This Passover, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will hear two cases that have enormous impact on equality and liberty in our country. On the first two days of Pesach, oral arguments in California's Prop 8 case and the Defense of Marriage Act case will be heard.
As a rabbi and president-elect of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, I come here to be with you this morning at the Supreme Court on the very first day of Passover to say: Our nation is ready for marriage equality. This is one of the holiest days of the Jewish calendar. It marks the day in Jewish tradition when we mark the Exodus from slavery in ancient Egypt; it marks the beginning of a journey to freedom. Today is our day to march toward that freedom, the freedom to marry. I represent more than 2,500 Reform rabbis. We support marriage equality and have filed Friends of the Court briefs in both today's Prop 8 case and tomorrow's DOMA case. Do not let others tell you that all religions oppose LGBT equality rights. We Reform Jews welcome, support, include, and, yes, advocate full rights and equality, including the right to marry the ones we love.
Over Memorial Day Weekend, Americans will be honoring the lives of those lost in service to their country. This weekend is also known as the celebration of the symbolic beginning of summer (often with barbecues and white pants, sometimes a dangerous combination). And, coinciding with Memorial Day Weekend this year is the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks, when we celebrate the giving of the Torah at Sinai (and cheesecake).
Way back in July 1990, when my daughter Katie was two years old, Ellen turned to our little girl and said, "Tell Daddy something he doesn't know." Katie whispered, smiling shyly, "Today is Mommy's birthday." Can you say doghouse?
The day the Israelites stood at the foot of Mount Sinai, preparing to encounter God, is understood in midrash as the day of marriage between God and the Jewish people.
In the weeks leading up to Passover, I think about the imperative embedded in the Hagaddah: B'chol dor vador chiav adam lirot et atzmo k'ilu hu yatza mi-mitzrayim, "In each and every generation, a person is obligated to see oneself as if he or she exited from Egypt." I share a personal s
I have never attended a Tikkun Leil Shavuot, a community gathering to study Torah all night on the holiday of Shavuot. This year, that will all change! On the evening of May 14, I plan to attend an all-night (or most-of-the-night) study session for Shavuot at my synagogue.