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History: The Hanukkah Story

12/12/2017 04:57:32 PM


Unlike many Jewish holidays, Hanukkah (also known as the Festival of Lights) is not mentioned in the Bible. The historical events upon which the celebration is based are recorded in Maccabees I and II, two books contained within a later collection of writings known as the Apocrypha. Although Hanukkah is considered a “minor” Jewish festival, today it ranks—along with Passover and Purim—as one of the most beloved...Read more...

Joseph: Mensch or Menace?

12/05/2017 12:33:55 PM


November 28, 2017
by Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, Ph.D.

With this week’s Torah portion, we enter the final four (Torah portions, that is) of the Book of Genesis. From here on in, the narrative predominantly follows Joseph and his brothers as their dysfunctional family takes a journey downward—first to the bottom of a low pit and Joseph’s individual captivity, then to the land of Egypt and subsequent collective servitude. Like the...Read more...

The Struggle of Faith (Vayishlach 5778)

11/28/2017 03:33:52 PM


November 28, 2017
by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

There are Mozarts and there are Beethovens. Which are you?

I have only the most amateur knowledge of music, but the impression one gets about Mozart is that, from him, music flowed. There is something effortless and effervescent about his compositions. They are not “sicklied o’er by the pale cast of thought.” He wrote at speed. He carried the worries of the world...Read more...

Gratitude and Action for a Just World: A Thanksgiving Guide

11/21/2017 09:21:16 AM


Tuesday, November 21, 2017
From the staff at American Jewish World Service

Reflections for the Thanksgiving table:

Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude. We are grateful for all the good that we have experienced this year, from food to family to moments of joy. We are also grateful for the strength that has enabled us to confront profound challenges in our lives, our country and around the globe.

Thanksgiving echoes the...


11/13/2017 12:40:07 PM


Monday, November 13, 2017
by James Carlson

Last month, Walter Isaacson lectured at the JCC on the subject of his latest biography, Leonardo da Vinci. It is understandable that while he was lecturing on da Vinci, the word
"genius" would be heard frequently — frequently enough, in fact, that lsaacson's remarks incorporated the thesis of another book, The Geography of Genius. 

The Geography of Genius explains...

Praying for Luck

11/07/2017 03:43:12 PM


D'var Torah by: Rabbi Elizabeth Dunsker

There is a problem in our Torah portion. It's a theological quandary that I believe plagues us all at one time or another regardless of our real beliefs in God, and it's widespread. It has to do with luck, chance, coincidence, and magical uncertainty. Our problem is the question of what this has to do with prayer.

On his way to find a wife for Isaac, Abraham's servant arrives at a...Read more...

Dvar Tzedek: Parshat Vayera

10/31/2017 01:15:40 PM


by Liel Leibovitz

Even in a book as rich with astonishing moments as Genesis, Parshat Vayera is hard to top. At its heart is a story of a man wrestling with God, with grave consequences: from their struggle, the very notion of moral behavior is born, as well as the spirit that propels each of us into action for the common good.As the story begins, God informs Abraham that the cities of the plain, Sodom and Gomorrah, will soon be...Read more...

Lech L'cha: Choosing to Be Chosen Genesis 12:1-17:27

10/24/2017 01:57:22 PM


This week we are inaugurating a new tradition for the weekly d’var Torah in our Under the Dome e-news update. We are excited to broaden the content by featuring clergy from the Union for Reform Judaism as well as the greater Jewish world. We are living in an unprecedented age of access to Judaism’s greatest thinkers and we are looking forward to learning from them together as a community. We...Read more...

High Holiday Highlights: Part 4

10/11/2017 08:09:31 AM


October 10, 2017
By Cantor David Frommer & Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf

The festivities of Sukkot are often seen as a much-needed tonic after the gravity of Yom Kippur. Many of the Yom Kippur rituals like fasting and wearing white are representative of death, and are meant to imbue us with a sense of urgency in our process of cheshbon hanefesh, spiritual accounting, and t’shuva, returning to a better path for the new year....Read more...

High Holiday Highlights: Part 3

10/04/2017 07:55:27 AM


October 3, 2017
by Cantor David Frommer & Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf

What a journey! Almost three weeks ago, we began our High Holiday season with an unforgettable S’lichot experience, and this past weekend we concluded Yom Kippur with a packed sanctuary for our Ne’ilah service.  In the final hours of Yom Kippur, you can imagine that our energy was starting to wane, but seeing over 1000 of you in the congregation...Read more...

Sat, December 16 2017 28 Kislev 5778