Rapid City, South Dakota was my first student pulpit when I was in rabbinical school. I loved this pulpit. It was a fun congregation, and Rapid City happens to be surrounded by some beautiful areas. The areas were made even better because of the host who always put me up. Stan was a South Dakota state senator and would often be in Pierre, the capital, doing all the things for which he was responsible. Stan had many houses, and when I would stay at one of his houses, I would often be all alone.
I recently received this email. It said, “Dear Rabbi, we have decided to not renew our synagogue membership. I want to thank you for being a wonderful Rabbi. Unfortunately, I don't think the temple is a good fit for us as family- we never really felt like we fit in or belonged and so we don’t see the value in staying members. I don't think it's anyone's fault- we just never really 'clicked' with any committees, groups, or even through the Religious School. So, we are done with being members. Love, your former congregant.
In 1913, in Berlin, Germany, a young Jewish man. Franz Rosenzweig, had fallen away from Jewish religious practice, like many of his Jewish friends. Some of them had converted to Christianity, and they urged Franz to do likewise. After all, they lived a modern German Christian world, and Judaism was just a relic of a bygone era that held little meaning for them. Franz agreed. He would convert to Christianity. But he felt that he owed it to Judaism to give it one more try. So when the High Holidays came around, he went to a tiny shul for Kol Nidre services.
Just this past weekend, I was fortunate enough to be at my sister Becky’s wedding in Washington D.C. I left from Etz Chaim on Friday afternoon and had my kippah on. I do wear it often, but not always when I’m travelling; mostly because it falls off. However, I forgot to take it off, and I was on the plane when the flight attendant asked me about it and I explained I am a rabbi. She said, “That’s wonderful.” My wife Rebecca was with me and it was explained we were both rabbis.
We have had some exciting weeks in our school
On Sunday, November 22, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM, Sisterhood will host our annual Hanukkah Gift Bazaar.
Later this week, we will celebrate the wonderful holiday of Simchat Torah. As we leave the seriousness of the days of Awe, we enter a time of celebration, first on Sukkot, where we are commanded to be happy, and culminating on Simchat Torah, “rejoicing with the Torah.” Simchat Torah is celebrated on the last day of Sukkot. (This comes from the Talmud, where it is referred to
A few months ago I was involved in an online conversation with other Reform Rabbis discussing Purim services. One of the rabbis was unhappy that last year Purim fell on a Wednesday evening and that it will fall on Wednesday evening again this year. She explained that more people come to Purim when it falls on a Sunday morning. She suggested shifting Purim this spring from Wednesday evening to Sunday morning.
This Hebrew month of Elul marks the beginning of our preparation for the Jewish High Holidays. The themes of the holidays include the notion of reflection, renewal and return. Symbolic of this work is the name of the month Elul, which is considered to be an acronym for the words, "Ani L'dodi v'dodi li." (From Song of Songs, "I am my beloved and my beloved is mine.") The beloved part is supposedly God and the Ani part is Israel.
Please indulge me for a minute while I look around our beautiful sanctuary.
Thanks for indulging me.
Carol, you and your staff have done another marvelous job here. Thank you.
There were 2 reasons I wanted to look around.
The 1st was that this is a great view! I only get to do this twice so I really wanted to take in the moment.