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Love Your Neighbor vs. Love the Stranger

02/19/2021 10:19:07 AM


Can hate be a virtue? Does hate always have a deleterious effect, or can it be a constructive soul practice on occasion?  I invite you to join me tonight as I speak to whether hate can be a good thing for humans to practice.

This question arose for me as I attended a zoom lecture held by the American Jewish Archives entitled: “Confronting Hate in a Broken World”. 

While tonight I will be discussing the virtue of...

Apple Trees are the Fruit of Risk

01/29/2021 12:14:20 PM


I would like to begin by thanking President Kathy Krechevsky for sponsoring The Afro-Semitic Experience service this month from the President’s Fund.  I would also like to thank TBDConnect for sponsoring our speaker Rifat Sonsino.  If you missed Rabbi Sonsino’s talk it can be found on our website.  If you enjoyed these programs, and would like to see more of them, I encourage you to support and contribute to our various...Read more...

Sephardic Judaism

01/22/2021 12:38:26 PM


Tomorrow at 7pm on Zoom (, TBD will be hosting Rabbi Rifat Sonsino.  Rabbi Sonsino will be speaking to us about Sephardic Judaism.  Rabbi Sonsino is an academic, writer and former pulpit Rabbi who was born and raised in Turkey. But why did I ask him to speak about Sephardic Judaism of all things? I asked him to speak about his Sephardic roots as I saw it as a parallel to our work on race. 

Sephardic...

How to Fight Evil

01/08/2021 02:42:29 PM


I was asked by my friend and colleague Rabbi Evan Schultz, “How do we fight evil?”  This was in response to the following Facebook post I put up this week:

As I watch what is going on in D.C. I can only describe it as evil. It violates all standards of acceptable protest. Dissenting opinions are important but there must be parameters and we must all accept them. That is the only path. How we get somewhere is often more...Read more...

Minor Fast Days - A New Way to Look at and Practice an Ancient Custom

12/23/2020 01:23:06 PM


While this Friday December 25th is known as Christmas, this year Christmas coincides with a Jewish day of Remembrance and a minor Jewish fast day. The tenth of Tevet is a minor fast day which commemorates when Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian King, began his siege of Jerusalem in 587 BCE. 18 months later on the 9th of Av, in 586 BCE, the First Temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed. This minor fast day that we observe this week on the 25th of...Read more...

Complete Thoughts

12/11/2020 10:31:55 AM


We can all be guilty of cutting people off in the middle of their thoughts or sentences, myself included.  In my family, growing up to get a word in edgewise was like being a lion waiting to pounce on your prey.  You had to wait for your moment.  It wasn’t about turns; it was about making sure your voice got heard in the cacophony of other voices. If you didn’t interrupt or fight to be heard, you didn’t stand a chance....Read more...

Good vs. Bad Leadership

12/04/2020 01:44:32 PM


The story of Hannukah has one of the great villains of ancient times: Antiochus Epiphanes.  Unlike Alexander the Great who came before him, Antiochus used Hellenism as an “agent of cultural totalitarianism[1]”.

Antiochus, as so many antagonists in stories do, wanted power.  Specifically, he wanted to conquer Egypt.  His strategy for conquering Egypt began at home by demanding complete subservience to him and Greek...Read more...

Spoon Theory

11/20/2020 12:03:06 PM


A congregant was recently talking to me about what it is like to have depression.  She told me it was like the story of the spoons.  I told her I did not know this story.  She was kind enough to share it with me.  As I listened to the story, it occurred to me that while we do not all have to contend with depression or lupus the way others do,...Read more...


11/13/2020 01:22:53 PM


One of the questions the medieval commentator Rashi asks is why the Torah begins with creation.  He points out that the majority of the Torah is a law book, so should it not begin with the laws?  His answer to the question is that we start with creation to show that God created the whole world.  However, he also offers another explanation for beginning with the story of how people came to be:

Our Rabbis explained: God...


10/30/2020 11:52:49 AM


Obligation is a tricky thing.  As Americans we do not like to be told what to do.  As Reform Jews we prefer to choose.  However, there just are certain things we are obligated to do.  After all, we Jews sometimes do, “Answer to a higher source”.  Voting in elections is one of those sacred obligations that goes beyond personal self-interest and is simply an obligation for the good of the world.

If you have...

Fri, February 26 2021 14 Adar 5781