Rabbi Allan Smith, mentor to thousands of Reform Jewish youth, died. He had a profound influence on my life, and on the direction of the Reform Jewish movement.
Responding to a Disruptive Marketplace for synagogues: The choice is pretty clear: Kehillat Netflix or Beit Blockbuster. Which one will your synagogue become? Kehillat Netflix takes its name from a company that openly and confidently takes chances, risks failure, goes up against conventional wisdom, constantly pivots strategically, and thus has so far ensured both its survival and its success. Beit Blockbuster closed down.
In a speech at Hebrew Union-College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Or Ami congregant Seth Front kvells about the positive impact that Congregation Or Ami interns and rabbis have had on their daughter Amanda.
The secrets of the festival of sukkot illuminate life lessons, connect us to nature, provide full body experiences, and are like Dr. Who's Tardis and Superman's Fortress of Solitude.
A year after the Borderline shooting and the SoCal fires, we reflect on the first person experiences, and explore Torah's insistence that we take action in the face of danger, including mass shootings and changes in climate.
Don't Wait: Lessons from my father-in-law Murray Novembert. (Yom Kippur sermon)
A poem about facing the moments over the High Holy Days - small but meaningful - when my dad won't be there.
A poem about those moments when I'm not feeling the sadness in the midst of the mourning.
Poem about when a friend visited me during my dad's shiva.
Standing for Kaddish that first time is surreal. This poem captures the multitude of feelings as I stood in temple to recite Kaddish for my father Ken Kipnes.
I am still a mourner. A poem about how my body - tears, trembling shoulders, welling up of emotions - remind me that I am still a mourner. Remembering my father, Ken Kipnes.
Where do I find a minyan in Disneyland when I need to say Kaddish for my father? Outside It’s a Small World, after all! There, my students ensured I had a community for Kaddish.
Low level sadness, right beneath the surface, is the constant guest in the heart and mind of the mourner. This poem reflects those feelings during shloshim for my father, Ken Kipnes, Papa.
A spoken word poem about the theological questions that arise after the death of a loved one. Written as I think about my father Ken Kipnes.
A video that explores what it feels like to be a mourner, featuring my poem - The Secret Life of a Mourner.