Sweet and Kosher Pesach

Dear Friends, Typically at this time of year, we wish each other a חג כשר ושמח, a “sweet and kosher Pesach.” (The snarky and witty among us sometimes wish others a חג כשר או שמח “sweet or kosher Pesach.” But that’s another matter.) This year, keeping the mitzvot of Passover and obtaining enough food will not be… Read more »

Jewish Power and Morals

In the last week, the nation state of the Jewish people came to an extraordinary political crossroads that should terrify and repel everyone who, like me, continues to believe in Zionism and Judaism. As widely reported, in order to maximize the number of right-wing seats in the next Knesset (to be elected April 9), Prime… Read more »

RAV CHESED: THE RIGHT WAY TO BUILD SACRED SPACE

Parashat Ki Tisa Religious communities build holy places and fill them with sacred vessels. American liberal Judaism’s great saint (one-time AC member) Abraham Joshua Heschel claimed Judaism is a religion of sacred time, not sacred space. That’s only half true.  Yes, we treasure holy moments, like Shabbat, but we also feel the power of a… Read more »

Reflections on Family “Ghettos of Two”

In May, at the Hebrew Union College commencement, the novelist Michael Chabon encouraged the new Reform rabbis on a revolutionary path. They should “knock down the walls” that confine Jewish community in self-built ghettos, “eruvim of intolerance.” Not just ethnic distinctions between Jew and gentile, but the whole system of sacred boundary-drawing must go. No… Read more »

All Gender Bathroom

My friends, this week we will read Parashat Balak [which just happens to be my bar mitzvah parasha] which focuses on the inspired speeches of the Aramean prophet Bilaam. This exceptional charismatic character intended to curse Israel, but was seized with the divine spirit and blessed them instead. Words that were intended to harm, surprisingly became instruments of love… Read more »