From the Rabbi's Desk

July 14, 2017

Remember this phrase from television many, many years ago? The robot warns Will Robinson that there is danger ahead of them. I offer this same warning today. It is appropriate to look at this story, since at our Shabbat worship we are sharing all we learn from sharing the world with God’s other creatures.   If you are too easily offended by what is happening in our country and perhaps...

June 23, 2017

Dear Lizzie –   In more than 30 years of serving congregations, I have never missed a wedding or a Bar or Bat Mitzvah until I missed yours. Words cannot express how sad I feel that my car accident kept me from standing with you as you celebrated this most important life cycle event.   I was incredibly proud of how well you prepared and how mature you were as we finished practicing – and I have...

May 26, 2017

This last week, Karen Friedman, President of Congregation Beth Shalom, and I attended a meeting put together by the Jewish Community Relations Council. This meeting focused on a program run by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department called the Digital Sandbox. This program is a joint effort of the police and community organizations to help the police and other first responders serve...

May 12, 2017

Jewish tradition teaches us about the notion of Derech Eretz, which is usually translated as “the way of the world”.  However, much more than that, Derech Eretz is the code of proper behavior that binds us to each other as human beings and as Jews.  Derech Eretz is traditionally seen as even more important than Torah. Even before we live our lives in accordance with mitzvot, we must live with...

May 5, 2017

Any Yom Kippur in Spokane, Washington, 50 years ago would have found the shul bursting at the seams for Kol Nidre, of course, and for Yizkor.  As Yizkor was about to begin, every year an exodus would occur, as all the children and those whose parents were still alive were ushered out of the sanctuary for, what seemed to us, a well-deserved break.   Maybe you had that same experience.  ...

April 29, 2017
This last Monday, April 24, 2017, the Indianapolis Jewish Community commemorated Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. The event was hosted by the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, and their Rabbi, Brett Krichiver, did an outstanding job of putting the event together, which included Rabbis, Cantors and community organization professionals from throughout Indianapolis.   I was curious as to how...
April 14, 2017

For many Reform Jews, Passover is the High Holy Days of the spring. Like Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the family gathers together more than any other holiday, and while the High Holy Days focus on spiritual renewal, Passover focuses on the first of the most important historical events in our long and glorious history. These are the two highlights of the Jewish calendar.   However, as Rabbi...

March 24, 2017

This coming Friday, March 24th, Congregation Beth Shalom will commemorate the 106th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire which killed 146 mostly Jewish and Italian garment workers in 1911. The scope of the tragedy focused the nation’s attention on the dangerous working conditions that sweatshop employees had to endure while receiving subpar wages.   While the Triangle Fire led to some...

March 17, 2017

For a holiday that seems to be directed so very much towards our children, and so very little towards adults, Purim sure does raise a lot of troubling issues.   Esther is the only book in the Tanach that does not contain the name of God. The traditional explanation is that God is acting behind the scenes, but that is just not very convincing.   All through our scriptures people are bowing down...

February 24, 2017
In high school I was a geek. My fellow geeks and I built a radio tower out of empty beer cans-–Bob’s father was an alcoholic. We also re-labeled all the chemicals in the chemistry lab because we thought the student teacher was too smart to waste his time teaching us, and we proudly upheld the Order of the Geek – whatever that was.   I was also very religious. I grew up in an Orthodox environment...

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