“In Defense of Prayer” – Weekly Newsletter – 9/26/19

This past week, a local business here in West Lafayette posted a controversial quote on their official Facebook page.  It was a business that I, and many others, have used in the past and was not in keeping with what we know about them, their business, or what is typically posted on their Facebook page….

“The Hands of Abusers” – Weekly Newsletter – 9/19/19

This week, my heart was filled with sadness and grief as I read about not one, but two arrests of Jewish professionals for child sexual abuse.  Rabbi Jonathan Skolnick, the formal associate principal of Judaic studies at the SAR Academy in the Bronx, was arrested for “production for child pornography” and “inappropriate photos.”  Skolnick was…

“This Torah Portion Sucks”

Here in the month of Elul, ‘tis the season of forgiveness, so to speak.  We are leading up quickly to Selichot, Rosh Hashanah, Tashlich, and Yom Kippur.  Forgiveness should be on the mind; our words, our deeds, our empathy and sympathy, they should be stirring up things inside; we should be preparing to make amends,…

“Charity and Justice” – Weekly Newsletter – 9/12/19

This week, a colleague of mine, whom I’ve spoken about before, Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, posted on his Instagram a small infographic that stated “There’s a big problem when charity is a substitute for justice.”  The graphic goes on to state, “homeless shelters instead of accessible housing; emergency clinics instead of affordable healthcare; volunteer tutoring instead…

“What is a Leader?”

Back to Deuteronomy we go to find ourselves in parshat Shoftim, which discusses, among other things, the judiciary system, the prosecution of apostates, assault, criminal and civil law, and most importantly, the laws about a king.  God tells the Israelites that if they decide to set a king over themselves (they don’t have to, but…

“Stuck in the Mud” – Weekly Newsletter – 9/5/19

This week, we enter the Hebrew month of Elul, a preparatory time before our High Holy Days begin.  Jewish tradition tells us that we cannot simply “jump right in” to the enormity of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and that, instead, we need some time to get ourselves ready.  Indeed, the Maharal of Prague, a…