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Maths and Mosaics

Rabbi Alon C Ferency

In school, did you like math and foreign language classes? Most people hated them, but for some reason I loved both.  Frankly, it’s only since moving to Knoxville, Tennessee, and having so many scientists as congregants, that I finally came out as a math nerd.  In fact, I’m told that math, languages, and music all share More »

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2014
Aug
29

Out of Necessity: A Midrash

Caryn Aviv

My hardest question every year is how to confront the difficulties of re-reading the Akedah. The story upsets and horrifies us, but what bothers me most are the silences. Every year, I am particularly bothered by the narrative’s utter silence about Abraham’s inner emotional experience and the absence of Sarah’s voice in this pivotal Genesis More »

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2014
Aug
28

Awesome Wonders

Rabbi Joshua Bolton

This Rosh Hashanah I am wondering about forgiveness – always easier to talk about in email sermons than it is to practice with close friends and myself. And about the giant stone and the King commanding me, “Lift it upon the roof.” And about that hummus shop in Rehavia, Between Azza and Berlin. And wondering More »

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2014
Aug
27

Raya Mehemna

Rabbi Alon C Ferency

During the U’netaneh Tokef, the signal prayer of the holidays, we are enjoined to think of God k’vakarat ro’eh ‘edro, as a Shepherd reviewing God’s flock.  To place this phrase in context, it was common practice for the shepherd to account for her flock (and there is evidence that this was a profession of both More »

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2014
Aug
20

Hineini

Rachel Petroff Kessler

  There came a time when God put Abraham to the test. “Abraham!” God said to him, and Abraham answered, “Here I am.” – Genesis 22:1 As I approach Rosh Hashanah this year, I am wondering about what it means to say, “Hineini, here I am.” What does it mean to be present, to recognize More »

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2014
Aug
13

What does Avinu Malkeinu Really Mean?

Aryeh BenDavid

As I approach Rosh Hashanah this year, I am wondering about one line in Avinu Malkeinu: “Our Father, Our King, hear our voice, have great mercy upon us.” Our Father. My father passed away suddenly last Erev Rosh HaShana. It is now one year without my father. A year of emptiness and mourning. Our King. More »

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2014
Aug
07

The Apocalypse of Unetaneh Tokef

Richard Lederman

Much of what is written and said about the unetaneh tokef prayer revolves around the discomfort felt by many contemporary, presumably enlightened Jews. The notion of a divine royal judge sitting on a throne, reading from a book and deciding who should live and who should die through the unspeakable tortures that this text expresses More »

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2014
Aug
01

Sweetness On a Bitter Tongue

Yoni A. Dahlen

As I approach Rosh Hashanah this year, I am wondering about the sweetness of new beginnings in a time of bitterness. Throughout the world, Jews of every color and tradition will be celebrating the new year by replacing the symbolic salt on their challah with honey. It is tradition to greet one another with the More »

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2014
Jul
23

Safe Return – Ushmor Tzeiteinu

Naomi Less

On May 25th – just around 2 months after the militant group in Nigeria – Boko Haram – kidnapped/abducted over 200 school girls from Chibok, Nigeria, my friend Tehilah Eisenstadt-Feil invited me to walk. You see, I felt paralyzed – that I could do nothing, that our country’s efforts were amounting to nothing, that the More »

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