One of my favorite stories about parents and children is the one where a mother stands on her front porch watching as her young son struggles to lift a large stone that is obviously too heavy for him to manage. She watches in silence as he grunts and groans and strains to lift this heavy […]
Archive for category: Exodus
As you read these words Didi and I are sailing on the high seas off the coast of Australia on a cruise that will end in another week or so in the harbor of Hong Kong. It is an awe inspiring sight to visit so many diverse cities, countries and cultures (Australia, Bali, Borneo, Philippines […]
“How do you know when you have really grown up?” I remember being asked that question one evening by one of my 10th grade Confirmation students, and how it produced one of the most thoughtful and reflective discussions we had that entire year.
The words we find this week in chapter twenty of the Book of Exodus have undoubtedly influenced more individuals in the Western world than any other words in the entire Torah. They are called in Hebrew, “aseret hadibrot, “The ten utterances,” but most people know them simply as, “The Ten Commandments.”
Names are very important. They have a power all their own. There are names that inspired revolutions and overturned entire civilizations. There are names that have struck terror into the hearts of all who heard them. And of course there are many who claim that the sweetest sound that a human being ever hears is […]
Years ago when I was still working as a rabbi in New York I got a phone call from the president of the congregation in California where I had grown up. He informed me that their current rabbi would be moving to another pulpit at the end of the year and he wondered if I […]
Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan once taught that religious identity is based on the “three Bs” of believing, belonging, and behaving. Most religious traditions begin with a foundation of believing. Christianity, for example, is based in large measure on a belief in Jesus as the son of God, and the savior of human souls, on beliefs having […]
Last week at Kehillat Israel, I witnessed over six hundred men, women and children spending the day giving of themselves to others as part of our “Mega Mitzvah Day.” It was in many ways for me the quintessential KI experience and a perfect way to celebrate the synagogue’s 50th Anniversary. I am always proud of […]
The first thing everyone notices is the light. You can’t walk into the sanctuary at Kehillat Israel, without being confronted immediately by a large, oversized glass sculpture in the shape of a large flame that is prominently mounted almost directly in front of you on the wall.
The most ancient sacred Jewish writings are most likely contained in the story of creation. There in the opening passages of Genesis, we find among the most powerful and poetic of all Jewish writings, the description of how God created the universe and all that is in it.
Imagine how scary it must have been for our ancestors in Egypt that night. Imagine what they must have been thinking as they watched one plague after another strike the land – from blood flowing in the rivers to frogs and lice overrunning the countryside, to animals dying all around them, from a sudden outbreak […]
Last week in the Torah we experienced what appeared to be the single most powerful moment of revelation in all of Jewish history – the giving of the Torah itself on Mt. Sinai. For the past 3,000 years we have turned to that moment and those remarkable “Ten Utterances” (aseret Hadibrot in Hebrew) for the […]
I have been thinking a lot about elephants this week. I was recalling how two years ago while on my sabbatical Didi and I spent a couple of days on safari in Kenya. I remember how incredible it was the day we found ourselves sitting in this little jeep in the middle of Amboseli surrounded […]
In a famous Hasidic saying, the Kotzker Rebbe was once asked: “Where does God dwell?” to which he replied, “Wherever you let Him in.”