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Rabbi Marc Rosenstein


Walkway and benches at Moshav Shorashim in the Galilee region of northern Israel

A Note from Rabbi Rick Jacobs: For nearly two decades, the Union for Reform Judaism has been privileged to offer readers Rabbi Marc Rosenstein’s Reform reflections on life in the Galilee, Israel-Diaspora relations, and more. As part of his move into full retirement, Rabbi Rosenstein is stepping down as one of our writers and this is his last regular contribution to, although he may, if he is inclined to do so, write occasionally in the future. We are extremely grateful for the hundreds of engaging, thought-provoking essays he has shared with us and we look forward to...

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Bride and groom forming heart with their hands

Thus said the Lord: Again there shall be heard in this place…the sound of mirth and gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and bride… Jeremiah 33:10-11

A major manifestation of the problematic nature of religion-state relations in Israel has always been the matter of marriage. The law of the land is that matters of marriage and divorce are wholly under the jurisdiction of the recognized religious communities.  For Jews, this means the officially sanctioned Orthodox chief rabbinate and its representatives. 

Thus, a wedding performed by a Reform or Conservative rabbi is not...

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Sign along roadway that says Shorashim (name of Israeli town in the north)

God has told you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do justice, and to love goodness, and to walk modestly with your God… - Micah 6:8

In a recent discussion at the “tradition” committee of Shorashim's strategic planning process, detailed in this blog post, the topic was if and how to articulate norms of behavior that would express the “traditional” (masorti) identity of the community. When people ask, the usual answer has always been that at Shorashim, there is an unwritten tradition of respecting Shabbat in the public sphere: no communal activities...

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Israeli flags

Therefore impress these My words upon your very heart: bind them as a sign on your hand and let them serve as a symbol on your forehead, and teach them to your children – reciting them when your stay at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up; and inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates – to the end that you and your children may endure in the land…

Deuteronomy 11:18-21

Our community, Shorashim (about 100 families) is engaged in a process of strategic planning sponsored by the county government. As part of the process, we...

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String of different types of lights outdoors in the dark

When Adam saw that the days were getting shorter and shorter, he said, “Woe is me that because of my sins the world is returning to darkness, to chaos…” He spent eight days in fasting and prayer – until the solstice had passed – and when he saw the days lengthening he realized that this is just the cycle of nature, and celebrated with an eight-day festival.

Babylonian Talmud Avodah Zarah 8a

In the early 1990s, the city of Haifa instituted an annual cultural event, “Festival of Festivals,” now held every December to celebrate Jewish, Christian, and Muslim holidays falling...

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