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, exhaus...

Read More

A Year In Progress

Perspectives

The modern American musical, Rent, famously asks the question, “how do you measure a year?” I have recently been thinking a lot about the transformative experience of a year, how much can change over the course of 12 brief months. Over the last couple of months and the next couple of months, I have marked and will mark a number of meaningful one year anniversaries. It was a year ago in February that I first visited Chicago Sinai Congregation and the city of Chicago. It was a ye...

Read More

Israel: Two Categories of Debate

Perspectives

There is a teaching that says that there are two different kinds of arguments, two categories of debate.  The Ethics of our Ancestors, Pirkei Avot, teaches that some debates are for the sake of heaven and other debates are not for the sake of heaven. The rabbis asked, “What does it mean for an argument to be for the sake of heaven?” A debate for the sake of heaven has everlasting value.  It is an argument in which the two sides respect and value each other, where they ...

Read More

ACT: Advocacy. Education. Philanthropy. Service.

Perspectives

Houston. Florida. Puerto Rico. Northern California. These are just four of the stories of natural disasters bringing destruction and devastation to our neighbors. As these disasters approach, while they are happening and in their aftermath we often ask ourselves, “What can we do?” With each successive event, many of us have asked the community, “What are we doing?” We can experience a wide range of emotions during these times. At times we feel empathy for those su...

Read More

Being Present for the Pain of Others

Rosh Hashanah 5778

I was sitting in my college dorm room in October of 2004.  It was Game 4 of the World Series. I watched as the batter hit a comebacker to the mound and the pitcher flipped the ball to first base.  The Boston Red Sox had won the World Series for the first time in 86 years. I sat in shock, unable to respond, unsure of what to do.  For a moment. That moment, quickly, wore off.  I knew exactly what to do.  I knew how to celebrate with my friends around me.  I knew&n...

Read More

How to be Part of the World Around Us

A couple of weeks ago, I invited a close friend to a Martin Luther King Day event.  The event featured a number of speakers including leaders from the Black Lives Matter movement. “I can’t come with you,” she told me. “Really? Why?” I asked. “Black Lives Matter is anti-Israel and anti-Semitic.” She stated matter-of-factly. An intelligent, educated, professional who dismissed the entire organization because of one part of their platform. She was ...

Read More

A House of Prayer for All People

The place to connect, to learn, and to make a difference.

Become a Member