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Nov. 15, 2023 - 2 Kislev, 5784

11/14/2023 02:00:00 PM


The grinding awfulness of a very real war in densely populated Gaza continues to fascinate the world. An on-going battle for minds and hearts brings people to the streets: marching, demonstrating, harassing and at times wreaking havoc on public spaces. Behind closed doors, conversations to free hostages, to supply entrapped Gaza residents and to move Israel to stop the advance ‘now’ go on to be reported. Too...Read more...

Nov. 7, 2023 - 23 Cheshvan

11/06/2023 02:12:44 PM


In these war-torn days, we note that 30 days have elapsed since the incursion of Hamas into Israel which has escalated into open warfare in Gaza, attacks by artillery from Hezbollah in Lebanon, rockets fired by Iranian-sponsored fighters in Yemen, and increasingly strident calls internationally for a cease-fire. 

The now thousands of deaths that are directly attributable to massacre and response-in-kind leave me...Read more...

oct. 31, 2023-16 Cheshvan

10/30/2023 01:15:52 PM


The coastal plain of the Mediterranean from the Eastern shores of modern Israel--where it is known as ha-shefelah-- to the south and west at Gibraltar is home to both ancient and contemporary centers of population. Great cities like Alexandria—home of a storied library in antiquity—rose and fell, launched vessels of trade, and were homes to varied populations. Jewish communities rose in most, and this often led them to periods...Read more...

October 24,2023-9 Cheshvan

10/24/2023 01:28:07 PM


On a recent webinar, Rabbi Judy Schindler offered a ‘parable of four colleagues’ based on the important trope from the Seder Pesach that is likely familiar. It was moving testimony to the current dilemma that many are facing during these troubled and discomforting weeks following the October 7 incursion of Hamas into Israel, even as IDF(Israel Defense Forces) are arrayed at the border and a veritable deluge of weapons are fired...Read more...

OCT. 17, 2023-2 cheshvan

10/16/2023 03:56:03 PM


Just say ‘no’ worked much better in fighting drug use than in making peace among nations. Honest negotiations start before the shape or size of the tabla are decided, claims and counter claims are revealed, or conditions are set. The Seven Years War, the Hundred Years War, the American Revolution or defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo each found resolution in a more or less successful agreement among various parties with standing in...Read more...

Oct. 10, 2023-25 Tishrei, 5784

10/09/2023 01:50:48 PM


A Longing To Return To The Land Of Israel

by Yehuda HaLevi

Yehuda HaLevi

My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west.
How can I find savor in...

Oct. 3, 2023-18 Tishrei, 5784

10/03/2023 01:51:39 PM


Weathering the storm on Sukkot

Last Friday, as we prepared to celebrate Shabbat Sukkot in a still very warm Tarrant County, the country’s east coast was literally swimming in a deluge. We won’t read about Noah for two weeks, but the universality of flood experiences has been included in more than a few of the records of ancient civilization. And perhaps that is one of the central points of moving our lives outside our curated...Read more...

Sept. 27, 2023-12, Tishrei 5784

09/26/2023 06:14:17 PM


Building the Sukkah—booth or tabernacle—is for some the first mitzvah to fulfill after Yom Kippur. While heavy construction probably doesn’t meet OSHA standards after a 25-hour fast, the sacred deed just after the Gates of Repentance are thought to have closed (well, according to some sources) uses a principle as we try to turn religious behavior into a way of life. The teaching mitzvah gorer l’mitzvah—one mitzvah leads to...Read more...

Sept. 19, 2023-4 Tishrei, 5784

09/18/2023 02:50:41 PM


Since Friday evening, when we welcomed 5784 as a community, we began the 10 days…of Awe and Repentance (T’shuvah). These are y’mei chol—ordinary days, to go to work, school, shop, clean—those daily events that are the bread and butter of our lives. Yet, I would argue, these are anything but ordinary days—indeed these are anything but ordinary times.

The spiritual task of mindfulness is one element of...

Sept.12 - 26 Elul, 5783

09/11/2023 03:56:30 PM


September 11, 9-11, is a secular date engraved in American history, whether New York, Washington DC or anywhere else was ‘home’ at the time. On that day, the world I knew trembled. The trauma is still apparent, even as Afghanistan is empty of US and NATO troops.  The military and political crisis is largely relegated to history, though aftereffects remain discernible and deeply painful for casualties and survivors. Lives...Read more...

Sept. 5, 2023-19 Elul 5783

09/05/2023 01:27:34 PM


In the final week of Elul, tradition helps us shift into the mode of repentance through the addition of Selichot to regular worship. To mark the start of this prayerful week, the coming Shabbat in Tarrant
County, three synagogues will join forces—assisted by the Fort Worth Federation—in knocking at the spiritual gates of repentance that are open widest these weeks approaching Yom Kippur.

Why do I attach such importance to...

AUG 29, 2023 -12 ELUL 5783

08/29/2023 03:19:33 PM


If you attend services at CBI, you might have gotten the idea that popular songs from Broadway and the years between the World Wars pop into my head regularly. They do, like elevator music that intrudes. I’m lucky it’s not acid rock, which would be more intrusive.

These older songs resonate because they speak to the inner life of mind and emotion. Last week, for instance, the playback loop stuck on Edith Piaf’s Rien de Rien....Read more...

August 22, 2023 -5 Elul 5783

08/21/2023 03:28:34 PM


The heat of summer continues to bring surprises and upsets. As I scan news reports, watch televised reports, and listen to radio news, there is much turmoil boiling now or just below the surface. It makes for ‘interesting times’ on one hand. It can also lead to distress, feelings of disempowerment, and that classic of Jewish existence, alienation.

My great concern might be idiosyncratic. My viewpoint might...

AUGust 15, 2023

08/14/2023 01:50:22 PM


The indelible connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel begins early in the Torah: It is the land Abram is commanded to travel to, from his birthplace at Ur in Chaldean Mesopotamia (modern Iraq, according to most geographers); it is the birthplace of Isaac and Ishmael, of Jacob and Esau, and Benjamin—although his siblings were born during Jacob’s long exile, working for Laban ‘back home’ in the old country. These...Read more...

Aug. 8, 2023

08/08/2023 02:18:16 PM


In recent months in our increasingly computerized world, much has been written about the development of Artificial Intelligence—machine-driven direction of all kinds of activities associated with human life. It is a challenging issue, with many seeing it as a modern-day success akin to Rabbi Judah Loeb ben Bezalel of Prague’s Golem. That fable became the source for many versions of autonomous creatures in...Read more...

August 1, 2023

08/01/2023 12:05:00 PM


Sunday afternoon, I made my way to Plano to see the closing performance of North Texas Performing Arts' summer production of “Parade”—the 1998 musical based on a 1965 play by Alfred Uhry. This was an afternoon of serious theater. The youthful cast, I learned, prepared their cohesive performances in a few weeks’ time, and did not miss a beat. As a theater lover, I got special joy from the performance of...Read more...

July, 25 2023

07/25/2023 02:10:32 PM


Monday morning news came through of the vote by members of the assorted parties in Israel’s coalition cabinet and government to restrict the power of the BAGATZ—Bet Din haGavo’a, Israel’s highest court. Since early in the history of the State of Israel, the justices there have upheld the highest standards of legal thought and practice. They have made surprising approvals and stunning rejections of multitudes of issues critical to the...Read more...

July 18, 2023

07/18/2023 12:00:00 PM


During the hottest summer ever recorded, our attention is called to the crises human action and inaction causeS. Our action — using resources — some stewardship, a responsibility that begins in Genesis 2:20, when the first human names all the creatures. This is an important piece of understanding the created world, a world we hope to leave better than we found it.

Inaction can be both more pervasive and more pernicious. Our...Read more...

Settling in

07/12/2023 10:00:51 PM


My thanks to Congregation Beth Israel for its warm welcome to Colleyville and North Tarant County. Not just the weather, to be sure; the many who work so hard to give their community depth, vibrancy and meaning. Now, for the remainder of the year we will share on the community’s trek through the wilderness, our challenge will be to knit together, to heal and learn to rejoice despite past sadness.

By chance, as we read this coming...

Thu, July 18 2024 12 Tammuz 5784