Sermons

Kol Nidre Sermon 2017

On this very night, exactly 90 years ago in 1927, the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan was leading Kol Nidre services at his synagogue in New York City. What made this Kol Nidre service very unique was Kaplan’s omission of the Kol Nidre prayer. A Kol Nidre Service without the Kol Nidre prayer? Read More …

Posted in sermons | Comments Off on Kol Nidre Sermon 2017

Rosh Hashanah Sermon Day 2 2017

On this Rosh Hashanah, 5778, what are the greatest challenges facing our generation as Jews and as Americans? Is it the rise of anti-Semitism? Is it the Palestinians or ISIS? Is it intermarriage? While these issues may feel like existential threats, I believe the greatest threat that faces us is Jewish illiteracy and indifference. Most Read More …

Posted in sermons | Comments Off on Rosh Hashanah Sermon Day 2 2017

Rosh Hashanah Sermon Day 1 2017

Free Speech Versus Good Speech On this Rosh Hashanah, as we celebrate the creation of the world, let us remember that G-d brought the world into being by speaking. Speech has been described as the “holiest of the holy.” The Book of Proverbs teaches that “life and death lie in the power of the tongue.” Read More …

Posted in sermons | Comments Off on Rosh Hashanah Sermon Day 1 2017

Erev Rosh Hashanah Sermon 2017

We are a people of words. We say that G-d creates the world with words, and we don’t just take those words at face value. We interpret them; and in doing so, we add more words. It is for these reasons that all of this year’s High Holiday sermons will revolve around the concept of Read More …

Posted in sermons | Comments Off on Erev Rosh Hashanah Sermon 2017

Yom Kippur Morning Sermon 2017

We’ve now reached the Avodah section of our service. In Pirke Avot, Ethics of our Fathers, we read that “the world stands on 3 things: Torah, Avodah, and Gemilut Chasadim” – or to put it in English: wisdom, work, and acts of loving-kindness. Avodah is translated as “work,” but there’s more to it than that. Read More …

Posted in sermons | Comments Off on Yom Kippur Morning Sermon 2017

Yom Kippur Morning Sermon (2016)

Throughout this year’s high holidays, my sermons have connected the major Jewish lifecycle events with the High Holidays.  On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, when the world was born and we read of Isaac’s birth, I spoke about birth and children.  On the second day, with the binding of Isaac as our Torah reading, Read More …

Posted in sermons | Comments Off on Yom Kippur Morning Sermon (2016)

Kol Nidre Sermon (2016)

On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, we read about the birth of Isaac and the birth of the world, thus my sermon was about birth.  On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, inspired by the Torah reading of the binding of Isaac, I sermonized about adolescence, the Bar Mitzvah, and the power of choices.  Read More …

Posted in sermons | Comments Off on Kol Nidre Sermon (2016)

Rosh Hashanah Day 2 Sermon (2016)

Intro The Talmud teaches that Rosh Hashanah is the Day of Judgment.  But how can we be judged on the first day of the year? Wouldn’t it make more sense to be judged on the last day of every year?  How can we be judged for things we haven’t done yet? In yesterday’s Torah portion, Read More …

Posted in sermons | Comments Off on Rosh Hashanah Day 2 Sermon (2016)

Rosh Hashanah Day 1 Sermon (2016)

Intro Shana tova and welcome.  Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the Yamim Nora’im, the Days of Awe, also known as the High Holy Days or High Holidays.  This 10-day period is meant to be introspective – thinking about the past year, and planning how we can make this coming year better for ourselves and Read More …

Posted in sermons | Comments Off on Rosh Hashanah Day 1 Sermon (2016)

Erev Rosh Hashanah Sermon (2016)

Intro Shana tova and welcome. What does the Torah have to say about Rosh Hashanah? Interestingly, not very much!  All it says is the first day of the 7th month is a holy day. Work is prohibited, special offerings are to be brought to the Temple, and it’s a day of sounding, though the meaning Read More …

Posted in sermons | Comments Off on Erev Rosh Hashanah Sermon (2016)