Reflections Off the Bimah

Reflections During Elul: Teshuva

Posted on September 11, 2015

In this final Elul reflection, we arrive at the topic of teshuvah.  The word is colloquially translated as “apology” but it is closer to “return” as in returning to proper actions.  However you translate it, teshuva is not easy. A casual sorry and teshuva are not equivalent.  While a creek and an aquifer are both […] Continue Reading »

Reflections During Elul: How are you Resilient?

Posted on September 4, 2015

Earlier this week, I joined the “Roundtable with the Rabbi” program.  It is a monthly gathering for senior members of the congregation.  Their ages ranged from 78 to 101 years old.  We celebrated birthdays, indulged in ice cream and enjoyed conversation.  While I typically prepare a discussion topic for these gatherings, the trigger for this […] Continue Reading »

Reflections During Elul: How Did You Learn to Love?

Posted on August 28, 2015

The moon is full now, which means we are in the middle of Elul.  It is a perfect time to take a quiet evening stroll. There is a Hasidic teaching that says that the name of the month of Elul is an indication that God is closer to us at this time.  Each letter of […] Continue Reading »

Reflections During Elul: What Does the World Need From You?

Posted on August 21, 2015

This week began the Hebrew month of Elul, the time leading to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  Judaism has always known that we cannot simply appear at High Holiday services and expect something spiritually significant to happen.  Without preparation, we will not be ready for the most difficult part of the holidays – teshuvah, spiritual […] Continue Reading »

Faith’s Orbit

Posted on May 2, 2014

Faith has its own momentum. I was never good at high school physics, but the power of centripetal and centrifugal forces intrigue me. To define these terms in the crudest of ways: centripetal force is exerted on an object pulling it towards a center point – inward. For example, the Earth’s gravity tugs on the […] Continue Reading »

Pulling up a chair

Posted on April 30, 2014

I did not expect to find God as I was sitting around a folding table at the Interfaith Works Women’s Shelter*. The volunteers had pushed two tables together. The refrigerators and freezers stood at attention around the room, and the pantry closet in the corner held dry goods.  The room was clean but well used.  […] Continue Reading »

The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth

Posted on March 4, 2014

Five years ago, I raised my right hand in a Montgomery County court room and told the sheriff that I would “tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”  I had been called as a character witness.  I answered the lawyers’ questions while sitting next to the judge.  A microphone recorded my every utterance. […] Continue Reading »

Talking About God Off the Bimah

Posted on February 4, 2014

Talking about God is not easy.  The subject is difficult to grasp. Some of us are afraid that our own personal conception of God – often developed in our youth – will be rejected or viewed as inappropriate by others.  From coffee shops and breweries to classrooms and hospitals, I know that Jews want to […] Continue Reading »