Community Allows us to Overcome our Adversity

We all experience personal struggle, the tension between expectation and reality because life is not perfect. No matter how hard we work, at our jobs, our families, our relationships, or at our faith, we all struggle when any aspect of life does not go as we had planned. We need others to help us through adversity. Our community, whether it consists of our family, friends, or our congregation, helps us overcome the challenge we face in our lives.

How will we remember our history?

This sermon was originally delivered on 6/19, the day after the tragic mass shooting of people praying at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. In 2008 I served as the director of Education for Camp Kalsman, a URJ camp located an hour outside of Seattle and had the amazing opportunity to write a letter in…

On Civil Discourse

This originally appeared in the June/July 2015 Temple Emanuel Bulletin Friends, I write to you from a place of fear.  I speak not of the fear of an Iranian nuclear bomb striking Israel (a very real fear, especially given Iran’s support of Hezbollah), but rather the fear of the fissures rippling through the American Jewish…

Counting Everyone in Society – Ban the Box

What and how we count figures into our lives every day…. Every time someone is profiled and arrested we perpetuate a cycle in which 1 in 3 black men are removed from society and their children are left with single moms and the streets. For the rest of their lives we stop counting them….God commands us to count people and reminds us that all people are created b’tzelem Elohim, in God’s image. On this Shabbat, this Shavuot, and this Memorial Day, we must work harder to count everyone in our society. Every member of our community, every member of our city, and every member of country.

Opening Prayer for the Colorado State Senate

On January 30, 2015 I delivered the following prayer at the opening of Colorado State Senate: Makor Chayyim, Source of all life, we arrive at this moment filled with gratitude, awe, and anticipation. With gratitude we arrive in this sacred chamber each morning.  We give thanks for the opportunity to make our great State of…

Prayer for Peace for all who live in Israel/Palestine

I gave this prayer to conclude a JStreet event at Temple Emanuel on 12/18/2014: Avinu Shebashamayim, God who is in Heaven, may You guide our hands to work towards creating peace in Israel/Palestine for all who dwell there.  May you intend our minds and hearts to work towards peace together with all who seek peace…

A Thanksgiving Reflection on Ferguson

I delivered this sermon on 11/28/2014 at Temple Emanuel: Hodu l’adonai ki tov, ki l’olam chasdo –Give thanks to God for God is good, God’s compassion is everlasting.  Thanksgiving is a time to appreciate – the people in our lives about whom we care most, the fact that we can hopefully enjoy an abundance of…

Prayer to End Gun Violence

A copy of the prayer I delivered at an interfaith rally to end gun violence, sponsored by Colorado Faith Communities United to End Gun Violence, of which Temple Emanuel is a founding member: Avinu She’bashamaim, our Holy One in heaven, with solemnity and courage we stand before you today.  For too long we have stood…

Leading a Values-based Life

I am standing in the middle of Cherry Creek State Park on a beautiful morning.  I look west toward the mountains which sit enveloped in a summer haze.  The green trees in the distance rustle in the wind.  I pick up a shell from my pocket and drop it in the lower barrel of the…

Lebron James, Welcome Home

In the winter of 2003 I was walking through my college quad when I decided to call my parents.  Usually available, I was surprised when they said that they couldn’t talk because they were going to the University of Akron to watch some high school student who was supposed to be this big new star…