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Rabbi's Week In Review- 09/14/2020

09/14/2020 07:15:49 PM

Sep14

As we approach Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we engage in the difficult work of Cheshbon HaNefesh, an accounting of our souls, by which we engage in self-reflection and ponder how we can do better and act better in the coming year 5781. While in challenging times like these this work can seem even more difficult, I take heart in the possibility of the new and our potential to be better.

Kol Ami has recently recommitted itself to...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review- 09/08/2020

09/09/2020 07:03:40 AM

Sep9

This past week, I faced a tragic loss. A dear friend of 42 years, David Matsil, died of pancreatic cancer a mere 10 days after diagnosis. This was a friend from college who ended up marrying my brother-in-law’s sister. He was actually one of my two closest friends from my undergraduate days. Sadly and ironically, I lost the other friend, Steve Levy, to pancreatic cancer as well, although he survived five years after...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review- 09/01/2020

09/01/2020 08:37:16 AM

Sep1

As I write this week, I am in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, gracious friends having given Fay and me use of their mountain house for a few days. My original intent was not to write much of anything and chalk it up to a week on vacation. While I will write something, my words will remain on the short side.

The truth is that the recent strife of a pandemic, the violence of white supremacists and attendant issues...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review- 8/26/2020

08/26/2020 07:07:19 PM

Aug26

This past Shabbos, we explored how our individual character traits impact the work we do in helping others, the strangers in our midst. The catalyst for this particular Kol Ami Shabbat study session encompassed three elements: (1) This past week began the Jewish month of Elul, a time in which we begin to contemplate who we are and how we act, all in anticipation of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur; (2) last week’s Torah portion,...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review- 08/18/2020

08/17/2020 04:03:38 PM

Aug17

The Kansas City Jewish community faced a horrific tragedy last week with the death of Stacey Bell, of blessed memory. Her tireless effort to try to find the needed help for her adopted daughter's mental illness and her constant love for that daughter were not enough.

For me, this tragedy provided a stark reminder of our ongoing struggle to adequately address mental illness in our country. I have devoted a past Erev...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review- August 11, 2020

08/11/2020 10:44:24 AM

Aug11

This past week, those of us who are regulars for weekday-morning prayer and study held a celebration. We, along with a significant portion of the Jewish world, completed study of the second tractate of the Babylonian Talmud — Tractate Shabbat. We have been engaged in what is known as Daf Yomi, a page [of Talmud] per day. Through Daf Yomi, in about seven years and a little over five months we will have studied from each page of...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review- August 4, 2020

08/03/2020 06:24:41 PM

Aug3

Last Wednesday night and Thursday, we observed the most solemn day of the Jewish calendar — Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the month of Av. We remember the destruction of the first and second Temples, and other Churban — other times of persecution befalling our people.  

Most prominent among the themes and messages of Tisha B’Av is exile. Living in exile is to live away from home, or without a home....Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review- July 28, 2020

07/28/2020 05:40:55 PM

Jul28

Among the Jewish values of which I am particularly proud is the idea of Machloket L’Sheim Shamayim — argument for the sake of heaven (found in our MIshnah in Pirkei Avot 5:17).  The idea that we need disagreement in order to learn leads us to not just tolerate dissent but welcome dissent.  

In order to understand what is expected of us as Jews and to act in accordance with G-d’s will, we study...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review- July 21, 2020

07/21/2020 06:35:50 PM

Jul21

 

I am not sure if I am facing writer’s block or pandemic malaise, but the words do not seem to be pouring out this week. It is not as if there haven’t been plenty of ups and downs to latch on to in coming up with blog material.

The downside is all over the news and in what we witness for ourselves. The rate of COVID-19 infection and death continues to climb, unabated by any discernible...Read more...

Rabbi's Week in Review- July 14, 2020

07/13/2020 12:00:04 PM

Jul13

While my blog has generally focused on what we can and should do to support other people and other communities — and/or what we can and should do for our own community — I want us to catch our breath and not forget about our individual selves. At the risk of stating the obvious, the COVID-19 pandemic is wearing people out.

Another way to put it is, if you are feeling beleaguered, you are not alone. This is as...Read more...

Mon, September 21 2020 3 Tishrei 5781