Hatred and Hope, Then and Now

For those paying attention, I haven’t written anything in the past two weeks. Two weeks ago, my Friday (the day I usually write my message) got tied up with an email threat to the congregation, which turned out to have been a boilerplate message that was also sent to other congregations across the country. I …

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Is Michael Cohen Today’s Esther?

In the coming week we will welcome in the month of Adar II, and with it the holiday of Purim. Purim is a frivolous holiday that hides a dark message. We dress up in costume, have fun, give gifts, tell jokes, eat and drink, and make a lot of noise at the same time we …

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“You Have Attained Your Position for a Time Such as This”: An Invocation

The invocation I delivered at the Washington State House of Representatives on March 6, 2018. You can watch the video clip here: Last week Jews around the world celebrated Purim, a festival that commemorates the story told in the biblical book of Esther. In this story, Esther, a Jewish woman, becomes the Queen of Persia, …

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Purim: The First International Women’s Day

This post was originally posted on Wednesday as part of my monthly contribution to the Rabbis Without Borders blog. You can click here to read it in its original setting .Today is International Women’s Day, and we have a confluence, as we sometimes do, between secular observances and our Jewish calendar. For just three days …

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Trump and Haman and Ahasuerus..and Mordechai

Today was Purim, the annual celebration of the events of the biblical book of Esther. The story goes like this:  the Persian King Ahasuerus dismisses his queen Vashti for not appearing at his summons. He invites all the women of the kingdom to appear to see who would become the new queen, and a Jewish …

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Kol Nidre 5776: “What is Your Purpose? The Time is Now.”

If not now, tell me when If not now, tell me when, We may never see this moment Or place in time again If not now, if not now, tell me when. I don’t know if I am much into signs. I understand the concept of synchronicity—how the proximity of certain events in time can …

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Some Purim (Madlib) Torah, and a pie video

A highlight each year at our Temple Beth Hatfiloh Purim celebration is the Mad-lib sermon, a "d'var Torah" I share created with the help of those assembled. I learned of the idea from by friend Rabbi Moti Rieber, and it is a lot of fun. Here is this year's product, and perhaps there is some …

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Purim’s Four Rules of Life

Purim begins tomorrow night, and his the holiday that celebrates the events of the biblical book of Esther. The Persian Jewish community lives under King Ahasuerus, and eventually comes under threat from the king's adviser Haman who issues a decree to kill the Jews. Esther, who at this time has become the Queen, risks her …

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