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Friday Shabbat Shalom

“Disability” Is An Ability

Jan 20, 2023

“Disability” Is An Ability

The Holy One, Blessed be God, stamped all people with the seal of the first human, and not one of them is similar to another. Therefore, each and every person is obligated to say: The world was created for me” (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5).
The Constriction of the Spirit

Jan 13, 2023

The Constriction of the Spirit

If there is any place that represents a toxic environment, it is the Torah’s portrayal of the crucible of Egypt, which not only broke backs, but destroyed souls and spirits. It is a world in which people may survive for a while, but certainly cannot thrive. In this week’s Parashat Shemot, Moses comes to the Hebrew elders with a clarion call of liberation.
Waiting for God: Expressing Frustration in Prayer

Jan 6, 2023

Waiting for God: Expressing Frustration in Prayer

Where is God in my life and why am I stuck in a difficult place? Will God ever intervene on my behalf, and help me—and all of us—come to a better place? What if I am skeptical if God can rescue at all?
Store Your Grain in the Good Times

Dec 30, 2022

Store Your Grain in the Good Times

"We are such stuff as dreams are made on,” wrote Shakespeare. For an elegant enactment of this insight, we can look at the story of Joseph, where his interpretations came not only from prophetic powers, but from the story of his own life.
Ritual as the Expression of Wonder

Dec 23, 2022

Ritual as the Expression of Wonder

Many Jews see Hanukkah as the Jewish Christmas, or the childish celebration of the miracle they're not even convinced took place. But here, too, the tradition seeks not mechanical compliance, but marvel, awe, and wonder at the "miracle" of Jewish history and survival.
Chanukah=Education?

Dec 16, 2022

Chanukah=Education?

Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsh (19th c Germany) explains that another cognate meaning of the root of the word Chanukah is “chinuch” (education) and the core of the celebration on Chanukah is the concept of education.
Sibling Rivalry

Dec 9, 2022

Sibling Rivalry

This week’s parsha, Vayishlach, begins with Yaakov (Jacob) returning to the Land of Israel with his family and all his possessions. He knows that he will encounter his brother Eisav (Esau) on the way and the last time he saw his brother, Eisav (Esau) wanted to kill him...
Art Basel Shabbat

Dec 2, 2022

Art Basel Shabbat

Art Basel is here and even the most philistine Miamian is out and about commenting on the art they see. For centuries, Jews created art, but it was almost exclusively for practical purposes — beautiful mezzuzot cases, lovely candelabras for Shabbat and holiday candle lighting, seder plates, and the like — because of the second commandment prohibition in Exodus 20:4 against graven images...
Turn Hate Into Hope

Nov 23, 2022

Turn Hate Into Hope

Pittsburgh and Charlottesville, Poway and Monsey — a litany of names associated with antisemitism over the past five years. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks points out an interesting phrase in Parashat Toldot that foreshadows the antisemitism we are seeing today.
“I Will”

Nov 18, 2022

“I Will”

I once tasked a group of leaders to come up with a six-word mission statement in the spirit of Ernest Hemingway’s famous six-word short story. A person in the back of the room shared, in six words, a life lesson he carried with him from his father: “Always do the right thing. Period.” These six simple words continue to give him moral clarity. Rebecca, in this week’s sedra [Chayei Sarah], has her own two words of clarity: “I will.”