In Mourning of the Shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue, Squirrel Hill–Saturday, October 27, 2018/18 Cheshvan 5779

Posted by on Oct 27, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

So much sadness, so close to the bone. We’ve cried today. Our people are under attack. Individuals were killed, or lie in a hospital fighting for their lives. First responders/police officers put their lives on the line to save us and some are lying with the congregants in the hospitals. The community is traumatized, the children learn that their Jewish home away from home is no longer a safe place. It hurts my heart again. All over again.   And it hasn’t just been we Jews who bore the brunt of violence that comes from flaming hatred…the week started with the news of a proposal to “erase” our transgender sisters and brothers, proceeded to the letter bombs...

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Seeing the Divinity in Each of Us? B’resheit 5779

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

In the first version (in Genesis 1) of humanity’s creation story, God created us, man and woman: one being with both masculine and feminine. But in the second version (in Genesis 2), suddenly, Adam was all by his lonesome, and God realized that wasn’t such a good plan—it’s not good for a person to be alone. So God created a helper next to, in front of or opposite to Adam—Chava (Eve). Then all hell broke loose with the apple and the snake and Chava suggesting to Adam that he too eat of the apple from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And Adam lost himself and could not bear to tell God the truth. “It’s all her fault,” Adam said… And out the two of...

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Choosing Life and #MeToo–Yom Kippur Morning 5779

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

[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 | 0 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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