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Rabbi's Week In Review - 12/27/2021

12/27/2021 04:50:00 PM


This past week, we began a new book of the Torah — the Book of Shemot, or Exodus. I always get a sense of renewed excitement as we progress through the Torah every year, each book giving us different themes and a different part of our story.  

In Shemot/Exodus, we begin our story as we become a people. We begin our journey from bondage to standing at Mt. Sinai.

We have formed a wonderful community at Congregation...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 12/20/2021

12/20/2021 04:59:17 PM


This past week, most of my thoughts have turned toward community (and state and national) leader — and my friend — the Rev. Dr. Rodney Williams. Last Friday, Fay and I, along with Lara Steinel, attended the funeral of his beloved wife, Lorianne Williams.

Lorianne died after a long battle against cancer. She was possessed of a fighting spirit, and of kindness and compassion, always caring for others. The Rev. Dr. Williams spoke of...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 12/13/2021

12/13/2021 04:48:53 PM


With the completion this week of the Book of Genesis/Bereishit, we read about the deaths of both Jacob and Joseph. Jacob, upon his insistence, is carried back to Hebron to be buried with his forebears. Joseph makes a similar demand, which will occur later on.

I have thought  this week about mourning and burial practice in Judaism. It is the time of year when I observe yahrzeits for my mother and father, and Fay’s father. Also...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 12/7/2021

12/07/2021 10:49:07 AM


Coming back from time away, we and our Kol Ami family hit the ground running. Midweek, a rally on behalf of the rights of tenants in Kansas City (really an ongoing fight against homelessness). Friday, we held our annual Shabbat Hanukkah service. Saturday morning, we celebrated the bat mitzvah of Matylda Breinin.

A common thread I observed in these three events is how we are all thirsting for community. I often mention how rejuvenated...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 11/29/2021

11/29/2021 04:16:26 PM


With time away, and with the Joseph story taking center stage in our Torah beginning last week, I have been thinking about family. Fay and I celebrated the b’nai mitzvah of her cousin’s twin sons in Pittsburgh. We then headed out to the Los Angeles area for our annual Thanksgiving-week sojourn with Fay’s brother and family.

The Joseph story is the last piece of a long narrative taking up most of the book of Bereishit/Genesis. It...Read more...

Rabbi's Week In Review - 11/22/2021

11/22/2021 04:27:59 PM


This past week challenged our perspective on whether our system of justice is truly just. I know there are varying views on the jury’s verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse case. Among these views is that the judge in the case put his thumb on the scale of justice inappropriately in favor of the defendant. Also, a recent poll came out in which, by a large majority, the U.S. Supreme Court was seen to be driven by politics, and not approaching...Read more...

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...

Tue, May 24 2022 23 Iyyar 5782