Concerns and Hopes

Last week I attended a forum at St. Michael's parish about a new proposed homeless shelter in Olympia. The shelter would be a low barrier shelter, recognizing some of the conditions that are obstacles at existing shelters and creating a place for people to go when they normally wouldn't have another option. The current proposed location is …

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The Amalek in Us

In this week’s Torah portion, Ki Teitzei, we are given a long list of commandments, many dealing with issues of economic justice and ethical behavior. The portion ends with the vehement exhortation about Amalek: "Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left Egypt--how, undeterred by fear of God, he surprised you on …

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Parking Outside the Lines

File this one under: Really?! Yesterday when stopping for coffee on the way to the synagogue after dropping Erez at camp I encountered the following car parked on Capitol Way. If you know me, or at least remember my Rosh Hashanah sermon last year, this type of parking job really gets under my skin. In …

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15+ Questions for the Board of the Olympia Food Co-op

Just a bit more on the Co-op boycott, three years out. Based on my last posting and some recent conversations, certain questions have crystallized in my mind. I think the Board answering some of these questions in an open way would be a good step in helping to address some of the difficulties which have …

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The Value of Values

Thirty years ago the movie Trading Places came out, and 30 years later I finally understand it. One of the best birthday presents I could have gotten is a report from NPR, which explains the ending I never understood. The movie concerns the wealthy Duke brothers who bet each other that they can take a …

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Destruction and Rebuilding this Tisha B’Av

On Tisha B'Av we mark the destruction of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. It was such a calamity for the Jewish people, as the Temple was central institution of the community at the time. Since then, we have mourned its loss with fasting and the recitation of the book of Lamentations, as well as adopting …

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The Destructive Power of Speech

This time of year my thoughts turn back to a favorite story from the Talmud, the story of Bar Kamza. In the Jewish calendar we are approaching Tisha B'Av (the Ninth of Av), the date traditionally associated with the destruction of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, first by the Babylonians in 586 BCE and again …

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On Not Taking Your Base

Ah, summertime in Olympia. Despite the excessive (?) heat this week, I believe most of us can agree that summertime is truly special around here. Moods brighten, plants are in bloom, raincoats and fleeces are hung up and there is much to see and do. One of my favorite summertime activities over the past few …

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