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 […]

Companionship or Death

January 9, 2019

As we approach Tu B’shvat, I am reminded of the story of Honi Hamagil, Honi the Circle-Maker and the carob tree. Honi lived in Israel around the year 100 BCE. He was a shaman and a miracle-worker.  He’s called “the Circle-Maker” because in times of drought he would draw a circle, stand in it and […]

Hanukkah and Hypocrisy

December 5, 2018

Just a few days ago the New York Times published an article about Hanukkah with the following headline: “Hypocrisy of Hanukkah: It’s a holiday that commemorates an ancient battle against assimilation. And it’s the one holiday that most assimilated Jews celebrate.” More interesting than the title is its point that the heroes in the story, […]

Another Day

November 29, 2018

By Rabbi George Gittleman It was a day like any other with the usual raft of email, follow-up phone calls, community building and program planning, a bar mitzvah lesson and a meeting with synagogue staff and then an emergency. “I’ll come now. It will take me about a half hour to get there. I’ll see […]