“Amen and Amen”

  Ki Tavo is this week’s parsha, and around the promises of blessings in the Holy Land, and the instructions for bikkurim—the first fruits—is a set of curses—yes, curses—from our friendly neighborhood Levites.  Deuteronomy 27:14 reads: The Levites shall then proclaim in a loud voice to all the people of Israel:  Cursed be anyone who…

“Anything Your Fellow Loses”

  Within the seventy-two mitzvoth in this week’s parsha—between the commandments regarding divorce, loans, vows, parental guilt, charity, and defiant children—is a verse that at first glance doesn’t seem to apply to us: If you see your fellow’s ox or sheep gone astray, do not ignore it; you must take it back to your fellow….

“Don’t Touch It” (adapted)

“Don’t touch it, you might break it.” This is, of course, the opposite of, “Touch it, you can make it better.” What’s the default at your synagogue?” (Adapted from Seth Godin’s blog)

“Defeat, Defend or Transform” (Adapted)

Defeat, defend or transform: Most new projects fall into one of three categories: You might seek to defeat the other synagogue or secular activities, to enter as a challenger alternative. Your goal here is to cause someone to switch. Or you might seek to defend yourself against an aggressive challenger, a stubborn board, a charismatic…

“Can’t Be All Three”

This week, I was sitting in my favorite coffee shop with a student, studying Torah, when I was asked a question. The question concerned a moment in Deuteronomy.  Deuteronomy, as we know, is the last book of the Torah, and contains Moses’ final speeches to the Israelites before they travel without him over the River…

Rabbi’s Corner – Monthly Newsletter – September 2016

The first time I led High Holy Day services alone was the fall of my second year in seminary, having just arrived back in the States after a year in Israel. Prior to this, I had co-led with rabbis but this time I was to be the solo student rabbi in a small community Pine…

“Self-Starters Needed” (Adapted)

Self-starter rabbis, needed: The self starter rabbi creates a spark, turning nothing, or what certainly appears to everyone else as nothing, into something. The self starter rabbi doesn’t see it that way. That ‘nothingness’ was actually an opportunity, a chance to make a connection, to do something a little better than the status quo, to…