Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

November 15, 2016

The following remarks were delivered at the interfaith Thanksgiving service at Shomrei Torah on November 13. What a challenging week it has been since the election on Tuesday. We have had two large gatherings here since the elections and the overwhelming feeling of the congregation has been one of mourning. The last time I remember […]

Election Got You Stressed? Just Breathe

November 4, 2016

As I write this, we are five days from the election. Oy! This political season has been the worst in memory. Everywhere I go people tell me how anxious and upset they are about the campaign, and the truth is, I feel the same way. We all want it to be over. But let’s face […]

Holding the Ladder

August 31, 2016

A story… The Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Hassidic movement, took a long time to pray over Shabbat.  He would begin Shabbat morning services with his followers, and a couple hours later, they would be done yet he would still be engrossed in prayer.  They would sit in quiet reverence and wait; twenty […]

An Ode to the Jewish American Experience in Honor of Independence Day

July 6, 2016

Jews have been a part of the American experience from the beginning.  We’ve shared in her trials and tribulations.  We arrived with the first settlers in New Amsterdam, and later we participated in the great migration west.  We’ve plowed her fields, fought in her wars, and in general, participated in almost every aspect of her […]

Shomrei Torah Update

July 1, 2016

“Summer time and the living is easy…” or not!  While the Jewish calendar slows down in the summer, life in our community continues at a fast pace.  In June we celebrated our last Shabbat with Cantor David.  We are sad to see him go but happy he found his first full-time position (he was only […]

Religion & Politics in Your Synagogue

May 10, 2016

As the presidential race heats up, the question of the role of religion in politics, especially here at Shomrei Torah, feels more urgent to me.  We do have a few guidelines.  For us to keep our non-profit tax exempt status we cannot favor one candidate over another.  We can and do get behind issues, just […]

A Moment Away from Being Free

April 21, 2016

So I’m walking in Hood Mountain in the early evening and I am in deep thought over what to write for Passover which is just two days away. I bet I look preoccupied, like when someone is talking to you while checking their smartphone. If someone could plug into my brain, my internal dialogue would […]

Rabbinic Mission to Poland and Germany: Part III

January 6, 2016

Like many Jews, for me, the word “Germany” provokes a visceral response, as if it were synonymous with “murderers”. Just hearing the word could turn my stomach like a bad smell. But that was before I went to Berlin. No wonder, then, that I was anxious when we got off the plane from Cracow to […]

Hanukkah and the Drum Beat of War

December 9, 2015

With the arrival of Hanukkah I am reminded of the choice our ancient sages made when they created the holiday, making it a celebration of the miracle of light rather than the triumph of war. The war-weary rabbis of old saw beyond the short-lived military victory to the larger picture—the cost of war paid by […]

Rabbinic Mission to Poland and Germany Part II: After Auschwitz

November 18, 2015

There is before Auschwitz and after Auschwitz. Before Auschwitz, the Shoah looms over one’s psyche as an undifferentiated horror, a big, dark cumulous cloud always on the horizon, sometimes near, other times far, but never gone. Once you actually go there, feel the gravel crunch under your feet, see with your own eyes, smell the […]