“The Knees on our Necks”

This morning, I sat on a zoom call with the Interfaith Leaders of Greater Lafayette, Pastor’s Alliance, Diversity Round Table, the Islamic Society, as well as the mayors of Lafayette and West Lafayette, the police chiefs and deputies.  The topic was on how we can address the nationwide issues of police brutality, implicit bias, hiring…

“Do Not Be Silent” – Weekly Newsletter – 6/4/20

It has been a difficult week, as we Americans have witnessed not only the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the senseless death of George Floyd followed by worldwide protests.  While our own personal responses to the unrest we are currently witnessing may differ, I wanted to share with you how the Jewish organizations…

“State of the Union” – Temple Israel – June 2020

This message was read during the Annual Meeting which took place May 3rd, 2020 As this is a Zoom meeting, I will attempt to be brief as I’m certain there is plenty to discuss and it’s a difficult arena to maintain.  I think it best to discuss the State of the Temple in terms of…

“Accountability is a Jewish Value”

As I read through this week’s Torah portion, Naso, I came across some powerful words: Adonai spoke to Moses, saying: 6 Speak to the Israelites: When a man or woman commits any wrong toward a fellow man, thus breaking faith with Adonai, and that person realizes his guilt, 7 he shall confess the wrong that…

“Extended Education” – Weekly Reminder -5/28/20

In past years, Temple Israel has taken a break from educational programming over the summer. This ensures that members don’t miss out on opportunities to learn during times when they may be traveling or taking a break or enjoying time with family. That being said, because we are not able to meet in person due…

“Our Struggle with American Individualism”

Lately there has been a great deal of discussion in rabbinical circles on how to deal with the upcoming High Holy Days during the COVID-19 pandemic.  As you can imagine, we rabbis are torn about what to do, whether to go virtual or not, and when to start making those decisions. During one fruitful conversation…

“A Nationwide Shavuot” – Weekly Newsletter- 5/21/20

I can’t tell you all how excited I am for Shavuot next week.  Is it because I can’t wait to teach my lesson on Jonah?  Maybe a little bit.  But more than that, it is the excitement for the Small Congregations Tikkun Leil Shavuot 5780.  It has been the tradition, for generations, that on the…

“Our Need for Jubilee”

  This week’s parsha, Behar, discusses the biblical concepts of the Sabbatical year and the Jubilee.  Leviticus 25 begins with these words: The LORD spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai: 2  Speak to the Israelite people and say to them: When you enter the land that I assign to you, the land shall observe a…

“Counting the Omer with Respect” – Weekly Newsletter – 5/14/20

This past Monday evening, Jews around the world celebrated Lag B’Omer, the 33rd day of counting the Omer between Pesach and Shavuot.  The origin of this holiday is certainly disputed, and the reason for bonfires and cookouts is unclear, to say the least. Nonetheless,  when studying the history of this time period, between Passover and…

“Be Angry, Then Be the Change”

This week we enter parsha Emor, a series of laws on the Sabbath, Pesach, Sukkot, Shavuot, and Yom Kippur, as well as laws about blasphemy and other serious crimes.  To be completely honest, as I held the text and commentaries to my nose, no matter what I did, I simply could not focus on the…

“In the Belly of the Fish” – Weekly Newsletter – 5/7/20

Well friends, we might not realize it with all that’s going on but Shavuot is just around the corner.  On Thursday, May 28, Jews around the world will gather (virtually hopefully) to engage in the time honored tradition of study for Shavuot.  I have thought long and hard about what we should learn about this…

“What Makes a Good Jew?”

I am always pleased to come to this parsha, K’doshim.  While it is in the midst of Leviticus, a book which can often seem foreign or alien to our modern practices, this parsha, which contains what we call “The Holiness Code,” carries within it timeless understandings of what it means to be a Jew in…