Bereshit - Weekly Torah Portion

Last Wednesday evening entailed for me a moving event where the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism was so kind to host an event to celebrate my departure from the position of chairperson as well as the launch of the book of a collection of my sermons delivered over the past decade, “Ha’azinu Mi’BeReshit – Listen from the Beginning”. After that I spoke to our own Rabbi Edgar Nof who leads the “Natan Ya” Congregation and he suggested that I devote the next year of sermons to learning of the Haftarah of each week. I decided to accept this challenge because I believe it is wise to keep to traditions on one hand and challenge them on the other hand. The Big Bang of the creation de

Yom Kippur 5780 - Neilah

It is time to close. In a short while we will conclude our Yom Kippur services for the year 5780 and go back to the routine of the Jewish calendar. This is our last opportunity for joy on this special day. A festival the center of which is a twenty five hour long fast. A day in which we are asked to look inwards so that we can improve ourselves as viewed from the outside. A festival where we give up the consumption of physical food to ingest spiritual food instead. Its adjournment time. The sun is about to set. Our thoughts may be already wandering to the post-fast hours, building a sukkah, dancing on Simchat Torah. We sign off this day with a spiritual “high”, a victory of the soul over the

Yom Kippur 5780 - Minchah

It was on this day one year ago that I first suggested to you a new reading of the story of the prophet Jonah. I proposed that maybe we need to interpret his story in a different way from the traditional story that we are so accustomed to hear. I submitted that we could separate Jonah the prophet from his prophecy in that he is unable to comprehend his prophecy and therefore fails to see it was actually successful. In this past year, and especially while working on the book that collected some of my sermons delivered over the past decade, I revisited this thought and concluded it should be further developed. The story basically goes that Jonah was called to deliver a prophecy upon the people

Yom Kippur 5780 - Shacharit

The traditional reading from the Torah for Shachrit of Yom Kippur is from Leviticus chapter 16. It discusses the way to make atonement, a process which we shall still attend to as the service reaches Mosaf. The Council of Reform and Progressive Rabbis in Israel (Maram), chose to elect another reading, one which we have actually read less than two weeks ago. “You stand today, all of you, before the Lord your God”. Instead of discussing atonement we must talk about our moral conduct. We realize that there is no person who is without sin however, there is a place, before talking of repentance, to discuss once again the moral behavior we are expected of. As the reading begins we learn that all a

Yom Kippur 5780 - Maariv

Yom Kippur has engulfed Israel. A twenty five hours’ fast is ahead of us. Some of it we shall be spending in our synagogue, some of it at home, some of that time sleeping in the hope that daylight will not jump upon us too early. When we gather again for Shachrit, most of the day will be behind us. We will repeat prayers we have read, uttered and sang last year, hoping that we will be able to be here again next year for another repeat of this experience. We hope that they year stretching long ahead of us will be better than the year just past, and at least not worse. A long fast accompanies the special prayers of the Day of Atonement. In less than twenty four hours we will meet again for Nei

Vayelech - Weekly Torah Portion

We are just about the end. Moses admits, “I am a hundred and twenty years old today; I am no longer able to come and go” and therefore it is time to finish up and change the leadership. At this opportunity Moses orders, “At the end of seven years, at the time of the year of remission of debts, at the Feast of Booths, when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place which He will choose, you shall read this law in front of all Israel in their hearing. Assemble the people, the men and the women and children and the alien who is in your town, so that they may hear and learn and fear the Lord your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this law.” These people are th

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