I started a new congregational position this year. The job, which is part-time, is at a wonderful congregation that meets in a 315-year old Presbyterian church. Since my working hours are limited, I am focused on making the most of my time there. In addition to the normative stuff of synagogue life – leading Shabbat services, running the school, training B'nai Mitzvah students, giving pastoral support, and the all-important schmoozing at Oneg – I wanted to bring a new initiative or program that would reflect who I am, and more importantly, achieve one of the most important aspects of...Read More
The people complain "If only we had some meat" They'd prefer Egypt G-d: "I'll give you meat" For a month you will eat it Until you hate it Numbers 11:4, 18-20 "The Israelites wept and said, "If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish that we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic ... [G-d tells Moses to say to them] ... you have kept whining before G-d ... you shall eat [meat] ... a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you." I love a good corned beef... Read More
Talk radio is very popular in Israel. Animated debates on every topic under the sun fill the airwaves every day. One station, Kol BaRama, a station with a large Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) listenership, has the practice of not allowing women to speak on air. They say this is to respect the feelings of all who tune in to hear them. We at the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) have been saying for two years that it is simply illegal and immoral to silence a woman’s voice on publically funded airwaves. After months of debate, it seems Israel’s politicians are...Read More
“Camp helps us feel closer to God.” With this sentence, I opened my dialogue with the summer leadership staff of URJ Camp Newman, a Reform Jewish sleepaway camp, at our annual retreat. As it turns out, even some of our rabbinic students felt uneasy about this language and its placement within our opening conversation.
God-talk is scary for many of us. It is not common language, and many of us are simply not comfortable with the term “God.” We’re not alone in this discomfort, and in fact, the Jewish people have a long history of struggling...Read More
“Just call him and tell him you changed your mind,” my mom said as she tore up the piece of paper I had just handed her to which I replied, “Mom, that is not how it works.” Just a month later, on a sunny morning in July 1985, my parents waved goodbye to me, their 21-year-old only child as I left to become a soldier in the United States Army.
As a child, I grew up secular. I attended Sunday school and we observed Jewish holidays, but we were not affiliated with a congregation (even though part of our family is Orthodox). The first time I traveled to Israel, I was a teenager on a...Read More
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