A Psalm for our cities on fire, after the killing of George Floyd
During this pandemic, we can Pay It Forward, taking care of a whole web of workers, businesses, and organizations that have long cared for, served, or sustained us.
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.
Spoken Word Poem: Our congregant kid was in that Country Western Dance Bar. He's Okay. I'm not. I've had enough.
Pray for the children, The ones who were taken away; And pray for the leaders, Whose moral compasses have gone astray.
Pray for the kids, Who wallow in their cages; And pray for the guards; Whose work sullies their wages...
Spoken word poetry seeking to find sanity during the tensions at the Gaza border.
Sitting in a meeting, chewing over some complex sensitive issues, I mansplained a respected female rabbi... and I liked it! Well, not really.
I confess there is so much I don’t know about women (Rabbis) and the experience of women in the rabbinate. But I’m listening and learning.
In the wake of the shootings, Rabbi Douglas Sagal taught:
On Shabbat, we light two candles. Why two? Twice the Ten Commandments are stated in the Torah; once in the Book of Exodus and once in the Book of Deuteronomy. There are slight differences in the two texts of the Commandments, however. In one, it is commanded to “Zachor”, remember the Sabbath day. In the other, it is stated to “Shamor” protect, guard the Sabbath Day.
The Sages, of blessed memory, taught us that the two candles are to represent both words-Remember and Protect. They additionally taught that G-D spoke both words together, “Shamor ve-Zachor bedibbur echad”-the words were spoken in one Divine phrase.
As we kindle the Shabbat lights, after this week of tragedy, we remind ourselves that we are to Zachor-remember those slain and make of their memories a blessing. As a nation, we do that frequently, and well. But we are also told to Shannon-Protect, and that we do quite poorly, failing time and again to ensure that our children are safe, protected from the devastation of gun violence. The Sages taught that Shamor ve- Zachor bedibbur echad– “Remember” and “Protect” are both Divine commands, and yet when it comes to gun violence, we only faithfully observe one of them.
May we do both. Better. Now.
Two by Two, we can save the children from the bullets like Noah’s Ark saved the animals, before we fall back to sleep.
Adulthood arrives later than when we were kids. When young people take more real responsibility not only for their own lives, but also for those around them, and for their community, country and world, they begin to manifest a level of maturity that evidences approaching adulthood.
When Jews and Baha’is sat down to break bread, the similarities were astounding and the discussions delicious.
Our hearts hold both the loss of URJ Camp Newman AND care for all those facing harm and devastation.
A Kaddish after Gun Violence: For when Humanity Fails Itself
47,000 people are living homeless on the streets of Los Angeles. The Bible mandates we "give shelter to the homeless" (Isaiah58:7). A Reform Jewish congregation with a long history of taking on troublesome social justice issues. Measure H, a ballot measure designed to end homelessness, is endorsed by both democratic and republican leaders.