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Rabbi's Week in Review - 3/20/2023

03/20/2023 03:26:17 PM


Beginning the Book of Vayikra/Leviticus in our Written Torah, we are confronted with what is seemingly the least relevant discussion relative to our contemporary sensibility.  Although there are those within the Jewish world who look forward to the restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem and the return of the sacrificial cult, no one I know is lining up to bring back, much less perform, animal sacrifice. 

Questions do arise,...

Rabbi's Week in Review - 3/15/2023

03/15/2023 12:15:30 PM


I did a ride-along with Officer Dwon Littlejohn of the KCPD last week. Officer Littlejohn is known by our Kol Ami community as the one who either provides us security when we gather together or arranges for other KCPD to provide us security. We appreciate Officer Littlejohn not only for what he does for us with a great generosity of spirit but also for all he does for our Kansas City community. 

An overarching observation from...

Rabbi's Week in Review - 3/7/2023

03/07/2023 02:01:46 PM


Wrapping up another Purim celebration this week, a holiday I always approach with some sense of trepidation. I don’t enjoy putting on costumes (although our cats are always in costume, whether they want to or not). The raucous nature of the holiday has been somewhat jarring for me, and I can’t seem to get past the violence of chapter 9 in the Book of Esther.

I did find a new purpose this year in the holiday, however. We speak...Read more...

Rabbi's Week in Review - 2/27/2023

02/27/2023 03:41:00 PM


With this week’s Torah portion focusing on the priestly garments and with the costumes worn on Purim, we are squarely focused on the clothes we wear. The purpose of the two could not be more diametrically opposed.

The priestly garments — the clothes worn by the Kohanim — are worn with a sense of lifting up the Kohanim in their role as spiritual leaders. Whether you see this detailed emphasis on their clothes, replete with...Read more...

Rabbi's Week in Review - 2/21/2023

02/21/2023 10:35:59 AM


I am thinking, this week, about growing old, and I am thinking about death. I hasten to add that I am not putting the two together — I am not thinking about growing old as a step closer to the inevitability of death. Rather, I am struck by how some people carry themselves with dignity through both experiences.

Among the events that moved me in this direction was a shiva service I led Sunday night. I saw many familiar faces I had not...Read more...

Rabbi's Week in Review - 2/13/2023

02/13/2023 05:46:02 PM


Given how I choose to spend my volunteer time, it would be disingenuous for me to suggest that how I interpret our Jewish values and how I choose to live those values are somehow apolitical. Yet I am drawing on two examples of issues that have become politicized but really do not have to be so.

Last week we came together to celebrate Tu B’Shevat, the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat, most often referred to as the birthday...Read more...

Rabbi's Week in Review - 2/7/2023

02/07/2023 11:18:01 AM


A short blog this week with a simple message — really a message and a reminder, as much for me as for anyone else. Among the mitzvot we read about this week in our Torah’s recitation of the Ten Commandments is our instruction to remember and keep Shabbat.

My message is not so much an admonition to be strict in observing the halakhically prohibited acts on Shabbat. More than that, it’s the simple idea of honoring this gift from...Read more...

Rabbi's Week in Review - 1/30/2023

01/30/2023 03:43:47 PM


We know all too well that our story — the story of our exodus and being freed from bondage — is only the beginning of our story. We have been fighting ever since for our freedom — the freedom to be who we are as Jews, without fear or threat of harm or persecution. Yet, being redeemed from slavery serves as a foundation of hope. For whatever dire straits we are in, we always hold out hope.

We are not alone in the importance we...

Rabbi's Week in Review - 1/23/2023

01/23/2023 04:07:10 PM


A lawsuit was filed this past week against the State of Missouri by 13 Missouri clergy/faith leaders. The lawsuit seeks to declare that Missouri’s abortion ban is an unconstitutional establishment of a single religious point of view.  

I am one of those 13 faith leaders, five of whom are rabbis (40 percent of the group). Included in that group are Maharat Rori Picker Neiss and Rabbis Susan Talve, James Bennett and Andrea...Read more...

Rabbi's Week in Review - 1/16/2023

01/16/2023 04:19:41 PM


This past Friday evening, we celebrated our third Shabbat Shulchan — a very informal Erev Shabbat service followed by a Seudah, a shared festive Shabbat meal at our “Shabbat Table.” All three of our Shabbat Shulchan celebrations (held on the second Friday evening of the month) have welcomed new people into the Kol Ami community.

I am always proud and grateful for how our Kol Ami family is so welcoming to every new person who...Read more...

Tue, March 21 2023 28 Adar 5783