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Rabbi's Week In Review - 4/19/2021

04/19/2021 01:30:14 PM

Apr19

The famous quote from Rabbi Hillel goes, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am for myself only, what am I? And if not now, when?” I have tended to focus more attention on the second tenet: “If I am for myself only ...” 

I firmly believe we should show up for others simply because it is the right thing to do.  Related to this idea, I have avoided the idea that we know the suffering of others because of...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 4/12/2021

04/12/2021 02:31:14 PM

Apr12

I was interviewed by Tablet magazine this week for an article they are researching on the increase in converts to Judaism. Two days later, I met with one of our wonderful conversion candidates. Among the many rewarding experiences that have come with being rabbi at Congregation Kol Ami is working with our conversion candidates.

Choosing to seek out a Jewish life is a decision that generally comes after much thought.  Those who...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 4/5/2021

04/05/2021 02:36:00 PM

Apr5

We now see Passover 5781 in our rearview mirror, yet we know that, after the celebration of our exodus from Egypt, we have many trials and tribulations ahead from there in our very long history. After centuries of slavery and/or persecution, we are grateful for being free to make choices about our own future, religious and otherwise. Yet we know that the scourge of anti-Semitism is real and an ongoing threat.

After more than a year of...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 3/29/2021

03/29/2021 03:24:45 PM

Mar29

Passover, maybe more than any other Jewish holiday, presents an opportunity for discussion and a plethora of interpretations. It is why, as a famous Talmudic tale relates, our great sages of the Talmud were enveloped in discussion throughout the night, until their students informed them it was time for the Shaharit (morning) service.

While we relate to a set group of four questions, the answers vary with time and circumstance. It is a...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 3/22/2021

03/22/2021 03:42:59 PM

Mar22

A Midrash on this week’s Torah portion explains that in Messianic times, when prayers will no longer be necessary, we will still be obligated to recite prayers of gratitude (Vayikra Rabbah 9:7). This was the quote I chose for my rabbinic ordination, as prayers of gratitude are my favorite prayers. (See Modim Anachnu Lach, in the Amidah.) You can never say thank you too many times.

As we approach our Passover celebration and a time...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 3/15/2021

03/15/2021 02:56:40 PM

Mar15

Whatever the timeline is to get past the pandemic — a year and counting of living a not-normal life — there are definitely hopeful signs that the time is within reach. Among those signs is a change in demeanor and some sense of optimism amid the tragedy of lost life, lost livelihood and lost contact.

There have been changes that we may keep going forward. For Kol Ami, we will be exploring what tools have been presented to us that...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 3/8/2021

03/08/2021 03:50:17 PM

Mar8

The American Jazz Museum presented a wonderful concert this past week — jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller, who not only is a wonderful technical player but also gives a concert infused with deep emotional feel and meaningful content. It was an important message for both the just completed Black History Month and the present Women’s History Month. (Full disclosure: My daughter-in-law is the director of external affairs and communication for...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 3/1/2021

03/01/2021 03:32:11 PM

Mar1

Our Purim celebration this past week presented an opportunity to ponder how we effect positive change, how we change our world for the better. One opportunity came through an article — “The Book of Esther - A Fresh Look at Trauma and Accommodation,” by Cat Zavis — discussing the two heroines of the story, Vashti and Esther. They can be seen as being the opposite sides of the same coin.

Our Purim story begins with...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 2/22/2021

02/22/2021 02:54:30 PM

Feb22

During this past week, the 50th anniversary of my bar mitzvah occurred (you are welcome to do the math on your own). While I always reflect on my bar mitzvah each year when my Torah portion arrives on the Jewish calendar, I had not really thought about it in terms of 50 years. It was actually a friend from childhood, who celebrated his bar mitzvah one week prior to my own, who reminded me that our bar mitzvah celebrations had turned...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 2/15/2021

02/15/2021 02:05:32 PM

Feb15

On a frigid, arctic winter day, some disparate thoughts that may somehow connect into a coherent whole. 

First, as I watched the proceedings in the U.S. Senate surrounding the impeachment of our former president, I felt the gut punch of how the events of January 6 unfolded. I had earlier in the week been a part of a group that met with Sen. Roy Blunt’s legislative assistant to seek his vote in favor of conviction. I told him...Read more...

Tue, April 20 2021 8 Iyyar 5781