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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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Pinchas 5778 – The Daughters Speak

Posted by on Jul 7, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

I ask you in these times we live: How are we supposed to speak truth to power?   This week, we might do well to turn to our Declaration of Independence.   The Founding Fathers (yes, all men) really struggled with how to make their grievances known to the King. We’d already fought at Lexington and Concord, but before the vote on independence, the Continental Congress decided they needed a declaration “to place before humankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent.”[1] And the declaration itself was edited almost beyond recognition from Jefferson’s original draft—one representative actually wanted to...

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Balak 5778 – Threads

Posted by on Jul 3, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Drash given at Congregation Shomrei Torah, June 29, 2018 Shabbat Shalom. It’s been a week, as I’ve already said. It’s been a month, a year, a long time, when things feel hard. And we turn to our tradition to see if we can find solace or something to hold on to, or maybe even something to help us think about our current reality.   This is one of those weeks when the Torah portion is more challenging than usual. Oh, it starts out well—here at Balak, deep into Numbers. The story of the talking ass is entertaining and there is something to learn from it, and we find Mah tovu ohalecha Ya’akov–how goodly are your tents, Jacob…right there.   However, I...

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A Short Word or Two on Women in Judaism

Posted by on May 5, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

On May 3, I was invited to share a very short lesson on Women in Judaism at the San Geronimo Valley’s spring Interfaith Forum. This is what I shared amongst a group of Sufi, Catholic and Presbyterian representatives.   Women in Judaism…Such an enormous topic. So little time.   If we were to take the Hebrew Bible literally—which I don’t—we would think that patriarchy was founded the moment when Eve offered Adam the apple. But the Bible was written or took place when patriarchy was already embedded firmly in the culture. This makes it easier—for me, at least—to think that the writers were reflecting the reality, rather than creating...

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Passover 5778–Chag Pesach Sameach!

Posted by on Mar 30, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

One of the great joys of Judaism, embedded in its longevity and ability to change and adapt to circumstances and geography, is the multiple layers of meaning that are attached to anything of moment.   An egg is never just an egg. Bread is never just bread. And a circle is never just 360 degrees of perfect shape.   We can look at the Passover story as a great tale of escape from slavery, with ten plagues, and a sea parting. Or we can look at the story as the struggle between a vulnerable minority against its mighty ruler, a class struggle, the universal story for freedom for all. Or we can look at it as the redemption from our inner struggles with self-slavery—to...

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