Pass the Venison

As we move into this Shabbat perhaps still digesting our Thanksgiving meal, our thoughts once again turn to food as we look at this week’s Torah portion, Toldot. Jacob and Esau are the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah, and their relationship is marked by rivalry. Esau is the hunter and his father’s favorite (and …

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Sanctuary is Solidarity

We have almost reached three months into our Sanctuary action at Temple Beth Hatfiloh, three months since we welcomed in a woman and child who are at risk of deportation as they work out their asylum claim, hoping to stay in the United States. It has been a tremendously intense and moving few months. Serving …

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Should We Stop Saying “Have a Nice Day?”

This last week, we were in Boise to attend the funeral of my mother-in-law. It was a powerful gathering of family and friends, and it was comforting to be with loved ones. Tears were shed, memories shared, and laughter abounded. We spent a couple of days in Boise, observing shiva as well as clearing out …

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Counting the Stars: Remembering Alice Kinberg z”l

This past Monday night we heard the tragic news that my mother-in-law, Alice Kinberg, was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street and had succumbed to her injuries. She was 72. She had been living in Boise near her son, my brother-in-law, and his family for the past few years. Prior to that she …

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Who Is In Your Boat? (Yom Kippur Day 5780)

Last year I tried an experiment, I heard some good feedback, and I liked the way it turned out, so I’m going to do it again. And that was, rather than me share of my own thoughts on this Yom Kippur Day, we will share thoughts with each other, studying together and reflecting on a …

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Take Risks. Think Strategically. Ask for Help. Do It Anyway. (Kol Nidre 5780)

“One who destroys a single life, it is as if one has destroyed an entire world. One who saves a single life, it is as if they have saved an entire world.” This is a teaching from the Talmud, a powerful, important teaching—one that invokes the preciousness of human life, and the care we must …

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On Sukkot and Indigenous Peoples’ Day

This year Sukkot falls on Indigenous Peoples' Day. Each year the movement to recognize this day grows, as local governments are changing the observance of Columbus Day to tell a different narrative, one that honors the original keepers of this land and remembers the history of displacement and genocide that has marked the history of …

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The Seven Things I Learned about Life, and Teshuvah, from Launching My Adult Child. (Erev Rosh Hashanah 5780)

As we gather on this evening of Erev Rosh Hashanah, as is my wont and practice, I wish to ease us in to this sacred time of reflection and renewal as I usually do, with sharing a list. I have used this time—on the evening of our first High Holiday service, to share something that …

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My 9/11 Child, Now My 9/11 Adult

Since 9/11 was one of those events that everyone remembers where they were when they heard about it, here is mine: I was sitting in a classroom in the Conservative Yeshiva in Israel about to begin a class I was checking out (but didn't end up taking). The yeshiva catered to students from abroad, so …

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