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Rabbi's Week In Review - 6/14/2021

06/14/2021 02:22:58 PM


It is wonderful to be together with people we have not seen for so long, and that includes the occasional hug. At the same time, there is still a struggle to know the right way to act in relation to the pandemic. When do we wear a mask? Is it really OK to be back together in person? Should we only be together when we can be outside?

I do believe in the efficacy of the vaccines — that they are working not only to keep those of us who...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 6/7/2021

06/07/2021 02:46:52 PM


As I write this, I am watching the annual Kennedy Center Honors. In any year, I am more a fan of some honorees than others, yet I look forward to the show every year. I find it uplifting and life-affirming. I went to college a stone’s throw from the Kennedy Center, and the show always conjures up fond memories — of concerts with the National Symphony, and one of the great jazz concerts in my lifetime, the Milestone Jazzstars...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 5/31/2021

05/31/2021 04:27:20 PM


If I had to land on an overarching theme and/or feeling for the past week, it would be tension.  In an elongated period of persistent tension in the world and in our individual lives, last week seemed to stand out. Generally, I see some tension as a good thing — machloket l’shem shamayim, argument for the sake of heaven — but only if it is a catalyst for changing a negative dynamic. Last week was not about change; rather,...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 5/24/2021

05/24/2021 04:14:47 PM


Last week seemed all about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (I could still say more.) Notwithstanding a ceasefire that seems to be holding, troubling unrest and violence remain in Israeli cities between Jews (right-wing Jewish extremists) and Israeli Arabs. The issues that were present before the latest round of rockets, bombs and violence have not gone away. 

Sometimes, though, we need to catch a break, in order to engage in...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 5/17/2021

05/17/2021 02:57:58 PM


This has been a troubling week in the Middle East. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has again turned violent. There is nothing new about this (the last violent conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, particularly Hamas, occurred in 2014). What is new: the riots and violence that have arisen in Israeli cities between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs, and Palestinians particularly, where Jews and Arabs have lived together in relative harmony....Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 5/10/2021

05/10/2021 04:07:30 PM


This coming Sunday evening and Monday (and also Tuesday for more ritually observant Jews who live outside Israel), we will celebrate Shavuot. Shavuot, along with Pesach and Sukkot, is one of the Shalosh Regalim — the three pilgrimage festivals mentioned in the Torah. These festivals, which all have an agrarian foundation, have morphed into something different as Jews have become less agrarian-oriented over a period of...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 5/3/2021

05/03/2021 03:03:50 PM


This coming Shabbat, we will celebrate as a community the bat mitzvah of Scarlett Nevins.  The Nevins have been a part of our Kol Ami family longer than I have. This is a community celebration as well as a time to celebrate Scarlett having reached this time in life. 

By becoming a bat mitzvah and taking on more responsibility as she becomes an adult in Klal Yisrael, in our Jewish community, she connects all of us more...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 4/26/2021

04/26/2021 02:54:09 PM


The jury made the correct decision in the trial of Derek Chauvin. Anyone who watched the horror play out on video — the nine minutes and 29 seconds of slow, cold-blooded murder — could not have thought otherwise.

But I and others are left with mixed emotions, if not a sense of confusion, as to the appropriate response to the verdict. I am relieved that justice was served in this one case. I also think that for those who took a...Read more...

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

04/19/2021 01:30:14 PM


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


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...

Sat, June 19 2021 9 Tammuz 5781