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Rabbi's Week In Review - 11/15/2021

11/15/2021 04:38:12 PM


In future times (Messianic times) when all other prayers are unnecessary, prayers of gratitude will still be recited. Vayikra Rabbah 9:7

I am still overwhelmed and so grateful for Kol Ami’s celebration honoring my 10-year anniversary as rabbi. You have welcomed me into your lives, and you have committed yourselves to a very different idea of how we create Jewish community. We have been that shul which seeks out the...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 11/8/2021

11/08/2021 04:12:16 PM


I am thinking about this coming Saturday’s 10th-anniversary celebration. I related to our wonderful president, Wynne Begun, that I am approaching this day feeling a bit sheepish and, at the same time, looking forward to a time to celebrate.

The sheepish part is that this is presented as a “me” thing — honoring my 10 years as Congregation Kol Ami’s rabbi. I do think this should be a “we” event and not a “me”...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 11/2/2021

11/02/2021 10:18:30 AM


I provide this week a couple of random thoughts, writing this while Fay and I are on vacation.  (This is a vacation that was originally planned and booked prepandemic, and postponed about four times since.)

First, the notion of “getting away from it all” is a bit of a myth these days. At least, that seems to be the case for me. I have remained at least somewhat connected to life back home and the real world, whether due to...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 10/25/2021

10/25/2021 04:21:01 PM


This past week, Suzanne Gladney, the director of the Migrant Farmworkers Assistance Fund, informed me of the death of migrant farmworker Luis Octavio, age 49, due to cancer. (Suzanne is our featured Shabbat speaker on Friday, November 5.) With that in mind, I will keep my blog short this week.

Hearing about this loss and the difficulty for his family and for other migrant farmworkers with whom he worked is a vivid reminder that...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 10/18/2021

10/18/2021 04:45:06 PM


As some of you know, I am on a rotating list of alumni and faculty from my seminary (the Academy for Jewish Religion in New York, not the one in Los Angeles) to write up a D’var Torah. Last week was my turn.  

Without going into great detail: Sarah, by offering Hagar to Avraham as a wife — leaving aside the offensive notions of bigamy and sexism for a moment — has been described by commentators as making a supreme act...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 10/11/2021

10/11/2021 05:06:27 PM


This past week, we entered into the month of Heshvan, also known as Mar Heshvan, or Bitter Heshvan. I have joked (albeit not a great joke) that for rabbis, after a long stretch of holidays, it is not so bitter. 

All kidding aside, it does create for all of us (not just rabbis) an opportunity not just to catch our breath but to reboot and re-engage in the important tasks of the everyday. After all, the 39 acts of labor prohibited...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 10/4/2021

10/04/2021 03:44:25 PM


This past Shabbos, attendance for both the Erev Shabbat/Friday-night service and the Saturday-morning study was, in a word, paltry. Understand that I am in no way angry or disappointed. I absolutely understand the feeling of worship fatigue that follows a slew of holidays from Rosh Hashanah through Simchat Torah, celebrated this past week.

I bring it up to say I am feeling a bit fatigued myself. I have not lost my desire to pray (sort...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 9/28/2021

09/28/2021 10:50:20 AM


With Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah celebrated Monday evening and Tuesday of this week — more traditionally observant shuls outside Israel celebrate Shemini Atzeret on Monday evening/Tuesday, and Simchat Torah on Tuesday evening/Wednesday — we complete what you might call our busy season. Beginning with the month of Elul and our preparation for Rosh Hashanah, Selichot the week before Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot,...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 9/20/2021

09/20/2021 03:22:00 PM


We celebrate Sukkot this week — Z’man Simchateinu, the Season of Our Joy. We are actually commanded toward happiness, a happiness derived from welcoming guests into our sukkah. Our booth becomes a place of G-d’s sheltering presence for everyone, for the strangers in our midst.  

Through the generosity of Josh Sipp and Savannah Kannberg, along with Josh’s creativity and skill, we have a new sukkah. It is in the...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 9/13/2021

09/13/2021 11:47:50 PM


By popular demand, I am relating some of the rituals surrounding Yom Kippur. There are some unique pieces to this Sabbath of Sabbaths, the most important day on the Jewish calendar. The many rituals are not all observed by all Jews. This is a list of traditional observances for Yom Kippur. So, in no particular order:

• This is one of two major fasts during the year. (A major fast is over 24 hours — from the beginning of Yom...Read more...

Thu, January 27 2022 25 Shevat 5782