If you’ve ever seen Rocky, Remember the Titans or Rudy, you know the great thrill that can come from watching the little guy come out on top.
Our portion this week, Vayechi, brings forth the story of yet another underdog. The parashah holds the famous scene of Jacob, blind and on his death bed, blessing his grandson’s, Ephraim and Manasheh, crossing his arms to place his right hand on the younger grandson, Ephraim’s head, and his left hand on Manasheh -- a controversial move given that Manasheh was the first-born!
Rabbi Max and I returned from Israel on Tuesday. After an intense 8 days of meetings, lectures, and study. We met with settlers, Members of Knesset on the right and the left, Palestinians, specialists in the Middle East’s political climate, Reform and Masorti Rabbis, Orthodox rabbis, and Diplomats from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign affairs…just to name a few.
I recently learned that a young one in our congregation doesn’t believe that rainbows are real....This issue of not understanding the reality until we see it laid out before us, has been a topic spread across headlines this week. Actress Alyssa Milano called out to the women of the world on Sunday afternoon; she called for a figurative flood so that humanity could find a rainbow. That figurative flood was to reveal how deep the issues of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and any other unwanted sexualized behavior run for women in this country.
By now you may have noticed that I don’t wear a traditional kippah. You may have also noticed that I do wear a headband/headscarf or a hat. Sometimes the headscarves are small, dark, and hard to see, other times they are colorful, large, and elaborate...
When Max and I lived in Israel in the Summer of 2016 we rode the #13 bus to work each day of the hot Jerusalem summer. When you ride the same bus at about the same time each day you run into some of the same familiar faces. There were the little girls who got on at the stop after us, about 7-years-old, who would look so mature as they scanned their bus cards and then found their usual seat next to the older woman with her market cart. Then there were the familiar faces in the back, sitting with blank stares as they listened to the latest music or podcast on their phones. And the final familiar face was that of the man who would sit, each morning, the third row back on the right side, window seat. He was distinct for his white and blue embellished kippah, his kind eyes, and the sounds he would make due to his Tourettes syndrome.
...we go on this journey toward self-improvement throughout our lives and all the more so in these days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Those yield lights are flashing and they are signaling to us, "Hey, if you haven’t been working on yourself lately, maybe it is time to slow down, take a deep breath, find some quiet, and evaluate.”
In times of destruction and disaster, may we feel comforted by prayer and compelled toward action.
One of the foundational stories of my life happened in the summer after first grade. Read about how an almost-encounter with a raccoon changed the way I see the world.
On Tisha b’Av, the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av, which this year begins on the evening of July 31st, is a day of mourning, a day in which we recall the destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem. The Babylonians destroyed the First Temple in 586 BCE, and the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in 70 CE...
Delivered at Temple Emanu-El on July 7, 2017
Just last week I fell off a wall.
I was about 5 stories in the air, and suddenly, for only a moment, there I was…
Floating, holding my breath, widening my eyes, tightening my core, staring at the colorful rocks and stones, and then I felt the sudden jolt of being caught...