Welcoming remarks from forum on The People’s House

Last night TBH hosted a community forum about The People's House, the new proposed homeless shelter for downtown Olympia. Here are my short welcoming remarks: My name is Rabbi Seth Goldstein, and I would like to welcome you to Temple Beth Hatfiloh—welcome back to those who have been here in the past, and welcome to …

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Is the Story of the Golden Calf a Love Story? A d’var Torah for Ki Tissa (and Valentine’s Day)

Today is Valentine’s Day, the day set aside to focus on romantic love. I know this holiday isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It might seem too commercial, a “Hallmark holiday” as it is sometimes called. And it is a day that is especially hard for those who are not in a relationship at the moment, …

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Testimony on Gun Legislation

I had the opportunity to offer testimony in front of the Washington State Senate committee considering background checks on gun purchases. Here is what I said in my allotted 1 minute: Senator Padden and members of the committee, my name is Rabbi Seth Goldstein and I serve the Jewish community of Olympia. I come here …

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Sharing a Playbook? Rabbis and the Seahawks

Well, we know how things turned out last Sunday, don’t we. In a spectacular display of prowess, the Seattle Seahawks dominated the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl, winning the championship by a score of 43 to 8. Just like for the NFC championship, I was out of Washington at a conference during the game. …

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The 12th Man and the 10th Man

Last Sunday I headed down to LA to take part in a spiritual retreat, a wonderfully intense week full of song and silence, meditation and prayer, movement and stillness. It was an experience on which I am still reflecting. But before the retreat began, there was a moment of despair when I realized that I …

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Why I Have a Poster of Dr. Martin Luther King in My Office

Once in a while I will invite someone into my study, either for an appointment or a meeting, and they will look around in wonder when they step in there for the first time, as if it is some secret inner sanctum. The rabbi’s office is not a place one is wont to go when …

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Lewis and Clark and Akiva

Having grown up on the east coast, I had a steady diet of the Atlantic Ocean. And while I was never a big fan of the beach—sitting out in the sand for long periods of time was not my thing—I do love the ocean water. The Atlantic, whether on the Jersey Shore, or off the …

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Feeling With, Mourning With, Living With

I've spent the better part of this week mourning someone I did not know. Through the power of the internet and social media I was recently introduced to "Superman" Sam Sommer, an 8-year-old boy who had suffered from leukemia and died last week. His parents are both rabbis in the Chicago area, and while I …

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Hear the News

This Shabbat as part of our Torah reading cycle we read the end of Genesis, which concludes the story of Joseph and his brothers. Joseph has reconciled with his brothers and reunited with his father, and now everyone is settled in the land of Egypt, having moved down from Canaan in search of opportunity, and …

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