The Wilderness of Our Lives

The Wilderness of Our Lives

This week’s parasha is Re’eh. It comprises chapters 11-16 in Deuteronomy, and takes place at the end of the forty years in the wilderness. Moses is preparing the Israelites for life in the Promised Land, reminding them of God’s most…

Reflecting on the 1st Yahrzeit of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC

Reflecting on the 1st Yahrzeit of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC

Orlando. Dallas. Baton Rouge. So many acts of gun violence since, a little more than a year ago, on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof entered the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, spent an hour with the community there…

Rewards and Blessings

Rewards and Blessings

Maybe two years ago, Tyler Levan, who’s now nine years old, walked into his parents’ bedroom shortly after they’d tucked him and said, “I’m afraid of the monsters and bears.” Don, Tyler’s dad, then did what his father had done…

An Akhashverosh for Our Time?

An Akhashverosh for Our Time?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” That’s the first amendment to the United States Constitution. Thomas Jefferson called it “a wall of separation between church and state.” We Jews love…

Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing

Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing

Zeke and May had been married for over seventy years. Zeke was 101 years old and his wife was 99. One hot afternoon, as they sat together on their front porch rocking away, the old man, who was nearly deaf,…

Shed a Lotta Light!

Shed a Lotta Light!

There’s a very old Jewish story about a woman who’d pretty much had it up to here with her life. It seemed she had nothing but tzuris and couldn’t find a way through the mess. So she went to see…

The Honor of Being Alive and Part of Creation

The Honor of Being Alive and Part of Creation

Holmes and Watson go on a camping trip. After dinner and a bottle of wine, they lie down for the night and go to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes up and nudges his faithful friend. “Watson, look up at…

The Phone Lines of Human Connection

The Phone Lines of Human Connection

Woody Allen once said, “In California, they don’t throw their garbage away. They make it into TV shows.” While much of television really is mindless drivel, we certainly love it. It’d be good to limit how much we watch, lest…

Crawling to Peace (Memorial Day 2015)

Crawling to Peace (Memorial Day 2015)

One of the last books Jonah read before his death in 2009 was Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, about the author’s experiences as a U.S. soldier in Vietnam. I have wanted, and I recently found time, to read it….

Noah: Pathway to a Second Chance

Noah: Pathway to a Second Chance

I offered this sermon during Kol Nidre evening 5775 (Oct 3, 2014). Billy Fiddler on the Roof is coming back to Broadway this year. That’s good news because everybody should see it at least once. So get tickets for the…