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Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs


Rabbi Stephen Fuchs with Pastorin Ulrike Wohlfahrt

I recently had the privilege of preaching at a church in Neumünster, Germany, named after the great Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Bonhoeffer was a brilliant student who turned away from a promising career as a professor of theology to instead live the teachings of Jesus’ life among everyday people as a pastor. He actively opposed Hitler even before he took office and through all 12 years of his reign.

Opportunities to escape Hitler came to Bonhoeffer from prestigious institutions in New York and London, but like Moses at the Burning Bush, Bonhoeffer could not...

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The Probst of the Lutheran Churches of Bad Segeberg, Dr. Daniel Havemann, has been incredibly gracious, kind, and welcoming to my wife and me during our visit to Germany. He invited me to preach the first sermon I delivered in Germany in 2014 in the historic Marien Cathedral in Bad Segeberg, and this year, he invited me to preach at the end of my visit. It is as though Dr. Havemann’s friendship and authority created a protective and comforting bracket around our extended stays in Germany.

Our joy, of course, paled against the anger and sadness caused by the horrific attacks on...

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Is this the place? Is this where they took you, my precious father, on that horrible night?

Is this the place where they spit on you, cursed you, threw mud on you, and reviled you for the crime of being a Jew?

I am so thankful, my father, that you made it out of Kristallnacht – and out of Germany – alive. I am thankful that Uncle Allie and Uncle Morris, who spent the best years of their lives in this city, could get you out and bring you to New York. I am thankful that you met my mother and that my sister and I could be born. I am thankful that you raised us as proud Jews,...

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In chapter 12 of Genesis, when we meet Abram, who later in the portion becomes Abraham –God has tried three times to encourage human beings to create a just, caring, and compassionate society on earth. From the time of creation, such a community has been God’s highest goal. But the societies in Eden, after Eden until the flood, and after the flood all have failed.

Even though God is frustrated and disappointed, God does not give up. In a fourth attempt, the Eternal One chooses Abraham, Sarah, and their descendants to be God’s “special agents” in the ongoing quest to make the world...

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As we’ve recently turned again to the beginning of our Torah, I want to address an important question: Is it true?

For me, the stories in the Torah represent a religious or poetic truth – not necessarily an historical or scientific truth. This type of truth is the reason I cherish the Torah, place it lovingly in a special ark, and even hold it up proudly after I have read it, proclaiming in Hebrew and English, “This is the Torah that Moses gave to the children of Israel at the command of God.”

So what do I mean by a religious or poetic truth? 

Leonard Garner offers...

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