah at the end of Deuteronomy and reading it again--in its entirety, in order--a new section each week. One of …

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We Don’t Need “Here I Am.” We Need, “I’m Here.” (Kol Nidre 5782)

https://youtu.be/AoMTnhxRP8s Because the Torah is not just concerned with ritual and spiritual practice, we also have rules about civic and communal life, our sacred text offers us rules of war. One you may have heard of is the prohibition against cutting down fruit trees when besieging a city—a prohibition in Deuteronomy that both lays a …

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The Seven Practices of the Shmita Year, and Why they are So Desperately Needed Right Now (Rosh Hashana 5782)

https://youtu.be/5d4EjqBVQcQ My sermon delivered on Erev Rosh Hashana at Temple Beth Hatfiloh in Olympia, WA on September 6, 2021 Here we are, once again. We are welcoming the new year, again impacted by the COVID pandemic. I stand here in an empty sanctuary, you sit there in front of your screens. While knowing this is …

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What Simone and Moses Teach Us This Week

I find Deuteronomy to be such a fascinating book from a literary perspective since it is mostly told in the voice of one character: Moses. Moses has led the Israelites to the western edge of the Jordan River, and in preparation for their entry into the Promised Land he sets out to remind them of …

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I Don’t Want to Observe Tisha B’Av This Year

As we turn the calendar this weekend to the month of Av, the observance of Tisha B'Av (the "ninth of Av") is upon us. This is a day of mourning, in which it is customary to fast, read the biblical Book of Lamentations, and reflect on the calamities that have befallen the Jewish people. The …

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For Yourself and All of Us, Please Get Vaccinated

A strange story in this week's Torah portion, only six verses long: They set out from Mount Hor by way of the Sea of Reeds to skirt the land of Edom. But the people grew restive on the journey, and the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why did you make us leave Egypt …

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A Prayer for this Moment

https://www.tiktok.com/@rabbi_360/video/6964880869681073413?is_copy_url=0&is_from_webapp=v1&sender_device=pc&sender_web_id=6959586378247194117 This Shabbat I pray. I pray for the cease fire to hold. Forever. I pray for the mourners and the caregivers. I pray for the dead and the living. I pray for the children. I pray for the end of fear and hatred. I pray for the healing of generational trauma. I pray for …

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Covenant at a Time of Pain

This Sunday night we recommit ourselves to the Jewish covenant. This Sunday night is Shavuot, the festival of Torah. We celebrate the story of Revelation in the Book of Exodus, when Moses went to the top of Mount Sinai to receive the Torah from God, and a group of former Israelite slaves from Egypt coalesced …

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