Build Me a Lot, That I May Park Among You

We begin the book of Leviticus this week, which, at least until we get to the Holiness Code in the middle of the book ("Love your neighbor as yourself") can be a bit challenging to read. We are introduced to the system of sacrifices which formed the ancient system of worship, a system that has …

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A Year Lost…And Found

It was one year ago Thursday that we sent the message to the congregation that all in-person services, events, and classes at Temple Beth Hatfiloh would be cancelled. Out of an abundance of caution, we had already cancelled Blintzapalooza, though we still held Purim. At that time the first announcement said the cancellation would be …

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Disruption is the Norm

Celebrating this Purim was bittersweet. Not the fact that we were on zoom this year, we have been doing this for quite some time and are finding ways to be creative and have fun in virtual spaces. No, its because of the memory that Purim was the last thing we did in person last year …

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Human Composting: What is a Jewish View of Natural Organic Reduction?

Earlier this year I was honored to be a part of the Big Bold Jewish Climate fest, speaking about Jewish views of human composting, along with another rabbi, Adina Lewittes. Our presentation was also part of a live podcast recording through Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations, a project of Reconstructing Judaism. Now that Washington State as …

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I am Guilty of Violating the 10th Commandment

Having just read the 10 Commandments in last week's Torah portion, as we continue to read of the revelation at Sinai and the handing down of the mitzvot to Moses in this week's reading as well, I've come to the realization that I am in direct violation of the 10th Commandment. As a reminder: "You …

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Should Humans Have Been Created?: A Challenging Text for a Challenging Time

There is a text from the Talmud, Tractate Eiruvin 13b, that I have been wrestling with of late. The text tells of a debate between those two major rabbinic schools, Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai, over the question: would it have been better had humans not been created than been created. To think through this …

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Commonplace and Miraculous

This past Wednesday was a momentous day on many levels. Probably the greatest feeling was that the chaos, hatred, and fear that had been sown for the past four years being lifted. The sunlight that shone down on Washington was both real and symbolic. One of the framings of Inauguration Day that I found meaningful …

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Hatred and Healing: On Today’s Events at the United States Capitol

I'm glued to the news today, watching as the Trump presidency ends as it began: with lies and hate. Spurred on by the false narrative of a stolen election, supporters of the President have violently stormed the Capitol in Washington, DC. A day that was supposed to be one of formality and banality in the …

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Life is Arbitrary. Insight is Not.

Eight years ago I missed celebrating the turn of the new year at midnight. And not for the regular reason these days as I find myself at midlife not willing or able to stay up late as I had in the past, content to celebrate a "New York New Years" at 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time. …

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