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Rabbi's Week In Review - 1/18/2021

01/18/2021 03:44:33 PM

Jan18

I am using my weekly blog to announce an exciting opportunity that, at first blush, would seem to be a “me” opportunity but, in reality, is very much an “us” opportunity. 

After being nominated by my seminary, the Academy for Jewish Religion (NY), through Dr. Ora Horn Prouser, CEO and academic dean, and after approval of my subsequent application, I have been admitted as a Fellow to the national Clergy Leadership...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 01/11/2021

01/11/2021 02:33:19 PM

Jan11

I usually try and stay understated about the flurry of events that transpire in any given week. My sense has been to give things time, to gain better perspective, to learn what is important and meaningful to us in the long run.

This past week, however, has been like no other, and I am compelled to respond sooner rather than later. The events not only hold meaning for us as Jews but demand vigilance and action.

I want...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 01/04/2021

01/04/2021 03:33:40 PM

Jan4

As a small, tightknit congregation, we have the opportunity for greater connection. Even amidst a pandemic, we have found ways to be together, if only virtually. Commensurate with this greater connection, we also feel loss more acutely.

This past week, we shared loss with the death of our beloved Gary Kretchmer. Gary exemplified what it means to be connected in community. His consistent participation in our weekday-morning service and...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 12/28/2020

12/28/2020 04:14:19 PM

Dec28

Last Sunday at our December Family Experience, our co-leaders, Erica Clinton and Cheryl Gates, presented a program in which we learned the importance of action. We learn our Torah values in order to act, and to act for the good.

As a project, our kids and their families wanted to show their concern for our Kol Ami family, for our congregants who are struggling amidst the pandemic. We are all feeling a sense of isolation and...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 12/21/2020

12/21/2020 01:48:18 PM

Dec21

As we wrapped up our celebration of Hanukkah for 5781, I made the casual observation that there seemed to be a greater awareness of and focus on the holiday than at any time I can remember. This was true not only within our Congregation Kol Ami community and our Jewish community but also from outside our Jewish community.

In a couple of different, regular meetings that I have with Christian clergy, Hanukkah seemed predominant in the...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 12/14/2020

12/14/2020 11:49:02 AM

Dec14

Amid the challenges and darkness of a pandemic, and the ongoing threats to our democracy, we got a bit of welcome light this past week in our Congregation Kol Ami family. We held our annual Shabbat Chanukah service on Friday night, a tradition at Kol Ami since my first year serving the congregation in 2011. Both our family program and our service facilitated connection for our community — a much-needed time when we can’t see one another...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 12/07/2020

12/07/2020 03:07:07 PM

Dec7

As Jews, we connect in two ways, and we can characterize these forms of connectedness as horizontal and vertical.  

Our horizontal connection is the community we create at Congregation Kol Ami. It is set in the here and now — caring about and supporting the lives of others in our synagogue community and working to stay in contact, even during a pandemic. It is that sort of connection that served as the catalyst for our...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 11/30/2020

11/30/2020 04:38:15 PM

Nov30

I got some much needed time away this week to celebrate Thanksgiving with some close family (read: family within our already existing safe bubble) down in northwest Arkansas.  Amongst our few activities venturing out was a visit to the contemporary museum of art in Bentonville, The Momentary.

We were witness to an incredible exhibit of art by Nick Cave, an artist who came out of the Kansas City Art Institute. The...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 11/23/2020

11/23/2020 03:07:08 PM

Nov23

This past week in our Shabbat-morning study, we embarked on a discussion about the role of angels in Judaism. As a text for our study, we are using A Gathering of Angels: Angels in Jewish Life and Literature, by Rabbi Morris B. Margolies, my rabbi when I was growing up here in Kansas City. Our engaging discussion moved us toward an initial notion of the angels within each of us.

What reservoir of angels can we call on to...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 11/16/2020

11/16/2020 02:43:03 PM

Nov16

My seminary, the Academy for Jewish Religion (AJR — the one in NYC, not LA), held its annual fall retreat last week. It is a time each year when classes are suspended for the week, and everyone at the seminary comes together to focus on one topic. Alumni are welcome and encouraged to participate, and do participate in significant numbers. This is a real tribute to how AJR graduates/alumni value the time we spent as students at the...Read more...

Tue, January 19 2021 6 Shevat 5781