Kol Nidre 5781: “Are We Failing the Great Human Experiment?”

https://youtu.be/uKIh6b0uJ24 In March of 1964, in Kew Gardens, Queens in New York City, a 28-year-old woman named Kitty Genovese was raped and murdered outside her apartment. She had returned in the early morning hours to her home after leaving the bar where she worked, and parked her car as she usually did in the Kew …

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Erev Rosh Hashanah 5781: “The Six Things I Learned About Life and Teshuvah from What I Did During Quarantine”

https://www.youtube.com/embed/1SqBmTMczi8 Taking advantage of our need to lean into technology during this time of COVID, I recorded my Rosh Hashanah sermon. I know we complain that 2020 can not be over soon enough, but look on the bright side, 5780 is over tonight. It has been a most difficult year. And while gathering like this, …

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What does your Book of Life look like?

I usually like to enter the new year slowly, having enough time to collect my thoughts and intentions. I would have been planning for weeks, though our community has developed its own sweet minhag and customs, and so that very often means planning is smooth. This year is, of course, different. We have had to …

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The High Holidays 5781: Different and the Same

I, like you, am struggling during these times. For me, my number one symptom in response to the pandemic and the disruption it has brought has been my time management. Since this pandemic began, time has become completely upended. School schedules changed, work schedules changed, family routines turned around. Our older son who had moved …

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From Impossibility to Inevitability

Last week, on the 17th of Tammuz, I was listening to a report on NPR about the (then) potential name change of the Washington DC professional football team. For its entire history, the team carried a nickname that was a derogatory term for Native Americans, and Monday the team announced they would retire that name …

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A Time for Anger

The other day I was driving from the westside to the eastside through downtown Olympia and I just couldn't believe we had gotten to this point. Everyone who was out, casually going about their day, was wearing a mask, keeping their distance from other people, and walking passed closed and boarded up businesses. It's not …

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Korach and the Limits of Individualism

Throughout the 40-year journey of the Israelites to the Promised Land, the Torah teaches, the former slaves learn what it is to become a nation. In the book of Numbers, which we are reading as part of our annual Torah reading cycle, the Israelites time and time again test Moses and God as they journey …

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Joshua and Caleb and Facebook and Twitter

This week we read the famous story of the spies, who were sent into Canaan to scout it out in anticipation of the Israelites moving in. Moses sent 12 spies/scouts--one from each tribe--into the land. They spent 40 days wandering about, taking notes, looking around, and then returned to the Israelites to report. They all …

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