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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Pursuing Justice in Word and Action, Together

This week’s Torah portion contains the powerful and clear call to justice and righteousness: “Justice, justice you shall pursue!” (Deuteronomy 16:20) We read these words after Moses implores the Israelites that once they get settled in their new home, they are to appoint judges and institute a system of justice. Law and legalism shall govern …

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Tu B’Av, A Day to Reorganize Society

If you are wondering if today is a Jewish holiday...why, yes, yes it is. Today is a minor, minor day on the Jewish calendar: Tu B'Av, "the fifteenth of the month of Av." I use the word "minor" twice because there are practically no observances associated with it. It is a day to note, and …

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Mourning Our Downfalls, Brought About Through Word and Deed

The observance of Tisha B'Av has always seemed so spiritually remote. Tucked into the middle of summer, it is a day in which we are meant to turn our attention to mourning the destruction of the ancient Temples in Jerusalem. For one, it is hard to take on a air of communal mourning when the …

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A Reminder to Heed the Warning Signs

Today on the Jewish calendar we enter into a period known as the Three Weeks, a period of mourning and sadness that culminates in the observance of Tisha B'Av, the Ninth of the Month of Av, the date that marks of the destruction of the ancient Temples in Jerusalem. Jewish tradition holds that both of …

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The Truth of #whatrabbisdo

This was originally published as my President's Column in the Late Spring 2019 edition of the RRA Connection, the newsletter of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association: I spent a lot of time on social media these days, both for work and personally. It has become a fact of our contemporary means of communication, a necessity for my …

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“32, 180, 230, 3, 0, 2”: A D’var Torah from the TBH Annual Meeting

These are the opening words I shared at our Annual Congregational Meeting on Sunday, June 2, 1019: This week we begin a new book of the Torah in our reading cycle, the book of Numbers. In Hebrew, the name of the book is Bamidbar, and it describes where the Israelites are at the moment of …

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The Rabbi, The King, and Humility

For the past few years, my practice of counting the Omer has been connected to Tarot. The counting of the Omer is the biblical practice of counting each day between Passover and Shavuot, the festival of freedom and the festival of covenant. Originally an agricultural practice, the counting of the Omer links the themes of …

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Reproductive Choice is Religious Liberty

Judaism is pro-life: the notion of pikuach nefesh--of saving a life--is paramount, overriding other ritual obligations. For example, if you can't fast on Yom Kippur for health reasons, then not only should you not fast, but it is a "sin" to fast. And because of this commitment to life, when it comes to the abortion …

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