Temple Israel – Weekly Newsletter – 5/17/18

Like you, I could not help but be affected by the news this past Monday that a U.S. Embassy opened in Jerusalem, officially declaring Jerusalem, according to the United States, the capital of the State of Israel.  I imagine many of us will be approached by our friends, Jew and non-Jew alike, and asked how…

“The Ger Tzedek”

In our parsha this morning, from Behar-Bechukotai, we heard from the Torah the words “If you follow My laws and faithfully observe My commandments, I will grant you rains in their season, so that the earth shall yield its produce and the trees of the field their fruit.” Now, we have long done away with…

Temple Israel – Weekly Newsletter – 5/10/18

Dear friends, I write to you this week as we approach the end of a very busy few months.  Very soon we will all celebrate Shavuot, marking the official end of our education sessions at Temple Israel until the Fall, and we will begin our quiet summer, wherein we rest, take a break from the…

Temple Israel – Weekly Newsletter – 5/3/18

Dear friends, I cannot begin this note without first expressing my profound gratitude for this past weekend’s events.  I appreciate so much those who spoke so beautifully on Friday evening, those who were involved in the oneg that evening, and of those who put together such a wonderful gala!  On Friday, the sacredness this place…

Installation Address – 4/27/18

Friends, what a lovely evening this has been, and what an incredible moment for all of us.  I think it best that I keep my remarks brief, as so many others have spoken so beautifully, and because in just over a week I am charged with standing in front of this congregation at our annual…

Temple Israel – Weekly Newsletter – 4/26/18

It is difficult to believe that tomorrow evening we will sit together in our sanctuary and celebrate Shabbat as part of the larger installation ceremony of Temple Israel’s new rabbi. Tomorrow night’s service will include not only all of you, but also our special guest, Dr. Rabbi Gary Zola, and friends and community members outside…

“Prayer, Not Slander”

This week, rabbis around the world take a deep sigh as they recognize that they must explicate upon the double parsha, Tazria-Metsora.  Within these many verses lay the purification rituals for circumcision, menstruation, discharge, scabs, discoloration of the skin, affections of the hair and beard, and the disease known as tzara’at.  It’s a regular bag…

Temple Israel – Weekly Newsletter – 4/19/18

Today, April 19, is Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, commemorating the day that the State of Israel signed a “Declaration of Independence” in May of 1948.  This day, which is a national holiday in Israel and a day celebrated by Jews in the diaspora, is preceded by another holiday, Yom HaZicharon, Israeli Memorial Day, the…

Holocaust Conference Opening Invocation

Good evening,   It is my profound privilege to stand before this community for the opening ceremony of the 37th Holocaust Remembrance Conference.  It is an honor that this important conference open here at our temple, a center of Jewish spiritual and educational life, and as the rabbi of Temple Israel, I say, welcome.  Temple…

“The Informed Choice of Kashrut”

This week’s Torah portion, Shemini, contains a great deal about what we now call Kashrut law.  It lays out what is “unclean” for us to eat, which animals are acceptable, and which are not.  As a Reform Rabbi and Jewish scholar, I’ll be honest: the subject of Kashrut is a controversial one for me.  I…

Temple Israel – Thursday Newsletter – 4/12/18

Today, Thursday, April 12, is a holiday known as Yom Hashoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day.  The full name of the holiday is actually Yom Hashoah Ve–Hagevurah – the “Day of [Remembrance of] the Holocaust and the Heroism.”  The holiday is a relatively recent one in Judaism, as it was officially created by the Israeli government…

“The Fierce Urgency of Now”

Last week at this time, while all of you were gathered around your Seder tables, either in your homes, or at the Temple, and while I was laying in bed with the flu, my wife and son were in Reno, Nevada celebrating Pesach with Barrie’s side of the family.  Though the food was comforting, and…