Science versus Religion?

Science versus Religion?

I offered this sermon during Rosh Hashanah morning 5775 (Sep 25, 2014). Billy During the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, three men were to be executed by guillotine: a rabbi, a priest, and a rationalist skeptic. The rabbi was the…

Lighting Up the World

Lighting Up the World

In this past weekend’s New York Times Sunday Review, an article appeared on the subject of lighthouses. James Taylor used to sing about lighthouses: “I’m a lonely lighthouse, not a ship out in the night, watching the sea. She’s come halfway…

The B’nai Mitzvah Legacy of 9/11

The B’nai Mitzvah Legacy of 9/11

I imagine that for most of us, there is no story we have heard as many times as that of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt, their forty years of desert wandering, and subsequent entrance into the Promised Land. Each spring,…

Israel and the Palestinians: Piecing Together Peace

Israel and the Palestinians: Piecing Together Peace

In this week’s Torah parasha, Mass’ei, the Israelites are finishing up their forty years of desert wandering and are preparing to enter the Promised Land. “The Promised Land.” Promised by God, our tradition tells us. And further, we were not…

Of Rockets and Screaming Children

Of Rockets and Screaming Children

Note: I wrote this as the violence began escalating between Israel and Gaza. While events in the Middle East are dominating the news cycle, I didn’t want to abandon my excitement for speaking about camp and science and Jewish life. Nevertheless,…

This Shouldn’t Be Extraordinary

This Shouldn’t Be Extraordinary

On Friday evening, February 28 (2014), something remarkable and beautiful happened on our bimah that I’ve never seen before. I hope I’ll see it many times again. A Muslim, in particular a Palestinian Muslim, participated in our Shabbat Evening service….

Who Is Perfect?

Who Is Perfect?

I can’t believe I missed it by one verse! I want to talk about Exodus 27:20, which turns out not to be from this week’s parashah, Terumah, but is the very 1st verse in next week’s parashah, Tetzaveh. Verse 20…

Blessings from a Bolt of Lightning

Blessings from a Bolt of Lightning

From January through June, I was privileged by my congregation to receive a sabbatical from my rabbinical duties. Among its many renewing experiences was a trip this past February to Israel. Ellen and Katie and Aiden and I, along with…

Religion as Metaphor (or, at the least, as a Broadway Musical)

Religion as Metaphor (or, at the least, as a Broadway Musical)

A couple of nights ago, my family was delighted to attend a cabaret performance by Sheera Ben-David at Feinstein’s in New York City. Besides the power and beauty of Sheera’s performance, she was backed by a band which included her…

By the Numbers

By the Numbers

Years back, I read in The Washington Post (“The Shortwave and the Calling,” David Segal, Aug 3, 2004) about something really weird on the radio. In 1992, a guy named Akin Fernandez, who’s always been into collecting off-beat stuff, began recording middle-of-the-night broadcasts…