The Witness of Conscience

The Witness of Conscience Our tradition tells of a certain rabbi with a strict sense of justice. Far and wide he was known as an incorruptible judge. One day his own wife raised an outcry because she believed that the housekeeper had stolen a piece of jewelry that was of...

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STARTING OVER

STARTING OVER  Every morning, weekday or Shabbat, we Jews traditionally praise G!d as m’chadesh ma’asei v’reishit, “the Renewer of Creation.”[1] G!d fashions something new each and every day. That includes renewing us, so that we can live out in wholeness what life may bring us this, and every, day. We...

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The Menorah, the Maccabees, and Us: A Spark of the Divine

The Menorah, the Maccabees, and Us: A Spark of the Divine  On Hanukkah the central religious action we undertake is the lighting of the candles. The tiny candles have always stirred powerful feelings among us. As Dr. Paul Romanoff[1] wrote: For centuries the Menorah burned constantly.           In its light...

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Praying for the Peace of Jerusalem and Israel

Praying for the Peace of Jerusalem and Israel  On Shabbat and holy days, our Sephardic and Mizrachi sisters and brothers recite Psalm 122, a late Psalm, in which holy day pilgrims in Jerusalem reflect on what it might have been like for pilgrims of prior eras to be in Jerusalem....

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T’shuvah: Time for a Tune-Up

T’shuvah: Time for a Tune-Up  The buzz word during these days of preparation for the High Holy Days is the Hebrew word t’shuvah. Most translations render the word “repentance,” but that is, at best, a pallid attempt to convey the richness of the Hebrew original. The English “repentance” means “feeling...

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Rabbi’s Recent Letter to Our Am HaYam Family

Rabbi’s Recent Letter to Our Am HaYam Family Dear Am HaYam Family, On a recent Shabbat, we read in the Torah, Parashat Va-Et-chanan, the following: וָאֶתְחַנַּ֖ן אֶל־יְהֹוָ֑ה בָּעֵ֥ת הַהִ֖וא לֵאמֹֽר׃ I [Moses] sought out myself to G!d at that time.  Rabbi Israel Salanter, the great 19th-century figure, posed the question,...

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No, Too, Is an Answer

No, Too, Is an Answer  A man slipped on the escalator and started sliding to the bottom. Halfway down he collided with a woman, knocking her over. Together the two continued to the bottom. When they reached the main floor, the woman, still rather dazed, continued to sit on the...

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Jewish Simplicity

Jewish Simplicity A lion can actually capture, kill, and eat a field mouse. However, it turns out that the energy to do that is greater than the caloric content of the mouse. So, if a lion spent the whole day hunting and eating field mice… it would slowly starve itself...

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How to Experience G!d

How to Experience G!d It is important to realize that G!d is to be experienced. It is equally important to understand that G!d cannot be captured in any one thing, nor reduced to a single moment or phenomenon. We sometimes think we can contain G!d in a thing, and thereby...

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The Chutzpah of the Book of Ruth

    The Chutzpah of the Book of Ruth (A Shavuot Teaching led by Rabbi Sacks on May 26, 2023)   Consider: What do you think is the theme of the Book of Ruth? Ideas: chesed (lovingkindness), conversion to or reaffirmation of Judaism, loyalty. What we don’t point out is...

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