The Genesis of Creativity

Last week we renewed our annual Torah reading cycle when at Simchat Torah we celebrated reaching the end of Deuteronomy and started again at Genesis. After the news of last week culminating in the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court Justice, it felt particularly good to have the ability to reset a story, …

Continue reading The Genesis of Creativity

Should Humans Have Been Created? (Yom Kippur Day 5779)

Rather than a full sermon, I decided to engage the congregation in text study on Yom Kippur Day, with some opening and closing remarks: We love this text from Isaiah, and believe he is speaking to us. His emphasis on ethics over ritual, right behavior rather than right performance, this is something we can understand. …

Continue reading Should Humans Have Been Created? (Yom Kippur Day 5779)

Open Roads and Open Doors (Kol Nidre 5779)

There is a name I want you to remember, a name that perhaps you have not heard before, a minor player in a larger drama, a person whose seemingly banal insignificance is what makes her so important. I want you to remember the name Helen Roseland, who was the assistant postmistress in Eagle Grove, Iowa …

Continue reading Open Roads and Open Doors (Kol Nidre 5779)

Seven Things You Can Do to Save the World (Rosh Hashanah 5779)

For those of you who have been here in the past for Rosh Hashanah, and for those of you who have paid attention—which arguably, could be a smaller number—I have stood on the bimah on erev Rosh Hashanah and shared a list. A list of teachings I have gleaned from various events that have happened …

Continue reading Seven Things You Can Do to Save the World (Rosh Hashanah 5779)

Spiritual Cleaning

Last year we started what hopefully will be a new tradition at Temple Beth Hatfiloh, a community cleaning of our sacred space right before the High Holidays. We have a regular cleaner who does surface cleaning a few times a week, and when something major needs cleaning or repair (the carpets or the roof), then …

Continue reading Spiritual Cleaning

Shofar and Sanctuary

My congregation Temple Beth Hatfiloh took the step of becoming a sanctuary congregation as a means of advocating for immigrant justice. Here are the words I shared at our ceremony on August 29, attended by about 100 community members, including the faith community, city leaders, state legislators and a representative from our member of Congress. …

Continue reading Shofar and Sanctuary