Mitzvah Weekend: A Weekend On

Winter 2020 Bulletin Article

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?” In 1994, President Clinton linked Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to a National Day of Service. He signed into law the King Holiday and Service Act. When he did so, he quoted Dr. King, that amongst the greatest guidance and focus of Dr. King&...

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Ner Tamid - Keeping the Flame Lit

Winter 2020 Bulletin Article

I still remember the day when I was in 10th grade confirmation learning my Temple’s best kept secret. For as long as I could remember, a light hung above the ark in the sanctuary. The ner tamid, or eternal light, as I learned it was called in religious school. The truth is, I never bothered to ask how the light stayed lit, and never went out. It sort of felt like magic. But as I grew older, I assumed there was some secret to the light staying lit, and on that first night of Confirmation...

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Seeing the Light

Winter 2020 Bulletin Article

In English, when a new book enters existence, we simply say, “It’s published”. Sometimes we use an idiom, along the lines of “The new Margaret Atwood is finally in print,” or, in more librarian terms, “the updated Dictionary is now in circulation”. Hebrew itself has no single word for “publish”; in fact, the only way to talk about a book’s publication in Hebrew is by idiom. The Hebrew phrase for printing a book is hotzaah la-or, l...

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Rabbi Limmer's Encounter Sermon

Erev Shabbat Service

Watch Rabbi Limmer's Erev Shabbat Service Sermon below.

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What Are We Going to Do About It?

Yom Kippur Day 5780

It was a Saturday morning around 8am. I picked up a few dozen donuts and drove to Sinai to deliver breakfast to our 5th and 6th students who spent the night sleeping at the temple. When I arrived, half of the students were barely awake, struggling to pack up their sleeping bags,  and the other half  had a ton of energy, “we’ve been awake since 5, rabbi!”. And by 9, all students had been picked up. I got in my car feeling like the Shabbat sleepover was a success. Th...

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The Massacre Generation

Kol Nidre 5780

I have the honor of speaking on this most sacred of evenings.  Tonight however, I want to share this pulpit with people who don’t share my privilege, but whose wisdom needs, nevertheless, to be heard in our sanctuary. Tonight, I want to share the words of our children.  I begin with the thoughts of a young woman I’ve never met, but whose words cut me to the quick.  Her name is Julia Savoca Gibson: It was last Saturday when it hit me that my entire life has been fram...

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Our Identity, Our Politics

Rosh HaShanah Day 5780

There is no question it has been a bewildering week, a manic month, a disorienting year.  We gather this first morning of our New Year in turbulent times, when the metaphorical waters of our world seem rockier than the waves raging on our lakefront.  In uncertain seasons as these, we turn to our Jewish heritage in hopes it might provide us a steadying anchor.  We are filled with questions; we turn to tradition for answers.  This morning, I do want to get to those answers a...

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Behold We are a Stiff-Necked People

Erev Rosh HaShanah 5780

“Welcome to Elberta Michigan, First Settlers John and Caroline Greenwood 1855.”   This summer, I went on a 2 week bike trip with a number of high school students, from Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute, the URJ Summer camp in Wisconsin.  For two weeks we cycled around the Northern half of Lake Michigan, through Wisconsin, and the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. We cycled along the picturesque coast, through farmland, and small tourist towns. As we entered e...

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The History of Flags and Chicago Sinai

News and Views

You never know what to expect when you ask a Rabbi a question…. To illustrate, I’ll share a question that was asked of me two years ago. The literal question of the e-mail subject line was, “Can we visit with you?” But the real question was written in the message: “We wish to propose having the flag of Israel in the sanctuary for your consideration and support”. This was not the first time I was asked this question at Chicago Sinai Congregation. Durin...

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Ensuring Freedom for All: A Letter from our Rabbis

As we welcome this anniversary of our nation’s independence, we rightfully celebrate the unique liberties we enjoy in America. At the same time, our Jewish heritage reminds us that our celebrations of liberty should compel us to work for the liberation of all. This July 4th is especially bitter as it arrives amidst horrifying news of squalor and degradation emerging from the detention centers at which the very country we celebrate is confining those who seek the freedoms we enjoy. We h...

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