Do Not Send Them Away Empty-Handed

Delivered Yom Kippur Morning, 5783/2022Congregation Mishkan Israel, Hamden, CT Sarah bent down and dipped her rag into the bucket of blood. She slowly started painting her doorpost which turned a dark, burnt red color. As she dipped her rag again she wondered, will we really go free tomorrow? As the blood dripped down the door…

Confronting Antisemitism Together

Delivered on Kol Nidre 5773 | 2022 On May 3, 2019 following the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and subsequently the attack at a Chabad in Ponway, California, I gave a sermon during which I announced that we would hire an armed guard to protect us. May 3rd, 2019 was the…

Why Israel?

Rosh Hashanah Morning 5783/2022Congregation Mishkan Israel, Hamden, CT 75 years! Next April we will celebrate Israel’s 75th birthday. I’m sure our local celebrations will feature Falafel, Israeli Salad, hummus, and Israeli music. While we will acknowledge that Palestinians call this day their “Catastrophe, the Nakba,” and for them this is a day of mourning, we…

Planting for the Future by Counting our Blessings Today

Rosh Hashanah 5783 – 2022 “How awesome is this place – מַה־נּוֹרָ֖א הַמָּק֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה!” (Ma Norah HaMakom HaZeh!) It is awesome to see everyone, we are so glad that you are here both in person and online. In our Torah we find Jacob, wary from a long journey, seeking a comfortable place to rest. He…

We Will Rise Up

I stand before you as a white male rabbi. As a rabbi, I could speak about the Jewish laws that not only permit but may even require an abortion if a woman’s life is in danger. (Mishneh Oholot 7:6) Whether she is in physical, mental or economic danger, in Judaism the fetus becomes a rodef,…

I Will Bereave You

Two weeks ago I gave an impassioned sermon about the right to be who we want to be, to love who we want to love, and to have autonomy over our bodies. I felt sad afterward. These aren’t the sermons I want to give. I want to stand on the bima and tell you it…

The Jewish Family

We are a family that welcomes everyone who wants to proudly participate with us in spreading love, meaning and purpose to those who so choose.

We Will Long Endure

For now we place our trust in ourselves, through vigilance and action. We remember every time we blot out Amalek’s name that we are still here. We are still here and the Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, Spanish Monarchy, Nazis, are no more. We blot out their memory but we never forget that we endured and will continue to endure and thrive.

The Arithmetic of Failure

Since the pandemic began, we have been a society fixated on numbers. First we were concerned about the raw numbers of people getting sick, and then hospitalized, and then those who have died from COVID. Looking at individual numbers are important for each of these represents a soul who has become sick, a person who…

The Breath of the Etrog

Today the sukkah reminds us of the fragility inherent in life. It is intended to be susceptible to the forces of nature, not to protect or separate us from them as we do with our permanent houses, but to remind us that we, too, are part of creation.