When I first learned of the adolescent detention facility in Homestead, Florida, I was appalled. At its peak, Homestead detained 3,000 adolescent boys and girls who were treated military style, forced to walk single file; forbidden from being touched or touching; threatened with longer detentions as a disciplinary measure. Having a mother who survived Auschwitz and asking myself what I would have done in Nazi Germany, I decided I had to stand up for these children. I was inspired by my colleague, Rabbi Andi Berlin, who had joined the protesters earlier. My intention was not to close...Read More
Where do I find a minyan (the quorum of 10 Jews required for public prayer) in Disneyland when I need to say Mourner's Kaddish for my father? Outside It’s a Small World, after all! There, my students ensured I had a community for Kaddish.
My wife Michelle and I were chaperoning Congregation Or Ami’s seventh graders on a post...Read More
Recuperating from a broken ankle this summer, I had time to catch up on my binge streaming. One of my current favorites is the popular Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, which began streaming its seventh and final season on July 26.
The series is based on a book of the same name by Piper Kerman, a white woman who, in her early thirties, pleaded guilty to money laundering and was sentenced to 15 months in a minimum-security...Read More
As we prepare to enter the High Holidays, we remember that the words of the High Holiday prayer book are written in the collective, reminding us that responsibility for misdeeds and their correction lies with the community as much as the individual. As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel once observed, “Some are guilty; all are responsible.”
We must all take responsibility for the state of our world. It is in this vein that yesterday, I joined leaders of 13 Reform Jewish institutions in ...Read More
Riding into Paris on a bus full of Jewish preteens from all over the French-speaking world, we started singing. Well, screaming really.
MahaNetzer!Ouais! C’est super! (Yes, it is great!)Kol Ha’olam kulo!! (WOOOO!!!) (The whole world)Gesher tzar m’od! (is a very narrow bridge)Gesher tzar M’o-o-o-od! (is a very narrow bridge)V’ha’ikar, v’ha’ikar lo lifached klal! (And the most important thing is to not be afraid)
Our unbridled enthusiasm was a scene familiar to anyone who’s seen the last day of camp elsewhere, but there’s something special at MahaNetzer, a Jewish summer...Read More