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Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

08/15/2017 04:43:12 PM


August 14, 2017
by Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf

“I have set before you blessing and curse,” we read in the first line of this week’s Torah portion, Re’eh. (Why couldn't God just have created blessing and stopped there?) The next two verses instruct us that it is human behavior that will determine whether we experience blessing or curse. As violence and bigotry seem to be consuming our society, it is time to learn...Read more...

Is this the Chukat of the Torah which the Lord has commanded?

08/15/2017 04:42:10 PM


June 27, 2017
by Nancy Sheftel-Gomes

The name of this week's Torah portion, Chukat, is often used to refer to the category of Mitzvot that are hard for us to understand. These are Mitzvot that have a greater purpose and that we follow out of love of the wisdom of God and the heavenly mandates. The phrase repeats in the parshat, “This is the chukat of the Torah which the Lord has commanded.”

The mystery surrounds the...

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

08/08/2017 02:07:58 PM


August 8, 2017
by Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf

Walking in to the Marin Osher JCC a few days ago, I passed through the biblical garden. A biblical garden is one filled with the bounty described in this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Ekev. It describes a rich and beautiful land that was the final destination for the Israelites. “God is bringing you into a good land, a land with streams and springs and fountains issuing from...Read more...

Shabbat Nachamu

08/01/2017 10:43:52 PM


August 1, 2017
by Nancy Sheftel-Gomes

Rabbi Joseph Klein, of blessed memory, זצ״ל, taught us in confirmation class at Temple Emanuel in Worcester, Massachusetts that Jewish education was a lifelong path. At the age of almost 16, somewhat at the end of my religious school education, it was impossible to know what that actually meant.

As a Jewish educator, I have called upon Rabbi Klein’s wisdom many times- with...Read more...

New Meaning for an Ancient Observance

07/25/2017 06:59:31 PM


July 25, 2017
by Cantor David Frommer

Here’s a fun trivia question that’s sure to make you the life of the cocktail party: When is the only other full day of fasting in the Jewish year besides Yom Kippur? If you answered Tisha B’Av, congratulations—you’re just about as qualified to serve on Sherith Israel’s clergy team as I am! If you didn’t know the answer, don’t worry—most Reform Jews wouldn’t have known it...Read more...

A Crossroads for Israel-Diaspora Relations

07/18/2017 04:58:50 PM


July 18, 2017
by Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf

Last week, Cantor Frommer and I had the opportunity to meet with David Bernstein.  (Thanks to Laura and Steve Olson for arranging the meeting.) David is the Director of Development  & Overseas Relations for the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism. He grew up at Sherith Israel, made aliyah 38 years ago and has been involved in building the Israeli Reform...Read more...

Standing Up Against Injustice

07/11/2017 03:26:19 PM


July 11, 2017
by Craig Etlin, President

When Rabbi Graf asked me to write a drash this summer, I thought this would be a great opportunity to examine the Torah portion from my Bar Mitzvah. It was Pinchas, this week's portion. How nice to have the opportunity to consider Pinchas 44 years after my Bar Mitzvah!

God commands Moses and Eleazar, the high priest, to conduct a census of the 12 tribes and the clans...Read more...

July Fourth—And the Jews

06/29/2017 05:51:23 PM


July 4, 2017
by Rabbi Larry Raphael

I loved this special drash last year from our rabbi emeritus. It captures the essence of our American and Jewish identities on this important day of national celebration. Happy birthday, America! —Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf

The celebration of our nation’s founding is July 4 and I share with you a story that demonstrates this kinship between America and its Jews. It comes from...Read more...

Words, Power and Choices

06/27/2017 02:02:24 PM


June 20, 2017
by Cantor David Frommer

We’ve all heard the famous maxim that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” and while we don’t know who actually wrote it, it doesn’t seem like the kind of saying that would come from Jewish tradition. That’s because Judaism has consistently taught, from its earliest days and constructs, that words do have power—both to create and to destroy....Read more...

Questions and Farewell

06/14/2017 06:59:40 AM


June 14, 2017
by Rabbi Julie Saxe-Taller

The biblical God has a habit of asking rhetorical questions.  Often the questions point us toward self-reflection, such as when God asks Adam, “Where are you?” “Who told you that you were naked?” And, “Did you eat of the tree from which I had forbidden you to eat?” Surely God isn’t really asking these questions in order to gain information. Similarly, God surely knows the...Read more...

Mon, August 21 2017 29 Av 5777