October 11, 2019
October 4, 2019
Just as you have blessed and inspired us with your love
for one another, tonight we share this blessing with you.
May the Source of Love bless you with abounding affection.
May the Source of Strength bless you with patience,
persistence and perseverance.
May the Source of Compassion bless you with kindness
May the Source of Wisdom bless you with discernment, judgment and insight.
May the Source of Courage nurture your resolve to face challenges with hope and optimism.
May the Source of Joy bless you with happiness and
holiness, lots of laughter and long life.
May the Source of Peace bless you, your families, and all who love you with the wholeness and oneness that only peace can provide. And let us say together: Amen.
September 27, 2019
and 2 More Communitywide Opportunities
September 13, 2019
September 6, 2019
This week’s Torah portion, Shoftim, (meaning judges) begins with three interrelated commandments. First the community must appoint judges and magistrates. Second these individuals must be impartial and free from corruption. Thirdly the people must pursue justice if they hope to thrive in the promised land (Deuteronomy 16:18-20). Peace and progress are not unconditional guarantees. They are contingent on a society dedicated to justice. Judges can not maintain justice in a vacuum.
Ironically, it was just yesterday that we rabbis who have had the good fortune to travel to Guatemala with American Jewish World Service received word that any number of judges in that nation are now afraid for their lives. Judges who maintained the rule of law, sent corrupt officials and war criminals to jail, and refused to be intimidated by government threats are now terrified about the potential fall out of anti-corruption laws being overturned and those who violated them released. Human rights advocates lauded these judges as Guatemala’s fire wall against things becoming even worse. That fire wall has now become imperiled by approaching flame. We sometimes forgot how dangerous being a judge can be, especially in dictatorships, failed states and countries coping with extreme poverty and violence. I can’t hear about foreign journalists being imprisoned, kidnapped or killed without thinking about my brother Jacob. Nor can I learn about judges anywhere being threatened without thinking about my brother Benjamin, a Superior Court Judge in California. No righteous judge anywhere in the world should be faced with threats of retaliation for fulfilling their obligations to justice. There can be no just society when judges are coerced or corrupted by injustice.
On this Sabbath named for judges may we be mindful of the role they play, grateful for the integrity it requires, and watchful so that no nation can intimidate its judges with impunity.
August 30, 2019
August 23, 2019
August 16, 2019
July 19, 2019
July 12, 2019
We cannot continue to hold them captive, certainly not under the conditions that have been verified by multiple agencies.
and will not free all captives under any and all circumstances. The voice of idealism maintains that if we cannot even wish or pray for the freedom of children in captivity, if we do not acknowledge to God and to one another that the current situation is unacceptable, then how can we even begin the work of demanding their release? On this day after Independence Day, a day celebrating our freedom from being governed in a way our founding fathers deemed unjust, let us demand immediate changes to conditions in detention centers that we know to be unjust. If we cannot safely and speedily set these children free, we must at the very least
implement radical reform of the places in which they are being held captive. Baruch Atah Adonai matir asurim. Blessed are You, O God, who frees the captive.
June 28, 2019
Just as the River Jordan parted for Joshua and the people on their way to the Promised Land,* would that the waters of the Rio Grande have parted this week for Oscar Ramirez and his young daughter, Valeria, fleeing poverty in Central America.
May the drowning of Oscar and Valeria Ramirez move us to action as well as tears. May their deaths help us to see that no democracy can continue to drive imperiled people to such desperate acts. Let’s go down to the river to pray and to repent. Because teshuvah (repentance) is called for now. Repentance for enabling circumstances contributing to such fatal outcomes. From now until the crisis stops, let us approach all rivers in the spirit of repentance.
June 21, 2019
June 14, 2019
June 7, 2019
May 31, 2019
May 24, 2019
May 17, 2019
May 10, 2019
May 3, 2019
April 26, 2019
April 12, 2019
Congratulations and Concerns
April 5, 2019
“I Am Not a Leper!”
Rescuing Humanity from Humiliating Afflictions