Unless you know
what it is to look
at black & white proof
at lambs led to slaughter
at herds of the lost
The Lord, the Lord is gracious and compassionate, patient, and abounding in kindness and faithfulness, assuring love for a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, and granting pardon. -Exodus 34:6-7
I recently visited Majdanek, a concentration camp in Poland, with my classmates. Afterward, I wrote this piece - part poem and part essay - about what spoke to me there.
As a teenager, I would sit on my bedroom floor listening to old records of Belgian singer-songwriter, poet, and performer Jacques Brel. I didn’t need to keep a journal, because his lyrics wove together everything I felt at the time. Brel had a fire within, and his anger, longing, passion, and truth blazed through every word he sang. His music, raw and real, transformed and fed my soul; it informed and shaped who I am today.
The waning of summer's warm days signals the arrival of the Hebrew month of Elul. It's a time to contemplate the approaching Days of Awe and how best to prepare for them.
For more than 50 years, High Holiday sermons were consequential both for the rabbi and the congregation. Why has the Reform preaching tradition waned?