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Rabbi John L. Rosove


A mid-air figure in shadow with orange/yellow sunset, clouds, and water in the background

The central theme of the High Holiday season is t’shuvah (return, turn, response), a process that brings us back to our truest ourselves, our families, friends, community, the Jewish people, Torah, and God. T’shuvah is ultimately an expression of hope that the way we are today need not be who we remain tomorrow.

T’shuvah is a step-by-step process of re-engaging with our highest selves, of turning away from negative and destructive tendencies (i.e. yetzer hara – the evil inclination) and embracing that which is good in our nature (yetzer hatov – the good inclination), such as living...

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The word PAST written on a chalkboard and half erased by a red eraser

Forgiving those who have wronged us is one of the most difficult things we ever do. It is also one of the most healing.

The choice is ours.

Especially as the High Holidays approach and we begin to account for our past actions and behaviors in an effort to improve ourselves in the coming year, we can choose to hold on to our injuries, or we can begin the work of forgiving – not for the sake of the other, but for our own sake. As the theologian Lewis Smedes writes, “When we forgive, we come as close as any human being can to the essentially divine act of creation. For we...

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Sunshine in clouds

Many Jews say to me with reticence or a mildly defiant tone, “Rabbi, I don’t believe in God.” I sometimes think that on some level, they expect me to cast them out when I hear their confession.

One says, “I’m a religious person in that I feel a connection to something eternal and infinite that’s in my soul and in yours. But I don’t believe in a personal God, and all this talk about God as king and me as servant is meaningless to me.”

Another says, “I’m grateful for the gifts of health, meaningful work, and love. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by gratitude and a sense of...

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Gidi is a handsome, 53-year-old Israeli taxi driver whose grandfather made aliyah from Iraq in the 1920s. Loquacious and charming, Gidi gave me to a 50-minute Hebrew monologue on the situation in Israel in light of the Iran agreement, the recent Palestinian stabbings of innocent Israelis, his views of the American government’s involvement, and his frustration in light of current realities.

Gidi is smart and well informed, a practical, no-nonsense man who believes in a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict – but he sees no way to get there because of the Palestinian...

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[Author's note: What follows is a portion of my eulogy at Leonard’s funeral on Sunday morning, March 1. He was married to my dear first cousin, Susan.]

Leonard shared with me after he and Susan married 26 years ago that he had never met a woman like her, never had he loved anyone so dearly and passionately, that she’d saved his life and lifted him from darkness and unhappiness in ways he never thought possible. His love, appreciation, respect, and gratitude for her transformed him and enabled him to begin his life anew. 

Susan – you were a stellar, loving and brilliant life...

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