“Preserving Your Culture? No, You Just Don’t Like Change”

This morning, we read from our sacred scrolls the words of the Deuteronomic decalogue, the ten commandments. These words are those known around the world, and which have been read for roughly two-thousand years:   “Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as Adonai your God has commanded you.  Six days you shall labor…

Temple Israel – Weekly Newsletter -7/26/18

Thanks to a lecture I recently attended by Dr. Hussein Rashid, the founder of Islamicate, a consultancy focusing on religious literacy and cultural competency, I’ve recently been reading tales about “The Mulla” Nasrudin, a wise-man and philosopher from 13th century Turkey.  Nasrudin appears in thousands of stories in the Sufi Muslim writings, many of which…

“Our Collective Memory”

I often struggle with what to speak about when we commemorate Tisha B’Av.  It’s a fast day, a sad day, and a time to reflect on the calamities that have befallen the Jewish people. But how do these moments in our history inform us today, as a people. Are we meant merely to mourn for…

“Zakhor” – Weekly Newsletter – 7/19/18

In his classic work “Zakhor”, Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi says on the subject of memory: The Hebrew Bible seems to have no hesitations in commanding memory.  Its injunctions to remember are unconditional, and even when not commanded, remembrance is always pivotal.  Altogether the verb zakhor [remembrance] appears in its various declensions in the Bible no less…

“What If?”

This week, we find ourselves at a fantastic “what if” moment in our Torah.  The parsha, Pinchas, contains plenty of interesting stories, including one about a man named Pinchas who acts in zealotry to cleanse the Israelites of sin, and one about Zelophehad’s daughters, which changes the law on patriarchal inheritance. But the most interesting…

Temple Israel – Weekly Newsletter – 7/5/18

Dear Friends, Facebook has a neat little feature called “on this day,” or “memories,” that lets you view status updates or photos you have posted in past years.  If you’ve been on social media as long as I have, it can be nostalgic or, sometimes, jarring to see what I was up to 8-9 years…