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Paradise (ERH 5778)

Love stones are usually about Young people sharing romance. This is a love story about older people who have shared a lifetime together and have come to understand what love and life are all about.

 

From the day Adam and Eve were exiled From the Garden of Eden, they lived together east of Eden, tilling the earth, raising children, and struggling to stay alive. After those many years of struggle, when their children were...Read more...

Listen! (RH1 5778)

Wow, as we look outward into this world of ours, so many things have gone on this last year that it is challenging to know where to begin or what to focus on. I’m troubled by the many hot spots around the globe where wars are taking place and where violence is perpetrated against specific groups that are ethnically, religiously or socially different from the majority. I’m upset by the increase of biased and hateful rhetoric in general and...Read more...

Israel (RH2 5778)

It is important for us to talk about Israel, it is also challenging. I love Israel and I hope that you do too. There was a time when I could have counted on that as a given, but that day has past for now and I can only look forward to the day when it again will be a fact of life in the American Jewish community.  You may not realize it but one of the most central prayers of Rosh Hashanah is the Aleinu.  Aleinu began as an...Read more...

Kol Nidre (KN 5778)

Here we are together again on this most sacred of nights.  Of all the days of the week, the most sacred is Shabbat; and of all the Shabbatot of the year, the most sacred is Yom Kippur - Shabbat Shabbaton/the Sabbath of Sabbaths. The two moments that stand out for most people and also the most famous are Kol Nidre and Yizkor.  As Jews we are notoriously late arriving at services, but on Kol Nidre night people try to arrive as close...Read more...

Yizkor (YK 5778)

Yizkor was originally only done Yom Kippur as we will do shortly. It was a communal remembrance, rather than the individual one we do when we observe a Yahrzeit, the anniversary of a death. It explicitly mentions giving tzedakah so that we would be engaged in both prayer and action in remembering our loved ones. In the Middle Ages it was expended to the Festivals as well in response to the Crusades, they would read lists of martyrs as part of...Read more...

Listen! (RH1 5777)

In the Torah reading for the first day of Rosh Hashanah, we read about the birth of Isaac, a story of hope and possibility, both core themes of the Jewish New Year. We are reminded that each of us is filled with infinite possibility waiting to be actualized, but we must have hope that the New Year also means new opportunities; that we are not stuck where we were this past year.

The verse from the reading that I want to focus upon is Genesis 21:12, “But God said to Abraham, ‘Do not be distressed over the boy or your slave; whatever Sarah tells you, do as she says, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be continued for you.’” First a little background – Sarah had been barren and offered her handmaiden, Hagar, to her husband, Abraham, in her place as a surrogate mother; this is successful and she gives birth to Ishmael. Eventually, Sarah herself gives birth to a son named Isaac and then no longer wants the rival son around. Abraham is troubled that Sarah wants to eliminate his first born son and Hagar. But God reassures him that he should listen to Sarah and all will be well. However, for us as the readers we find the content disturbing to our sensibilities and grammatically the sentence structure bothers the classical rabbis.Read more...

Israel (RH2 5777)

I love Israel! And I hope that you do too!! Because I love Israel, I am a Zionist; and I hope that you are too!!! Being a Zionist does not mean that I plan to go live in Israel. Being a Zionist means that I care about Israel and support Israel and her aspiration to be a free and independent Jewish nation amongst the nations of the world.

Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, the founder of...Read more...

Forgivenss and Gratitude (KN 5777)

Yom Kippur the most sacred day on the Jewish calendar and we have just listened to Kol Nidre. On this day we will fast and pray for 25 hours in attempt to set things right with God. Repeatedly we will confess our sins in the short confessional, the Ashamnu, an alphabetical acrostic listing sins from A-Z or more accurately from Aleph to Tav; and through the longer confessional – the Al Chet, “We have sinned...Read more...

Afterlife (YK 5777)

At this year’s Selichot program on Judaism and the Afterlife, it became clear that rabbis in general do not discuss the topic sermonically, but there is interest in the subject. I have done adult education classes on the afterlife and I hate to think that there is any topic that I won’t address from the Bima, besides politics, and so I decided that the time was now. So why is it that rabbis don’t preach...Read more...

10 suggested resolutions for 2015 from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (ERH 5776)

Count your blessings and begin to change your life

10 suggested resolutions for 2015 from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Have you made any resolutions for the coming year? If not, try the following. Each is potentially life changing.

Give thanks. Once a day take quiet time to feel gratitude for what you have, not impatience for what you don’t have. This alone will bring you halfway to happiness. We already have most of the...Read more...
Sat, October 20 2018 11 Cheshvan 5779