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Sermon: Ha'azinu, 10/11/19

10/13/2019 04:33:30 PM

Oct13

Rabbi Charlie

Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is parshat Haazinu, which is made up almost entirely of Shirat Moshe – the Song of Moses. This is a sacred poem that outlines God’s relationship to the Jewish people.

The Song of Moses comes across as quite harsh at times. The message is clear. God is perfect, we are the dull, witless People who played God false. God found us in an empty howling waste and gave us everything. We grew fat...Read more...

Sermon: Yom Kippur Morning, 10/9/19

10/10/2019 01:27:02 PM

Oct10

Rabbi Charlie

Gut Yuntiv! Throughout these Days of Awe, I’ve talked about caring for ourselves: as individuals, as a people, and as a congregation. This morning, I felt it was important to focus on caring for ourselves as a part of the global community. Our Haftarah this morning begins with the strong words of Isaiah 58, “Cry with full throat, without restraint; raise your voice like a ram’s horn!” Why are we crying out? So that we can learn about...Read more...

Sermon: Kol Nidrei (Yom Kippur Evening), 10/8/19

10/10/2019 01:21:09 PM

Oct10

Rabbi Charlie

Gut Yuntiv! When you read through the Torah, it’s not hard to get the impression that God really doesn’t like us very much. Sure, we’re God’s chosen people, beloved, treasured, and all that. But there are dozens and dozens of times when God, Moses, or other prophets just tell us we’re terrible.

We’re defiant and stiffnecked – Just a quick word about, “stiffnecked.” I know, it’s a literal translation from the...Read more...

Sermon: Rosh Hashanah Morning, 9/30/19

10/01/2019 09:28:45 AM

Oct1

Rabbi Charlie

L’shana Tova Um’tukah – Praying for a good and sweet new year!

In the Torah this morning, we read about one of the most significant moments in the history of the Jewish People – Isaac’s birth. Without Isaac, we’re over before we even began and we marvel at the notion that Sarah gave birth at the age of 90! The idea is that Isaac’s birth was miraculous and a fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. A promise that has...Read more...

Sermon: Rosh Hashanah Evening, 9/29/19

10/01/2019 09:22:11 AM

Oct1

Rabbi Charlie

L’shana Tova Tikateivu –I sincerely hope and pray that it is a good and sweet new year for you and me, for our families, for our community, and for our world!

I know that there’s a lot to be concerned about in our world… a lot of concern… But right now, I’m worried about you. After numerous conversations over the past few months there seems to be a general sense that whether its due to work or family or politics and many...Read more...

Story: Parshat Nitzavim, 9/27/19

09/29/2019 12:19:36 PM

Sep29

Rabbi Charlie

This week’s Torah portion, Nitzavim, tells us that we should choose life so that we shall live. And in the New Year ahead, we are hoping and praying for a year filled with life and good health and positive things! Our story tonight is therefore life affirming and might even be able to teach us a thing or two about what it means to choose life. It’s a Jewish story from Afghanistan that I learned from Howard Schwartz (Leaves from the Garden...Read more...

Reflection Before or During Our Holy Days

09/24/2019 09:10:58 AM

Sep24

Rabbi Charlie

High Holy Day Reflection Booklet

Click on the link to take a little time to prepare for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. These reflections will help you participate in our Days of Awe with a greater sense of intention and purpose.

Read more...

Story: Parshat Ki Teitzei, 9/13/19

09/17/2019 09:22:40 AM

Sep17

Rabbi Charlie

Almost every month, people will happily get their birthday gift – the awesome happy birthday pen or magnet – and then we’ll do the anniversary blessing and someone will ask – what gift do the anniversary people get? The answer is usually – each other. Well, this Shabbat, I’m giving the anniversary couples an extra special gift – instead of just one story, I’m going to share two of them. I know – it’s pretty...Read more...

Sermon: Parshat Shoftim, 9/6/19

09/08/2019 09:23:14 AM

Sep8

Rabbi Charlie

Shabbat Shalom!

I don’t know if you know this or not, but we are living in strange times. I guess there’s lots of ways to look at that statement, but in particular, I was thinking about how we judge everything. We “power rank” sports teams, players, fast food places, junk food, Halloween costumes – everything. Many of us enjoy judging contestants on America’s Got Talent and voting our preferences. Star rankings are...Read more...

Sermon: Parshat Re'eh, 8/30/19

09/01/2019 11:07:04 AM

Sep1

Rabbi Charlie

I talk often about the Jewish values we find in Torah. Giving Tzedakah, caring for those who are sick, offering hospitality. I also teach about how we cannot ignore the more difficult parts of the Torah – the ones that might feel uncomfortable to our modern ears. Passages such as this one from this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Re’eh:

“You must destroy all the sites at which the nations you are to dispossess...Read more...

Story: Parshat Eikev, 8/23/19

08/25/2019 02:15:08 PM

Aug25

Rabbi Charlie

Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion speaks of how the Israelites experienced hardships and blessings as they wandered through the wilderness. It teaches us to give thanks for the food that we eat and care for those in need.

And that reminded me of a mashal, a story. It’s a story that begins with a weary traveler named Nechama.

Nechama had always had a restless spirit. Tragedy took the love of her life years before...Read more...

Sermon: Parshat D'varim, 8/9/19

08/11/2019 09:49:00 AM

Aug11

Rabbi Charlie

Deuteronomy – D’varim begins with Moses recapping the Israelite’s wanderings as they draw near to the Promised Land. And as Moses speaks, it’s hard not to notice what sounds a lot like frustration. Moses stresses the times when the people wouldn’t listen to God. He blames the people – “Because of you, God was incensed with me” (Deu 1:37). He asks rhetorically, “How can I bear unaided the trouble of you, and the burden, and...Read more...

Sermon: Parshat Chukat, 7/12/19

07/13/2019 10:09:03 PM

Jul13

Rabbi Charlie

Moses sent a messenger to the King of Edom, saying, “You know we’ve experienced hardships. You know the Egyptians dealt harshly with us. Please. We just want to cross through your country. We won’t take anything. Please, make this journey a little easier. Please.” In response, the King of Edom threatened war, so we were forced to go the long way around. We were then attacked by the King of Arad. We were forced to battle Sihon, king of...Read more...

Story: Parshat Korach, 7/5/19

07/09/2019 10:52:21 AM

Jul9

Rabbi Charlie

This week’s Torah portion, parshat Korach, is about how after learning that the Jews will wander in the wilderness for forty years, there are a series of rebellions against God, Moses, and Aaron. Eventually things will calm down, and this story, told by Rabbi Edward Garsek (“God’s Miracles,” Three Times Chai, Laney Katz Becker, ed, p. 59-60, adapted.), envisions what it would be like as children are growing up in such a...Read more...

Sun, October 13 2019 14 Tishrei 5780