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

12/21/2020 01:48:18 PM


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


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


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


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


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...

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

11/16/2020 02:43:03 PM


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...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 11/09/2020

11/09/2020 04:34:25 PM


This may be getting redundant (I think it was last week that I was talking about emotional stress), but I cannot remember a more stressful week for myself or many congregants in our Kol Ami family. While we hear about the great divisions in our country, we also have a country in which our citizens are highly vested in its future. Wherever you land on the political spectrum, the waiting this past week has been a little slice of...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 11/03/2020

11/03/2020 09:18:27 AM


I am feeling the stress.  As I write this two days before the election, I am taking to heart what any number of pundits have told me: That this is the most consequential election of my lifetime. I know that, for my own sanity, I am only supposed to worry about events that are in my control. Yet I worry on.

According to Dr. Altha Stewart, past president of the American Psychiatric Association, this is mostly the...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 10/27/2020

10/27/2020 03:40:51 PM


We (finally!) reach November 3, and hopefully clear through some of the craziness and acrimony that have marred our political discourse. With that in mind, my message is simple.

VOTE!!!!!! If you have already voted, my thanks and appreciation. In voting, you have fulfilled not only your civic obligation but also your obligation as Jews to support the civic process and democracy.

While I am not allowed to advocate for...

Rabbi's Week In Review- 10/20/2020

10/20/2020 05:41:35 PM


Last week, we read in our Torah about the Tree of Knowledge. While the common assumption and/or interpretation is that Adam and Eve committed a sin by partaking of the Tree of Knowledge, Judaism has always placed the acquisition of knowledge amongst our highest priorities. The knowledge acquired by Adam and Eve in that moment was the most basic level of self-awareness. From that point forward, we have chosen to continue to read, to study, to...Read more...

Sun, March 7 2021 23 Adar 5781