Rabbi Limmer’s Sermon: Video about Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise

Shabbat Services

On Friday, April 5, Rabbi Limmer spoke about Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise. You can view the YouTube video he spoke about here.

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Moral Resistance and Spiritual Authority


Chicago Book Launch of "Moral Resistance and Spiritual Authority" -  Our Jewish Obligation to Social Justice co-written by Rabbi Seth Limmer, Rabbi Shoshanah Conover and Rabbi Edwin Goldberg. To listen to Rabbi Limmer's interview with Jay Shefsky on Chicago Tonight on 12/28/18 click on READ MORE below, and then click here.

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Letter from Rabbi Limmer in Light of Today’s Tragic Events

Today was a painful day. Today, a murderer entered a synagogue, a house of worship—a literal sanctuary from the worries of our world—unleashed the contents of a deadly weapon, and stole the divine gift of human life. As I write these words, I believe at least eight human beings have been murdered at Congregation Tree of Life in Pittsburgh, PA. I am shocked. I am dismayed. I am horrified. I learned today’s awful news while riding on a bus through the Jordan Valley on the road North from the Dead Sea along the Jordan river. “Rabbi, did you hear the news,” asked my friend Pastor Chris Harris of Bright Star Church, adding, “I am so sorry.” Immediately, my other friends on the bus—twelve Pastors from Chicago along with two other church leaders—immediately offered their sympathies. This was moments after two heavily-armed Israeli soldiers walked through our bus to conduct a...

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Something New Under the Sun

Yom Kippur Day 5779

To watch Rabbi Greene give her sermon, click here.  “They called her a THOT,” the female counselors shared one night during a staff meeting this summer. “The 6th grade boys, they called a THOT” “What’s a THOT?”, I chimed in? The counselors giggled at my naive question. “No but, really, I asked again, what’s a “THOT”? They all paused sheepishly, until the Unit Head took one for the team, “Rabbi,” she said as she rolled her eyes, “it’s an acronym, T-H-O-T, THOT, ‘That Ho Over There.” I froze. So did the laughter. And this is where it all begins. October 5th, 2017 revealed the news coverage of the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal. Ten days later, actress Alyssa Milano posted the following tweet, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write, ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” And within hours, minutes, seconds, posts emerged...from everywhere. Here are just a...

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Stop the Silence

Kol Nidre 5779

To watch Rabbi Limmer give his sermon click here.  Kol Nidre is a night of quiet.  It commences our signature ceremony of introspection: this evening we examine our souls, search out our faults, and begin to change our ways.  For that, we create quiet.  We silence our voices as the music of Kol Nidre rushes over us.  We pause for silent reflection, silent prayer, silent remembrance, silent confession.  We turn down the noise of our physical needs, refraining from food and drink, from activity and exercise.  It will only be with the blast of the shofar tomorrow at nightfall that we break our spell of quietude just moments before we break the fast. Ages ago, Yom Kippur was quite a noisy affair.[i]  Crowds filled the Temple so far before dawn the rooster didn’t even need to crow.  In a public pageant of pomp, sacrifices were staged, blood was sprinkled, communal confessions...

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Enough, Already! Or, For My Sake The World Was Created

Rosh Hashanah Day 5779

To watch Rabbi Limmer give his sermon, click here.  It’s time someone said it: Enough already.  Really, it’s been enough. It’s a hard world out there.  We know. Regardless of which paper gets delivered to your door, which social media feeds you check during the day, or which cable news channel you turn on at night, being awake and attentive is an exhausting experience. So let me say it: Enough already: enough of politics, of war, of tragedy.  We see those every day. But today, we come here to celebrate.  We want a taste of something sweet, of something new, of some renewal in the form of Rosh HaShanah.  We come to the sanctuary this morning to differentiate that brutal world outside from this sacred space we share. Can’t we have just one happy day? Turns out, it’s a hard world in here, too.  So much of what we’ve heard...

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Embracing Awe

Erev Rosh Hashanah 5779

To watch Rabbi Zinn give his sermon, click here.  A number of years ago, when I was teaching elementary school in Los Angeles,  I led a field trip for my 6th Grade student to Boston.  When we arrived at our hotel, after a long day of travel, after waking up early in the morning, shepherding these students through the chaotic airport, enduring a long cross country flight, struggling to collect our bags and find our way to our hotel, we finally arrived late in the evening, exhausted from our day of travel, ready to go to sleep.  And together we walked into the lobby of our hotel.  We were surprised by the stunningly beautiful old world entrance.  The lobby rose multiple stories, covered in intricately carved dark wood.  All of us stood transfixed for a moment, our eyes drawn to both the massive scale of the room and its minute...

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When No Remains Remain

News and Views

“For from Bari shall go forth the Torah, the word of God from Otranto”. In the Middle Ages, this famous play on the prophet’s vision of Jerusalem was so well-known it made its way into the famed Talmudic commentary of Jacob ben Meir, Rabbeinu Tam.  Jews throughout the world knew of the importance of Otranto and Bari—two thriving trading hubs on the heel of Italy’s boot—both as centers of commerce and bastions of Jewish thought.  As far as capitals of Jewish life and learning are measured, Bari and Otranto were to the Byzantine Empire what Chicago and New York are in America.  It was therefore only appropriate to describe these twin cities as the Jerusalem and Zion of their day. However, until recently, I had never heard of either Bari or Otranto.  I knew nothing of the Saletine Peninsula [that Italian “boot heel”], or the modern region called Puglia that...

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In Memoriam


One of the most difficult things we do is comforting someone in mourning.  Consoling the bereaved requires personal, thoughtful artistry.  It cannot be done from a distance or delegated to another person. Burying the deceased and comforting the mourners is considered one of the greatest deeds we do.  We have many stories in our tradition that share the helpful ways we can comfort a mourner to be present for their pain.  We also have many stories of the ways, while well intentioned, we can be less helpful.  The story of Job is one of those well intentioned but ultimately harmful stories. After Job deals with unimaginable tragedy, Job’s friends come to his home to try to bring him some sense of comfort.  Instead, their words hurt him, exacerbating his torment, pain and suffering. The story of Ruth and Boaz, can be a much more helpful story in how we bring...

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If You Build It, They Will Come

Religious School

Last year, after conducting a series of listening groups with our religious school families, our religious school committee decided it was time to pick two areas of focus for our 5779 school year.  Strengthening Our Community This year, the religious school committee has decided to create intentional opportunities and experiences to create meaningful connections among families, parents, and students in our religious school. Below are opportunities to connect with the religious school community:   September 23   Pancake Breakfast & First Day of School   September 28     Sinai Family Shabbat Services and Dinner   October 14   Parent Coffee & Breakfast at Drop-off   Sunday Speaker Series   October 21     Parent Coffee and Breakfast at Drop-off   November 18      Parent Program with the Rabbis followed by       Family Service   December 7      Sinai Family Shabbat Services and Dinner   More to...

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