“Azazel”

Every year, we, as a community and as individual Jews, celebrate the High Holy Days. We typically go to a place of worship, like this one. For the new year, we eat apples and honey. And in those days in between, we reflect on the past year. We think of our sins, we ask for…

“I’ve Already Forgiven You”

On a cool November evening in 1983, Dennis Maher, a 23-year-old sergeant in the U.S. Army, was driving from a friend’s house back to his military base in Lowell, Massachusetts. Before reaching the base, police stopped and questioned him. Where was he going? Where had he been? Both he and his vehicle were then searched….

“Religious Liberty”

A few weeks ago, I was invited to sit on an interfaith panel for the International Religious Liberty Association and the Caribbean Religious Liberty Association. The panel was hosted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, here in St. Thomas. I was one of many religious leaders invited, including the Catholic Bishop, a Muslim Imam, the pastor…

“Action Accompanies Prayer”

A new year, and there is so much to do. In about a week, at Kol Nidre, we will sit together in this sanctuary and hear those familiar words taken from the Mishnah, Yoma, chapter 8, which states: “For transgressions against God, the Day of Atonement atones; but for transgressions of one human being against…

“Turning our Eyes”

Tonight we celebrate Rosh Hashannah, our Jewish New Year. With another year behind us, we take this time to reflect: on ourselves, on who we are, on what is important, and on how we can be better in the year to come. In this way, we look inward. We also, however, look outward, to the…

“Not on our Watch”

On May 19, 1939, the St. Louis, a German transatlantic liner, set sail from Hamburg, Germany to Havana, Cuba. The ship carried 937 passengers, almost all of whom were Jewish men, women, and children fleeing the Third Reich. Cuba was meant only to be a temporary stopover, where passengers could stay until the US visas…

Rabbi’s Corner – Monthly Newsletter – September 2015

I’ve recently been reading David McCullough’s The Wright Brothers, which offers a biographical account of the lives of Wilbur and Orville Wright. While most of us will quickly remember the Wright Brothers for their achievements in flight, I believe few of us know much more than that about them (myself included). Thus, what I read…