“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 Sacred and the Profane”

Well this has been quite a week, not only for our country, but for my family as well.  Our daughter, Noa Wren Harvey, was born on March 25th, and both she and Barrie are doing well.  We look forward to seeing everyone at our B’rit Bat, our naming ceremony on Saturday, April 6th, at 12:00pm. …

“Light in Lafayette”

This past Wednesday, I had the pleasure of teaching an interfaith series with Reverend Lisa Hood at First Baptist Church.  As part of this series, our congregants, her congregants, and even congregants and faith leaders from other denominations come together to discuss pertinent issues related to God, humanity, and our religious beliefs.  During our most…

“The Consequences of Racism”

Well, much to our dismay, racism was in the news again this week racism, this time from TV personality Roseanne Barr, who, via Twitter, attacked Valerie Jarrett, an African-American woman who was a senior adviser to Barack Obama. In her tweet, Barr stated: “if muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” (meaning…

“We Will Not Be Taken Back to the Dark Ages”

These days, it’s almost impossible to keep up with the steady flow of news and information bursting through our TVs, phones, and computers in the forms of alerts, Tweets, and news stories.  It can seem so overwhelming that my wife and I have attempted to take a step back from it all by taking up…

Temple Israel – Monthly Newsletter – November 2017

In what already seems like a lifetime ago (and I mean this in the most positive way possible), I remember interviewing at Temple Israel, where we discussed our collective visions of Reform Judaism and Temple Israel’s future. As part of these discussions, I shared with you one of the aspects of my rabbinate that I…

“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…

“Your Thoughts: Discrepancies”

In his teachings, Dr. Michael J. Cook outlines wonderfully some discrepancies between Christian and non-Christian sources, and the possible significance. He states the following examples: Christian Sources (Gospels & Acts)  – Rome and Christianity coexisted relatively harmoniously. Non-Christian Sources (Suetonius/Tacitus/Pliny/Josephus/Philo) – Rome persecuted Christianity, in turn, Christians fear Rome. Possible significance – Christian writers hoped…

“Your Thoughts: The Bible’s Clarity”

We hear this a great deal don’t we?  “The Bible is clear on ________________” (whatever it is).  Of all the statements shouted out at rallies or within synagogues and churches, with poundings of fists on pulpits, the thumping of bibles, the raised painted signs, this might be the most frustrating.  It is also revealing. When you…

“Solidarity”

Speech given at the Interfaith Service of Solidarity, at the Nur Islamic Center of St. Thomas: 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…

“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…

“Let’s See What You Can Do”

  Yesterday was a great morning.  At 9am, I drove over to our favorite coffee shop, Barefoot Buddha, to sit and meet with Abubaker Muhammed, the brand new Imam at the local St. Thomas Mosque.  Abubaker, just 25 years old, has spent years studying and preparing for this post. Additionally, he traveled across the United…