Noah and the Kinkade Fire

November 6, 2019

As the Kinkade fire ravaged northern Sonoma County, synagogues around the world were reading about Noah and “ha-mabul”, the great flood, the archetype of natural disasters. According to the Torah God brought the flood to cleanse the earth of, “lawlessness” or “violence”.   “God said to Noah, “I have decided to put an end to all […]

Disagreeing with Dignity

September 24, 2019

By Rabbi Stephanie Kramer When his mother asked a child whether his Lego guys were the good guys or the bad guys, he responded, “We think we’re the good guys and they’re the bad guys, but they think they’re the good guys and we’re the bad guys.”  This insightful youngster can teach us so much […]

A Guide to the Holy Days

September 10, 2019

By definition, Reform Jewish Practice is hard to summarize.  Nevertheless, I thought it would be helpful to have an outline of the essentials. The Month of Elul We often think of the Holy Days as beginning with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur.  In fact, the Yamim Noraim (The Days of Awe) officially begin […]

Hartman Graduation

August 1, 2019

Dear Congregation Shomrei Torah, I want to use this moment in time to express my deepest gratitude for your ongoing support in deepening and developing my rabbinic skills. My time at the Shalom Hartman Institute – מכוןשלוםהרטמן as part of the Rabbinic Leadership Institute has come to an end, I have officially graduated. My cohort had our […]

Open Door, Open Heart

June 12, 2019

Rabbi George Gittleman The summer Torah readings are all b’midbar, in the wilderness, part of the story of our ancient ancestors’ mythic 40-year trek from Egypt to the Promised Land. Most of the story is laid out in the Book of Numbers (the Hebrew name is actually B’midbar). Some of Numbers is captivating, like the […]

Making Judaism Welcoming for Everyone

April 22, 2019

In hushed tones, a lady whispers to me that she doesn’t really belong in Torah study. This is not the first time I have heard this sentiment. Unfortunately, the majority of people who walk through the doors of Jewish synagogues, institutes or places of Jewish study believe that they are out of place.                This […]

Marley, Reggae and Passover

April 17, 2019

   With Passover just a few days away, I am thinking about Bob Marley. I fell in love with Bob Marley’s music before I fell in love with Judaism. I was a freshman in college at the University of Vermont, a long way from my home in Louisville, Kentucky and even farther from Kingston, Jamaica […]

Interfaith Solidarity Service After New Zealand Shooting

March 28, 2019

I am so proud to be here tonight, among all of you, standing together as one, against hate and violence. Tonight, Jewish communities would traditionally be gathered in celebration of Shabbat, yet, when given the opportunity to come and stand as allies with our Muslim sisters and brothers, the choice was easy. I wanted to […]

Freedom is an Inside Job

March 27, 2019

With Passover around the corner, my mind naturally turns towards its many themes. This year I am especially interested in how we can relate Passover to our inner lives. The story of the Exodus from Egypt that we retell at Pesach is rich with metaphor. Many years ago, my colleague and close friend Rabbi Margaret […]

Freedom is an Inside Job

March 7, 2019

With Passover around the corner, my mind naturally turns towards its many themes. This year I am especially interested in how we can relate Passover to our inner lives. The story of the Exodus from Egypt that we retell at Pesach is rich with metaphor. Many years ago, my colleague and close friend Rabbi Margaret […]