In July 2018 the Beth El Board of Trustees unanimously approved the usage of Live Streaming during Shabbat and Festivals. When the conversation of live streaming began at Beth El I could not have imagined the positive feedback and first-hand stories as to its benefits. At first, we had a few community events that through the use of live streaming we were able to include members of our community not able to make it to Beth El. Then there were a number of private events, a baby naming as well as a … [Read more...]
Just One More Day
Texts from Shabbat discussing Shemini Atzeret Leviticus 23:36 seven days you shall bring offerings by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall observe a sacred occasion and bring an offering by fire to the LORD; it is a solemn gathering: you shall not work at your occupations. Rashi on Leviticus 23:36 a solemn gathering [i.e., God says to Israel,] “I have detained you [to remain] with Me.” This is analogous to a king who invited his sons to feast with him for … [Read more...]
Ethical Will – Yom Kippur 5779
A few years back, after Leor was born, Shira and I knew that we needed to sit down with an attorney and have a will drafted on our behalf. At first, I admit, the thought of doing this was incredibly morbid. The idea of talking about the end of life, at the very beginning of my son’s life, was something that I did not want to think about. Facing questions regarding what happens to our children in our God forbid untimely passing were topics of conversation that I was not prepared to face, and yet … [Read more...]
Faith In Things Unseen – Kol Nidrei 5779
Sir Ken Robinson, a world renown author and speaker on education tells the following story. “I heard a great story recently -- I love telling it -- of a little girl who was in a drawing lesson. She was six, and she was at the back, drawing, and the teacher said this girl hardly ever paid attention, and in this drawing lesson, she did. The teacher was fascinated. She went over to her, and she said, "What are you drawing?” “And the girl said, "I'm drawing a picture of God." And the teacher said, … [Read more...]
The case made against a Jewish State begins and ends with the argument that Judaism is only a religion and not a people. This distinction while subtle is crucial to understand because it allows detractors to argue that the Jewish People are not deserving of a sovereign nation of their own. The argument goes that Israel's adversaries take no issue with Judaism, it is the Jews unwavering belief in peoplehood and nationhood that cannot be accepted. Jerusalem has been our home for over 3500 … [Read more...]
Lets be Consistent
Too often I get asked “Rabbi, why do you care so much about interfaith families, shouldn’t we be spending more on time on Jews” or better yet “Jews who care about Judaism,” that is Jews who married other Jews? The short answer is that I have found that as a people, a community, and a synagogue we can walk and chew gum at the same time. That is to say that as long as we keep our eyes looking forward on our vision, we can meet the needs of the entire Jewish community. Additionally, for the better … [Read more...]
A weekend with Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt, the authors of JewAsian.
Of all the deep and meaningful conversations that took place this weekend, there were two conversations that continue to challenge me. The first was from a conversation on Shabbat morning that revolved around the question of why Jews have left Judaism. The question being what is our responsibility to the unengaged or non-affiliated Jews of Omaha. What resources should we put forth, how should we go about reaching out to them, and assuming we are able to get in touch, what type of experiences … [Read more...]
religious attendance and political views
I encourage everyone to read the following article by Peter Beinart entitled "Breaking Faith". A few points stood out me, curious to hear your thoughts... "Over the past decade, pollsters charted something remarkable: Americans—long known for their piety—were fleeing organized religion in increasing numbers. The vast majority still believed in God. But the share that rejected any religious affiliation was growing fast, rising from 6 percent in 1992 to 22 percent in … [Read more...]
Another day on a long journey.
Lech Lecha teaches us a great deal about our religion, the concept of monotheism, ourselves in regards to our community and the land which the Torah tells us we would one day inherit. The Torah tells us to be a blessing to the world, for many of us, we have been blessed in our lives with a great deal and so we learn that not only are we supposed to be a blessing, but to be a blessing to others as well. My friend, colleague and rabbinical school roommate – Rabbi Josh Rabin wrote the … [Read more...]
I needed Halloween!
Growing up I loved Halloween, what could be better than a night when you get to dress up, stay up late and eat candy. I remember as a kid walking around the neighborhood with my parents and then as I got older walking around with friends. Today our children don’t observe Halloween, like Christmas, Easter or Kwanza…Halloween is not our holiday. (Although it does provide excellent opportunities to buy Purim costumes) Our kids hand out candy, saying hello but they understand that its ok for us … [Read more...]
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