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Rabbi David Wirtschafter


God of Caring and Compassion

We pray that people of Louisiana, who again are coping with the damage and disruption of terrible flooding, may find the strength and persistence they need to cope for yet another crisis.

We pray that students and teachers can return to school, that citizens can return to work, that life can start returning to normal.

We pray that the response from state and federal agencies will be swift, generous and comprehensive.

We pray that assistance will be offered to everyone who has been impacted by this latest disaster, regardless of...

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As I approach the Shabbat of my daughter’s bat-mitzvah ceremony, I am grateful for how fortunate we are to raise our girls in a democratic society, yet saddened by the reality that millions of women and girls the world over are still treated as inferior because of their gender. The following is a prayer expressing gratitude for what those of us blessed with privilege and freedom can offer our daughters - and so too is it a prayer of protest and concern for those of us who cannot provide these things.

Not Only Our Daughters

God of Our Mothers and Fathers: We pray for a world where...

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You may think it strange for a rabbi to mourn a celebrity's death, but no one said emotions are rational. There are millions of refugees, millions of people living in hunger, millions trapped in oppression, poverty and disease – yet I indulge myself a moment of sadness at the news that Prince Rodgers Nelson has died.

Prince’s “Purple Rain” was my very first rock concert (St. Paul Civic Center, winter of 1984). Growing up in Minneapolis – especially in the public school system – Prince served as the living, breathing, screaming, dancing, daring, and outlandish contradiction to...

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According to family lore, every spring my father and his colleagues at the University of Kentucky Ophthalmology department used to delight in a silly prank on first year-residents. Certain unsuspecting individuals would spend their day calling out the name of an absent-minded patient who seemed to have missed the first appointment of the morning.

“Lirpa Loof? Ms. Loof? Is there a Lirpa Loof here? Have we heard anything from Ms. Loof? Does she have any idea how long it takes to get an appointment with a specialist around here? Lirpa Loof?”

This would go on all day until,...

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For the Jews of Brussels, this year’s Purim is different from others.

Perhaps for the first time since the end of the World War II, Belgium’s rabbis have asked the community to tamper the festivities to a bare minimum in the wake of this week’s devastating terror attacks. While the government has not applied any pressure to do so, Jewish leaders have asked that there be no wearing of masks in public so as to prevent anxiety or confusion amongst the gentile citizenry. They are wise to do so.

Sadly, this is not an unprecedented request.

There have been times, both in...

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