Why I am a Jew: Yom Kippur 5780

Posted by on Oct 11, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

At a wedding I officiated a wedding last August, I was introducing the shehekeyanu blessing that celebrates how great it is that we had all made it to this glorious day together. I mentioned that we have blessings for everything, and suddenly, out of my mouth came something along the lines of—like Elizabeth Warren has a plan for everything, we have a blessing for everything. People laughed, there was no consternation. However, I was surprised at myself, as this was probably the first vaguely political thing I had ever uttered at the 90 or so weddings I’ve been blessed to officiate.  Two weeks later, during a rehearsal with another couple, the bride specifically...

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We are All Broken: Kol Nidre Drash 5780

Posted by on Oct 8, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Last month, I had what felt like an earth shattering experience with a friend—a dear friend— of 40 years. Let’s call him Jack. We were having our usual hands free conversation on my way home from work about a political/spiritual issue, when suddenly—seemingly out of nowhere to me, he began to berate me. Despite my tepid attempts to stop him—“That’s a little harsh,” I repeated a few times, he continued, as I drove across the Richmond Bridge through Marin until the Narrows. To no avail. He kept going. Until I said I needed to get off the phone.  Shaken, I called another friend, whose first question was, “Why did you stay on the...

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Being Isaac–Rosh Hashanah 5780

Posted by on Sep 30, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Isaac was born to older parents—indeed Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90 or 91 when he finally came along. Imagine the childhood he must have had—being so doted on. Big party for his bris, big party when he was weaned. He was the golden boy of the family.  At the same time, it seemed his mother was worried about was some problem with Ishmael, and Sarah ordered Ishmael and his mother away from him. Rumor—or midrash—has it that it might have been bullying, it might have been abuse, it could have been teasing.  And there was a healthy dose of jealousy on his mother’s part toward Hagar, Ishmael’s mother. I imagine Isaac and Ishmael (14 years...

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Gratitude for a Loving Heart–Erev Rosh Hashanah 5780

Posted by on Sep 29, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

So much still to be grateful for. We all walked away. Shanah Tovah… My vacation this summer was cut short by a car accident in Gualala, on the coast of Mendocino. I totaled our car, as well as the pick-up truck I hit. On the other hand, everyone in both cars walked away, with only minor injuries. To my great relief, I didn’t kill anyone. The side airbag—that likely saved me from serious bodily harm—had knocked my glasses off and into three unfixable pieces. My husband, Sam, and I were pretty shaken up. And then we were surrounded by goodness and kindness. First, three different good Samaritans stopped to help us. One moved our car (with airbags...

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Vidui for the Border 5780

Posted by on Sep 10, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

For the sin we have sinned against You and against humanity for allowing the perversion of justice on our southern border, many of the refugees, as our ancestors were refugees: For allowing children to be separated from their parents,  in our name For allowing small children to appear in court on their own, in our name For allowing officials to cram people into cages, without any thought to sanitation or hygiene,  in our name For not giving girls sanitary napkins for their periods,  in our name For allowing rape and sexual assault on young women and girls in our custody, In our name For denying them flu shots and thereby...

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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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