Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs
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...Read More
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,...Read More
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...Read More
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...Read More
It was with some trepidation that I arrived at the regional Lutheran Pastors’ convention in the quaint German town of Preetz. I had been invited by Pastor Anke Wolff-Steger to keynote the convention with a sermon on the Garden of Eden. Because Pastor Wolff-Steger had invited me to preach on this topic at her church a year ago, she knew the gist of what I would say. The pastors in attendance did not, and I knew some would be taken aback.
I reviewed quickly the classical Christian interpretation (surely they did not need me for that) that Eden marked the "Fall of Man.” We had...Read More
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