Rabbi’s Blog

Dearest congregants, There are no words that fully capture the horror of the murder of 50 Muslim worshipers in Christchurch, New Zealand last week. A place of worship should never be a place of violence, and once again, we must mourn how a sanctuary became a site of terror. Just […]

New Zealand

The prayers during the High Holidays are long, but understanding the themes of the prayers can change the experience from slogging through page after page of obscure Hebrew prayers to reflecting on powerful themes and applying them to our own lives. The third prayer of the Amidah during the High […]

Why the Extra Page?

Sukkot On the holiday of Sukkot, we build booths and use them to eat our meals. The symbolism of the structure draws upon the impermanence of the Israelites wandering through the dessert, the joy of a harvest festival, as well as a theology of viewing God as a source of […]

Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret

You would not expect a meditation on the destruction of Jerusalem to be funny, but the classical midrash on Lamentations 1:1 contains a list of stories that almost certainly are trying to be funny [whether they succeed, depends on how much you like ancient humor…]. While the author of the […]

Tisha B’av 2018

This Saturday is the Hebrew date of the 17th of Tammuz. Long observed as a fast day, it commemorates when the Babylonians breached the walls of Jerusalem ultimately leading to the destruction of the first Temple on the 9th of Av in 587 BCE. The three weeks between this day […]

17th of Tammuz

Many communities have the tradition to switch melodies during the middle of the poem Lekha Dodi, but why? For better or worse, our current practice of switching after the 5th stanza may not specifically have a deeper spiritual meaning, but it does show the strange interaction between the role of […]

New Melody for Lekha Dodi

Services on Friday night, February 23rd are cancelled because of the snow. Here is a D’var Torah for Parashat Tetzaveh The second half of the book of Exodus describes the construction of the portable sanctuary and the ritual objects which filled and that the priests would use in their service. […]

Tetzaveh: Snow Day D’var Torah

During parashat Beshallach, we read the song that the Israelites sang as they crossed the Sea of Reeds. While many liturgies include the full passage as part of daily and Shabbat prayer, two verses are more familiar because of its inclusion in the third blessing of both the evening and […]

Mi Khamokha