“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…

Temple Israel – Weekly Newsletter – 6/14/18

I believe it is fair to say that we are living in turbulent times.  Our news alerts and Twitter feeds are replete with scary and troubling headlines of events new and old—whether remembering the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando two years ago, hearing of another mass murder-suicide by an armed domestic abuser, or seeing…

Temple Israel – Weekly Newsletter – 5/24/18

This past Monday, my wife and I sat in our beautifully decorated social hall and were delightfully overwhelmed by the smiles and chatter of Temple Israel’s most dedicated women during the annual Sisterhood Closing Dinner.  The Temple Israel Sisterhood dates to 1906, then called then the Ladies Aid Society, but the strength and contributions of…

“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…

“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…

“Is Patience a Skill?” (adapted)

Is patience a skill for a rabbi? Of course it is. You can learn to be a more patient rabbi. What about good judgment and maturity? Yes, also skills for rabbis.   Adapted from Seth Godin’s Blog

“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…

“Mob Mentality”

This week, in parsha Ki Tisa, we find ourselves—God’s chosen people—at the base of Mt. Sinai, standing in the wilderness as our fearless leader climbs up the mountain to face God and receive the gift of the Torah, the gift that only the Jews were to be given.  The Torah was to be a way…

“God Should Dwell Here”

  Well, it’s been a busy few weeks for our little synagogue. First, we had the honor of hosting our annual MLK service, where we recognized the achievements of promising young men and women in our community. Then, I had the great privilege of being installed as your new rabbi. And just last week, our…

Installment Address

During my tenure as a rabbi, I have faced some difficult tasks. I have provided care to families who have lost children; I have argued the Middle East crisis with a Palestinian and an Iranian; I even officiated my own father’s wedding. But these tasks seem almost minor when compared to the task of following…