A Rabbi's World

03/16/2008 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

As I write, a fierce debate is raging among my colleagues, and indeed among Americans, about the relationship between Barack Obama and his minister/mentor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

Americans of all creeds are disturbed by Rev. Wright’s comments- played on what seems like a continuous loop on YouTube- that essentially blame 9/11 on America, and reveal a huge reservoir of toxic anger against insults both real and imagined perpetrated by White America against Black people.

03/24/2008 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

I’ve waited a week or so to write this, mostly because of my disinclination to write things that people will read and respond to by saying “Oh, well, he’s a rabbi, what do you expect?” I don’t at all like when people say things like that. It makes it sound like I- and all rabbis- are somehow less than human, that we don’t know or understand what it means to live in the real world.

But now, having waited, I have to let it out. Does anyone out there in public service still view fidelity within marriage as an active concept?

04/02/2008 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

I have worked with many Jews-by-Choice during my career in the rabbinate, far too many to actually be able to casually come up with a number. Most of my rabbinical work involves rites, rituals and teaching that I’ve done many times before. Conversion is no exception. But while I occasionally will reflect on the challenge of “staying fresh” for bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings and funerals, I never find myself challenged in that way when it comes to someone who is adopting Judaism by choice.

04/08/2008 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

Like many others, I’m sure, I awoke Sunday morning to the terrible news of the death of Rabbi Jacob Rubenstein and his wife Deborah, z”l, in a tragic house fire in Scarsdale. I am horrified by the random and senseless nature of their death, and the loss that it represents for the congregants of his synagogue and for the Jewish community.

But in addition to the communal tragedy, I am deeply saddened by the loss of a man whom I met long ago under very unusual circumstances, and whom I was proud to call a friend and a colleague.

04/14/2008 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

With Pesach in our communal rear view mirror, there is precious little room for us to kick back and relax. Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Memorial Day- is already upon us, and the 60th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel is to be celebrated next week. It is an incredibly dense stretch of the Jewish calendar, taking us on an emotional roller coaster ride from the high of Passover redemption to the low of the Shoah, and back again to the exhilaration of the miracle of Israel’s birth.

04/29/2008 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

Though so many people go away for Pesach these days, we congregational rabbis tend to stay at home, for the most obvious reason. Leaving for a holiday is not really in the job description of a pulpit rabbi, unless you have lots of clergy on staff to cover you. So, with more that a little wistfulness, my wife and I watched a few weeks ago as many of our friends left for here and there- little cleaning, no shopping!!!- and we went about welcoming our children home and hosting both seders, as we have for many years, each for somewhere near twenty-five people.