Where is your "mikdash"? Your place to commune with God Is it physical?
And let them make Me a sanctuary ("mikdash") that I may dwell among them ("b'tocham")
Some of our congregations have magnificent structures in which to gather. Others have more modest buildings, or rent space in a local school, church or office building. Some smaller groups might meet in the homes of congregants.
Whatever the space looks like, it's important to have a gathering place. At first glance Parashah T'rumah, which includes...Read More
Thirty years ago, a group of Jews founded Central Reform Congregation (CRC) and, as a direct response to white flight to the suburbs, we chose to locate it within the city limits of St. Louis.
As CRC’s rabbi, I participated in vigils against racism-induced violence, as well as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebrations. Our congregation also developed a relationship with Cote Brilliante, a local black church. Together, our two institutions began mentoring 87 first-grade students,...Read More
“Who was the first Jew?”
I enjoy asking religious school students – and my own children – this question. It’s so much more than a Torah trivia question. What an important and meaningful experience, to know your origins and the foundational stories of your culture and religion (not to mention those of your family and community).
Students sometimes respond with the names of Adam, Noah, or Moses. They were all great people, but it was, in fact, Abraham and his wife, Sarah whom I like to refer to as the “George and Martha Washington of Judaism.”
As American citizens...Read More
What is love? The word is used in so many ways and is so fundamental to Judaism, yet its meaning is so elusive that it is often difficult to know what it actually means to say that you love someone.
Perhaps the root of the difficulty lies in our having forgotten the essence of who we are as human beings. In our modern, technological world, many of us have lost touch with the Jewish understanding that each and every one of us is a holy soul. In Genesis 2:7, we read: “And God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living soul.”
We learn from the...Read More
On the twelfth of February, 1809, slightly more than 200 years ago, a young, poor illiterate woman from Virginia, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, gave birth to a son in a log cabin built along the banks of the south fork of Nolin Creek, near what is now Hodgenville, Kentucky. That baby, whom she named Abraham, grew to become one of our greatest, and most tragic, national leaders. Lincoln was a man of great spiritual conviction. Yet – and I find this fact fascinatingly instructive – Abraham Lincoln is the only American president not to have declared himself a member of any particular religious faith....Read More