Showing posts from October, 2012

"Noah Voters and Abraham Voters" (Rosh haShanah 2012)

(Parts of this sermon are adapted from my reflections from July 4,  It’s time for show and tell. Let me tell you about this book, which some of you have seen before. This book has been in the possession of our congregation since it was founded in 1905. It’s a High Holiday Mahzor -- published in the Lithuanian city of Vilna, today Vilnius, in the year 1914. But suppose you didn’t know that.  Suppose the title page with the copyright information had been missing. When you look at an old Jewish prayerbook, how can you figure out when and where it was published? Let me show you.  I am reading now from page 194- a page immediately before the Torah is returned to the ark. TRANSLATION: May He Who grants salvation to kings and dominion to rulers, Whose kingdom is a kingdom spanning all eternity…. May He bless, protect, guard, assist, elevate, exalt, and lift upwards Our master C

Yom Kippur 2012: Getting out of our cages

Adapted from my remarks on Yom Kippur evening 2012.  I learned the Mohini story from a piece by Rabbah Sarah Hurwitz in the amazing collection at   Rabbi Sacks' teachings about Ludwig Guttmann are at In early 1960, the zoo was presented with a gift - a giant white tiger named Mohini.   At that time, she was one of only seven giant white tigers in the world, and the only one outside of India.   She was immediately the star attraction at the National Zoo. In that era before zoos made efforts to imitate animals’ natural habitats, Mohini spent her days walking back and forth in a 12 foot by 12 foot cage.   In the mid-60’s, though, the zoo decided to build a larger habitat for Mohini so she could run and explore and live a life more similar to a tiger in the wild. But something surprising happened.   Mohini came into her new habitat but started pacing in a 12-by-12 square in the corner of the habitat, a square of the same dimensions as

statement RE Nazi imagery in Hoboken politics

Fri., Oct. 19, 2012:  Alas, the time has come to issue a new statement about civility in Hoboken politics.  This is the statement I made to the Hoboken Reporter earlier today.  If you don't know what this issue is about, please consider yourself fortunate..... you can find more information in the local Hoboken press. Using Nazi imagery in a local Hoboken election, trivializing the cataclysmic events of World War II, is completely inexcusable.  I would urge whoever is responsible for these projected images to follow the example of the local blogger who, two years ago, publicly apologized for her use of such images on her blog and immediately removed them. Comment added Mon. Oct 22, 2012: Please note that you can find my comment from two years ago at