Hello Temple Sinai,I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving with family and friends, or that you will be getting some well deserved R&R (my plan!). I also forgot to mention at service last Friday night that last week was Transgender Awareness Week, and the Transgender Day of Remembrance was on Tuesday, 11/20. We know that […]
As I understand it, in Latin American folk culture, there is a belief in “el mundo Bueno” and “el mundo malo” – the good world and the bad world. The two worlds exist side by side, and sometimes, if we are not careful, we can unknowingly step from the good world where things make sense and people are basically good, into the bad world, where nothing makes sense and people turn into monsters.
Sometimes lately, it seems as if we have stepped through from one world into a another, where what we thought we knew, what we thought was settled is turned upside down. We see nationalist anti-Semitic marches with the government in Poland. We see shootings in synagogues. We see openly anti-Semitic white-nationalists running for and sitting in Congress. We see the press attacked as the enemy of the people. We see “alternative facts.”
I think for many of us, the last two years and especially the last few weeks have triggered those fears, and for us as Jews, this universal fear of “the bad world” carries particular weight. It is in our living memory. We carry it in our collective epigenetics.
That is why I found the Torah portion this week to be such a gift.
This week’s Torah portion, Toledot, tells us about the conception and early lives of Jacob and Esau. It also tells us a great deal about Isaac and Rebecca’s relationship with each other and with their sons. It begins like this…
Hello Temple Sinai, What a turnout we had for the #ShowUpForShabbat solidarity service last Friday night! Over 200 people of all faiths from across the community came to express their support for the Jewish community, including clergy from local churches, the president of the Islamic Society, Mr. Taysir AlKhatib, and Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman. After […]
Tonight, I would love to do a beautifully crafted sermon, in which all the threads and ideas weave into a single message that inspires. Sadly, this has been a broken week, when we are feeling broken, and my sermon is also broken. So I want to offer some thoughts on Pittsburgh, on anti-Semitism, on resistance, and on resilience.
This week’s Torah Portion is Chayei Sara, the life of Sarah, but the portion actually begins not with Sarah’s life, but with her death…
Hello Temple Sinai, ’Tis a fearful thing to love what death can touch. A fearful thing to love, to hope, to dream, to be – to be, And oh, to lose. A thing for fools, this, And a holy thing, a holy thing to love…. The massacre at Congregation Tree of Life in Pittsburgh has […]
Hello Temple Sinai! This week’s Torah portion, Vayera, is among the most famous, and most confounding, as it contains both the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and the Akedah, or the binding of Isaac that we read on Rosh Hashanah. Both stories abound with conflicting interpretations, and both challenge us to figure out what they […]
Leave everything you know and go, but you’re not going to know where you are going until later. Ever felt like this?
Somehow this very ancient text managed in very few words to express the human condition of human beings in the modern world. We are every day, it seems, leaving what we knew, what…
Hello Temple Sinai! Thanks to all the people that turned out on Friday night for Kabbalat Shabbat services and oneg. We also had a full house at Torah Study on the story of Noah and the flood, and I look forward to studying the beginning of Abraham and Sara’s story this week. Since there are […]