“One Verse”

When I was little, I’m certain that I asked the question, “where did the Torah come from?”  I don’t remember asking it, the motivation behind the question, or exactly when it was asked, but I do remember the answer.  The answer which I was taught, and which I read many times over as I studied…

“Tish’a B’av” – Weekly Newsletter – 7/27/17

Next week, beginning at sundown on July 31, Jews around the world will observe Tish’a B’Av, the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, by fasting and reflecting on its historical significance.  Dr. Michael Marmur, a professor at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion states that, particularly among Reform Jews, this day,…

“The Value of the ‘How’ and ‘Why'”

This past week, I sat down at my desk early one morning and started to read this week’s Torah portion.  Like you do.  Here we are at the end of Midbar, the book of Numbers, in our parshiot, Matot-Ma’asei, and while there are plenty of verses within these six chapters to find absolutely fascinating, that…

Temple Israel – Weekly Newsletter – 7/20/17

Dear Friends, Shabbat, be it Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday evening or Shacharit on Saturday morning, is a time of meditation, of reverence, and of introspection. It has been absolutely wonderful worshipping with so many of you these last two weeks, and I look forward to seeing so many of your faces (and perhaps even some…

“Torah vs. The 21st Century”

“Adonai spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Pinchas, son of Eleazar son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the Israelites by displaying among them his passion for Me, so that I did not wipe out the Israelite people in My passion. Say, therefore, ‘I grant him My pact of friendship.  It shall be for him…

Temple Israel – Weekly Newsletter – 7/13/17

Dear friends, What an incredible welcome!  It was an absolute joy to join you all in worship on this past Friday evening for our Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma’ariv.  The warmth from the burning Shabbat candles was dwarfed by the warmth of the congregation, by all of your smiles, your voices lifting up our prayers, and…

“Our Tent, Our Dwelling Place”

Shabbat Shalom, It is difficult to express the joy that I am feeling tonight as we celebrate Shabbat together for the first time, and as I stand on this bima looking out onto this congregation.  What a magical moment for any rabbi and congregation; a time for us to worship together, to learn together, to…

Temple Israel – Weekly Newsletter – 7/6/17

When I announced to friends, family and colleagues that I would be the new rabbi at Temple Israel, they all responded with the traditional Jewish exclamation: mazel tov! As someone who loves the Hebrew language and, in particular, the nuances of Hebrew, I could not imagine a more appropriate phrase being used. There is, of course, the…

“Your Thoughts: Problematic Texts”

If we look back at the history of Christian acts of persecution of Jews—the Crusades, the Inquisition, and blood libels, just to name a few—a strong argument has been made by numerous historians, most notably Father Edward Flannery, that these acts of violence, prejudice, and deep seeded hatred originate from the anti-Jewish sentiments taught from…