Shabbat Message - How We Gather

It has been another surreal week in our community, the country, and the world.  I would like to begin by offering a note about those who are suffering from Covid-19, both those afflicted with the illness and those who are related and connected to those with it.  I was watching a news report of a man who was in the ICU with the Coronavirus.  He asked his doctors what they could do for him medically, and with tears in their eyes they said, "Pray."  If you know of anyone with the virus, please add their names to this list so we can pray for them.  CLICK HERE FOR THE LIST.
Our world has ground to a halt, and the things that came instinctually to us is no longer allowed.  To embrace others, to gather with others, to be out in public; all of these acts that brought us joy can now harm us and others.  We made the difficult decision to completely close our building, and we moved our offerings online (please see the box below).  But I wanted to share a video from our son and daughter,…

The Evolution of Law by Louis Rosner

The Evolution of Law  (For Keshet Shabbat at Congregation Shaarei Kodesh) Parashat Mishpatim 5780/2020 By Louis Rosner

Click here to read more about Keshet and their campaign in Florida  People often think of the law as clear-cut - - as timeless - - or chiseled in stone.
We think of Charlton Heston on top of Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments in hand.
We think of the United States Constitution - browned around the edges, resting under glass at a museum.
There is a permanence in both our American and Jewish legal traditions. A black and white quality on which we all rely. You run through a red light - you get a ticket. You commit securities fraud - you go to jail based on sentencing guidelines. Or in this week’s Parasha of Mishpatim, your ox wanders into your neighbor’s vineyard - you pay the neighbor back for the value of the destroyed crops.

This all seems fair. But, it leads me to one of the portion’s most famous verses: “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand,”…

We Carry Our People In Our Bones© BeShalach 2020/5780 - Reflections from Guatemala

We Carry Our People In Our Bones© BeShalach 2020/5780
The following Dvar Torah was delivered at Congregation Shaarei Kodesh after my return from Guatemala with American Jewish World Services as part of the Global Justice Fellowship.Fourteen Jewish clergy members are part of a nation-wide cohort. For more information about this program, please click here.
Let’s say you were a slave, and you were being freed from Egypt, and you could only bring one thing with you, what would it be?
(21st-century rules apply, but if you bring a cell phone, you better make sure someone has a solar charger!No need to mention your family, they will be there with you.)
We performed this exercise on our trip.Many people said the things you said, phones, letters, and two people said, their dogs.
One of the people who works with AJWS in Guatemala, I can’t share his name unfortunately, told us that this wasn’t a hypothetical question for him.He told us that the only physical things he has from some of his family …

Eyes Wide Open From Guatemala

It is great to be back from my trip with American Jewish World Service - AJWS to Guatemala.  Although the trip was only seven days long, it seemed longer because of the transformative experiences I had.  I will be sharing some of these experiences this Shabbat and farther on into the future.  For my weekly message, I would like to share a dvar torah/kavannah I gave to our group last week (with some adaptations).  I look forward to speaking with all of you this Shabbat at  Congregation Shaarei Kodesh.  

(Photo credit Christopher Dilts/AJWS)

As a father of three children under 10, 'sleeping in' has become a distant memory - rarely do I sleep past 8 am, either because of the sun light coming into my room, or a little face staring at me waiting until I wake up. But I found a solution - an eye mask. Finding the right eye mask was a challenge, until I found this one - it's special not only because it is comfortable, but because you can actually open your eyes while wearing it. Fin…