Rosh Hashanah Sermon - 2016

Shana tova.
Our children are constant reminders that our past is never far behind us; our present is precious; and our future is rushing toward us seemingly at light speed. It is through them that we repeat the patterns that we recognize from our own childhood, even as we strive to become the best versions of ourselves. We neurotically fret that they won’t inherit our neuroses. And we do everything in our power to ensure their safety - in the process, sometimes even turning into someone we don’t recognize. 

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Yom Kippur Sermon - October 2015

Long ago, in the city of Jerusalem, there lived a wealthy man whose annual parties were not to be missed.

Each year, he invited the crème de la crème of Jewish society. The food was lavish, barrels of wine were consumed, and the Temple musicians played their harps and lyres for the assembled guests. One month before, the host would send out a dozen footmen to personally deliver the coveted invitations to all who made his discerning cut.

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Installation of Rabbi Ron Fish

For generations in our tradition there is a sense that we human beings can be the worst threat for each other, or a source of deep trust. Threat or trust, what are we for each other? When we fight each other, for food, water, power, wealth, wisdom, life then becomes a terrifying jungle with no place in it for gentleness, and we have then only one mission: to survive. Yet our ancestors did not wish for us a life of survival. Rather, they wished for us, and one day for humanity, a life of trust. 

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What's Next - Yom Kippur 2015

How do we become a more vibrant, growing and exciting community? As Rabbi Fish said during Rosh Hashanah, it all starts with welcoming. Welcoming prospective members and welcoming existing members who feel that they are “crew members in red shirts.” And allow me to let you in on a secret I have learned in three months as President: most of us, even long-time very involved members, feel unwelcome at one time or another. 

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We Are The People of Hope - Kol Nidre 2015

I have hope that the Jewish future in America is brighter than its past. I have hope because I believe in the attractive, joyous power and draw of authentic Jewish living. Because I have no doubt that in the marketplace of ideas, where people are free to pursue what they find meaningful, while we will lose some -- we will draw in many, many more. 

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Rethinking Heroes - Rosh Hashanah 2015

You may think we’re better off without heroes, given how likely they are to disappoint us. But I would argue we still need heroes. Earnest Hemingway said, “As you get older it’s harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary.” We need heroes not just to admire. We need heroes to teach us how we can reach our finest selves. We need to see it can be done. 

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Ye'ush Means Letting Go - Rosh Hashanah 2015

One of the most important concepts that takes shape through this discussion is the idea of ye’ushYe’ush means “letting go.” Here’s the basic rule: An object that is lost needs to be returned to its owner, so long as the owner has not yet done ye’ush, giving up on its ever coming back. As long as the owner has a reasonable hope of finding her lost property, the finder has the obligation to try to seek her out. However, the moment that the owner, mentally or in words, acknowledges that what they lost is irrevocably gone, it ceases to be their property at all. It becomes ownerless, it becomes free.

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On Prayer - Parshat Toldot

Yitzhak shows us that there are times, moments of despair when it is not only permitted, but necessary to cry out to God, a genuine cry of the heart. I would say that today is a day for prayer. Raise your voice to God, give full expression to your grief, your rage, your fear. 

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The Courage to Continue - Rosh Hashanah 2014

The "courage to continue" constitutes the cornerstone of communal resilience. From the time of Joshua till today, the Jewish people have faced enemies and crises that have shaken the foundation of our spirit. Yet, in every generation, b'chol dor vador, we find a way not just continue, but to move forward; not just to escape death, but to embrace life, not just to leave Egypt, but to find our way to the Promised Land. 

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