From the Rabbi

Holy Days, Holy Weeks, Holy Acts

18/04/17 09:23:50 PM


With the overlap of Passover, Holy Week and Easter this year, it is even more tempting than usual to look at the ritual, spiritual and communal similarities and differences between the two religions.

Ritually, the external forms of Judaism and Christianity diverge significantly, just as they do at any time of the year. However, the underlying spiritual meanings of several symbols within each tradition evoke similar resonance with the...Read more...

Pre-Pesach I: Guard Your Tongue for the New Moon of Nisan

28/03/17 09:33:50 PM


Rosh Hodesh, literally the head of the month, refers the new moon. Jewish months most often begin in the middle of our Gregorian months, giving rise to those confusing calendars, with the Gregorian date in one corner and the contrasting Jewish calendar date in another, which begins on the previous evening.

This Jewish year, as is often the case, Rosh Hodesh Nisan, is followed by the Shabbat when we begin reading from a new book of...Read more...

TeRuMah: Holding UP our Gifts

28/02/17 08:21:35 PM


Those of us who have siblings, and those of us who parent more than one offspring, have a particular challenge in our lives. It plays out through circumstances that may appear mundane, yet illuminate an issue that is both profoundly human and deeply sacred.

When my two children were young, there was a fair bit of checking out the dimensions of the cookie, or the serving of pasta, or the amount of time spent schmoozing at bedtime. The...Read more...

Who Knows

07/02/17 06:41:01 PM


Each November the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College hosts a three-day gathering for prospective students. This past fall’s Institute began on November 9, the day after the American presidential election, which had been preceded by a long season of acrimonious campaigning, and a deteriorating civil discourse. In this article about the event, several biblical figures and narrative threads are referenced that have been on my mind...Read more...

New Year Reflections: The Arc of the Moral Universe, v.2017

11/01/17 07:52:00 PM


Reconstructionist Judaism has been described by one of my great rabbinical school teachers, Dr. Arthur Green, as religious humanism. He also teaches that the first and most important “commandment” of the Hebrew Bible is captured in Genesis 1:27 with the phrase tselem elohim – the image of God.

These are two essential teachings for me. They capture the ikar, the vital core that enlivens how I wish to be, and what I wish to do as...Read more...

In the Best of Times

15/11/16 08:04:41 PM


In the best of times, and when I am at my best, I live in the moment.

This doesn’t mean I do not look ahead. I make plans, I anticipate needs, and I look forward to special events.

But when I’m living in the moment, all sorts of things become clear.

My sense of smell, and balance, my capacity to withstand others’ complaints, the ways in which I can pivot in place, they are all finely honed and less...Read more...

Voting Matters

08/11/16 09:25:18 PM


By the time you read these words, voting will have concluded in the American presidential election. For many, this will bring relief merely for concluding a massively divisive and even bizarre campaign. Amongst factual as well as partisan reporting of the candidates, polling, alliances and breaches, there have been frequent references to the deleterious psychological impact of the season’s stories on many individuals and...Read more...

From the Rabbi’s Message on Erev Rosh Hashanah

19/10/16 08:33:41 PM


What do you get for a world that has everything? In truth, we don’t trumpet the age of the world; we celebrate its newness, actually, its renewal, this and each Jewish new year.

We celebrate our joy over the newborn year, not its news.

We celebrate the politics of meaning, not the meanness of politics.

We celebrate hope over despair, of moving through teshuvah towards wholeness.

We celebrate the year’s...

New Moon, New Year, New Dance

27/09/16 08:49:32 PM


Soon, the crescent moon of Tishrei will appear above our heads.

We are drawn to peer into space, as if towards the distant stars, to discern what we may encounter in the months ahead of us in the year 5777.

The year will start with the appearance of the slimmest horn of light. Yet it is the second beginning for us. As citizens living in two civilizations, Jewish and civic, we have already been to one such bash. This time...Read more...

The Season of Teshuvah

13/09/16 07:17:59 PM


The season of teshuvah offers an opportunity to look back, look at ourselves, and look to the future, intently and intensely. It is also a time of celebration of community and continuity, and of tradition coupled with innovation.

There are many of us who spend our days thinking, in one way or another, about these interrelated issues of community, continuity, tradition and innovation. Parents, teachers, health care professionals,...Read more...

Wed, 26 April 2017 30 Nisan 5777