Why We Created the Olympia Charter for Compassion

A few months ago, spurred on by a spate of hate crimes in our small town of Olympia, I along with a group of local clergy met to think about what we can do. While we all understand the pastoral and teaching role we play in our communities, serving our own traditions, we also take …

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Yom Kippur Day 5777: “Addressing Homelessness in Olympia: The Need for Values in our Civic Life”

Last November, not long after the high Holidays, I took a risk when I, without prior consultation with the Board, committed our congregation to join with two other downtown faith communities to host a warming center for the homeless during the cold and wet winter months. I don’t normally eschew process, I’m very process oriented. …

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Today, I Mourn…

In the wake of the shootings in Orlando, several groups in Olympia joined together to sponsor a vigil Sunday night. Earlier in the day I was invited to share some remarks at the evening's vigil, and I prepared some words not knowing what format the vigil would take. That evening in Sylvester Park the space was …

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Why I Created a Petition to Change the (Future) Dates of Olympia Arts Walk

Last week it felt like two simultaneous preparations were happening. People were prepping for Passover, getting boxes of matzo, choosing recipes, sending and accepting invitations to Seder. And people were prepping for Olympia Spring Arts Walk, hanging art in downtown businesses, tuning up instruments, putting last minute preparations into Procession of the Species costumes. And …

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Where Do You Charge Your Cell Phone?

Years ago, I remember learning of a movement to create voice mail boxes that could be accessed from pay phones, so that people who are experiencing homelessness will have an “address” that could help with communication, job searches, etc. The lesson of how technology can address this specific social issue made an impression on me. …

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Fear. Anger. Hate. Suffering.

To be honest, I was going to take a break this week. I wasn’t going to send out a weekly message this week—it is winter break from school, and with the kids home I need to alter my schedule. Plus it was Erez’s birthday yesterday, so I took time off so we can have a …

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A Swastika at TBH

This morning I discovered a swastika painted on a statue outside the Temple Beth Hatfiloh building. This is the letter I sent out to my congregation community. Friends, This morning I arrived at TBH to find a swastika painted on the statue that graces the entrance to our offices. Earlier this morning I read an …

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Yom Kippur Day 5776: “Jews and Race, in Olympia and Beyond”

My friends, we need to talk about race. Three months ago, two African American men were shot by a white police officer here in Olympia. The men were caught trying to shoplift beer at the westside Safeway and, after fleeing, were confronted by a member of the Olympia police. Some form of altercation happened, and the two …

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