Sermons Category

5779: A Year of Sacred Opportunity

I think you might know this one:   Come gather ’round people Wherever you roam And admit that the waters Around you have grown And accept it that soon You’ll be drenched to the bone. If your time to you Is worth savin’ Then you better start swimmin’ Or you’ll sink like a stone For […]

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Creating Communities at the 5779 Frontier

This is how it started. In the beginning Abraham looked around his father’s idol store and said “What the heck? How can these be the power behind the universe?” He took up a broom and smashed the idols to smithereens.[i] And then he had to run from his father and his family. And when he […]

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AN ADAM WITH TWO FACES

When Rosh HaShanah arrives in two weeks, we will celebrate the sixth day of God’s creation, the anniversary of the emergence of humankind, a being called “Adam”. What was that newly-created being like? In Genesis Rabbah, Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachman comments on the peculiar wording of the phrase in Genesis 2: “Male and female God […]

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Sacred Disagreement

Our tradition has always embraced disagreement. One might think that the most famous rabbis of disagreement were Hillel and Shammai. In the first century BCE the Babylonian Hillel migrated to Israel and worked as a woodcutter as he studied. He lived in such poverty that he was unable to pay the fee to study Torah. […]

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Let’s Sing the Song of Equal Pay

Prior to Shabbat, we celebrated the last day of Pesach. The seventh day Torah reading is Shirat HaYam, the Song of the Sea, the victory melody the Israelite’s chanted when the sea closed over their Egyptian pursuers on the escape from Egypt. This is a war victory song – singing of God’s triumph over the […]

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Culture and Change

You may have caught the news story on NPR this week of the female inmates of an Indiana prison who had been taking a class on public policy. Vanessa Thompson, 17 years incarcerated, was watching a news story about the over 10,000 abandoned and neglected homes in Indianapolis. She brought a proposal to her public […]

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Open the Door to Justice

A creaky door. EEEEEEE! Once there was an elderly man who spent his whole life carrying an oil can. Whenever he heard a door creak, it would aggravate him. So, he would take out his oil can, and pour oil on the hinges of the door, so that it would open and shut without a […]

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Open the Door: Doors on Our Jewish Identity

  Is it a professional hazard, or personal interest, or a bit of both? I am not sure. However, I watch a lot of Jewish YouTube videos. People send them to me in emails and messages, they are found in the scrolling on my Facebook page, and sometimes I seek them out for a program, […]

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Open the Door: Doors into Loving the Land of Israel

When you visit Jerusalem, the white limestone buildings of old and new, rise out of the hills of the Judean desert. Buildings that are rooted in centuries of history. That have weathered wind and storm. Buildings that glisten with golden hue in the hot desert sun. Buildings which create a uniform vista of cohesion, that […]

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Ki Tetzei – We Go Forth

There were rules to how things operated at Disney.[i] Walt Disney had an Advisory Board. The early days of the studio were difficult, but Disney refused to give up on his creative visions. You can imagine, that there were those on his advisory board that agreed and disagree with him. There was a cultural and […]

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