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Choosing Life and #MeToo–Yom Kippur Morning 5779

Posted by on Sep 19, 2018 in Blog | 1 comment

[This was my Yom Kippur morning sermon… I wrote it early in the morning, because I had to. And yet, I realized that I don’t have answers, and so at the end, I opened it up for discussion, and it was a good discussion.} I’m wondering how many women in this room can say, “Me Too.” And indeed, how many men. Sexual harassment. Sexual assault. Different degrees. Then the aftermath—who believed you? Last week, at my job, we were discussing Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation (btw, I believe her more likely than I believe Kavanaugh, who has apparently lied a few times before, to the Senate, I can only imagine, among others). Two women, both in their 90s,...

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Forgiveness–Kol Nidre 5779

Posted by on Sep 18, 2018 in Blog | 4 comments

I have a confession to make. I come from what I used to think of as a quintessential New York/Russian neurotic Jewish family. Lots of secrets. Lots of people not talking to each other for days or weeks or decades. Lots of competition for affection. Lots of pitting people against each other. I have no idea when or where that started. But by the time it got to us, my mother and her sister were in it deep—certainly for their father’s affection and for whose kids were “better”—whatever that meant. My aunt had three kids, the oldest of whom, Robin, is about 18 months younger than I am, and is the family member closest to me in age. When we were growing up, we spent...

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The Goodness in Creation is Available to Us–Second Day Rosh Hashanah 5779

Posted by on Sep 17, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Shana Tovah…   That word—tovah or really tov—permeates this Torah reading. Every time God created something, it was good. From the chaos of the unformed universe with God’s spirit hovering over it, to light and darkness, the separation of the waters above and the waters below, sun and moon and stars, the plants and all the animals. All good. Including the creepy crawling ones. And then God decides to create humans in God’s image and likeness, and then creates us—in God’s image, but not likeness…In this reading everything God saw was good—v’yar Elohim ki tov, or in one of the verses I chanted, tov me’od—very good. Goodness was woven into...

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Holding Our Moral Center: Rosh Hashanah 5779

Posted by on Sep 13, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

We live in what feels like a harsh world right now. Our public language has coarsened to a level most of us wouldn’t have let our five year olds use, let alone our teenagers, let alone ourselves. Emanating from the highest offices in the land, we hear petty personal attacks, vicious racism, and lies, daily. Hatred spews in many directions —against people of color, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, us Jews, women. In local communities—right here in Marin County, social media are filled with insults, words meant to hurt, divisiveness. Norms are shattered almost daily about how we are supposed to behave with each other. It feels ugly out there. And on our computers and...

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The Akedah at the Border–Rosh Hashanah 5779

Posted by on Sep 10, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Last year, I found I could just not chant the Akedah—the binding of Isaac, a traditional reading for Rosh Hashanah morning—life seemed too challenging to go there again, and instead, we read, on the birthday of the world, the world’s birth story. This year, as I cried over the creation of baby prisons for ‘tender age’ children separated from their parents at the border because of the Administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy for refugees, I realized the Akedah was the only possible text to chant.   One of my beloved congregants in North Tahoe, a psychologist, asked me one year whether we weren’t being triggered year after year with this story of...

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Elul Reflections

Posted by on Aug 19, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

As the High Holy Days approach, I’d like to offer you a few resources for beginning the spiritual work that this season in the Jewish calendar has to offer us. Rather than wait for Rosh Hashanah, I invite you to start your focus now. I know some of you are back from summer vacations, others may still be gone, and what better way to spend some time. First, if you have a shofar, feel free to blow it every morning—to remind your soul to WAKE UP! If you don’t have one, you might try this. Then, here are a few questions you might want to spend some time pondering: Elul Reflections Reflect on the questions found below. If your answer to any of them is “yes” or...

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