Kol Nidre 5784

Today is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, 2023 – 50 years, to the day, since the outbreak of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. How different the world is today than it was just 50 years ago. And how different things are in Israel today than they were just 50 years ago. In the spring of 1973, Jody and I were spending a semester in Israel. We lived and worked on Kibbutz Givat Chaim Ichud in the Sharon Valley. At least twice a week we used to go for afternoon tea to visit a woman name Lotte Aaron. Lotte was an artist. She spoke several languages, including fluent English, and we used to sit and talk for hours. We became friends. She spoke with pride about her two sons who were both studying in New York. In October of that year, the Yom Kippur war broke out. Lotte’s two sons...

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Erev Rosh HaShanah 5784

Hashkiveinu Adonai Eloheinu L’shalom V’ha’amideinu Malkeinu L’chayim. Cause us to lie down, Eternal our God, in peace, and raise us up, O Sovereign, to life. Many of us have heard this prayer dozens, if not hundreds, of times.  And, I imagine, like many other things that we see and hear frequently, it’s possible that we never really stopped to think about it.  Hashkiveinu Adonai Eloheinu L’shalom V’ha’amideinu Malkeinu L’chayim.  Cause us to lie down, Eternal our God, in peace, and raise us up, O Sovereign, to life. It is such a simple prayer, such a modest request – let us sleep in peace and wake up alive.  U’fros Aleinu Sukkat Shlomecha and spread over us Your shelter of peace.  It is a basic human plea for protection, for predictable routine, for normalcy, for the world to be the way it ought to be.  It turns out that this prayer, Hashkiveinu...

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Rosh HaShanah 5783

When I was in eighth grade an unusual event took place. One morning, as we were all settling into our seats and getting our books out of our backpacks, our teacher stepped outside the room. Suddenly a student ran through the room screaming and yelling. Then another student ran after the first. The first student, whose arm was bleeding, grabbed something off the teacher’s desk and ran out the other door of the room. The second student chased after the first. The rest of us were pretty much dumbfounded, not really understanding what had happened. Then our teacher came back into the room and some students started to report to her what had just gone on. She silenced them and instructed all of us to sit down and be quiet. Then she told each of us to write down exactly what had happened.   It will likely come as no...

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Erev Rosh HaShanah 5783

Here we are, once again, together for the High Holidays. Here we are, once again, gathered as a congregation: for worship and for celebration; for inspiring prayers and for beautiful music; for heartfelt meditation and for serious introspection. With the worst of the pandemic hopefully in our rear-view mirror, so many more of us are together in-person than in the past couple of years. And, from our time apart we have learned that we can gather as a congregation, and feel each other’s presence, both physically in the same room and remotely via the internet – and although we cannot all see each other, we can nonetheless feel that we are one community joined by invisible lines of connection. Personally, I am deeply honored to be a part of the Sinai community and to share this holy day with all of you.    For some in our Sinai family, 5782...

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