Benediction at 2013 Colorado 9/11 Memorial

The following is the benediction I offered at the 2013 Colorado 9/11 Memorial presented at the Newman Center at the University of Denver: Twelve years ago. Twelve years ago the unthinkable happened. Twelve years ago our world was forever changed as nearly 3,000 people; men, women and children, perished on that clear September day. We were shaken. We were horrified. We were terrified. Yet, something else also happened: We raised our flags. We extended our hand to our neighbors. We… Read more

An Experiment for Rosh Hashanah

Let me offer you a small experiment/challenge for this upcoming Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The purpose of this experiment is to see if it changes the way you experience your time in synagogue during this most important time of the year. Just this one year, perhaps even just for one service, try the following: Try to become more of a participant and less of a critic. A participant immerses him or herself into the experience. A participant suspends the… Read more

One Year Since Aurora

The following is a modified version of the sermon I delivered this past Shabbat on the one year anniversary of the shooting at the Century Multiplex in Aurora, CO: One Year Later: What Have We Learned from Aurora? “Be comforted, be comforted, my people (Isaiah 40:1)” With these words synagogues around the world opened their Prophetic reading for this past Sabbath, from the prophet Isaiah. This Sabbath, the Sabbath immediately following the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av,… Read more

Kumare: The Allure of Otherness

I watched the documentary Kumare this weekend and I was struck by its portrayal of the development of a religious community and the search of people for meaning and fulfillment in their own lives. The movie follows the filmmaker as he morphs into an Indian Guru and plants himself in Phoenix, Arizona where he develops a coherent belief system and attracts followers. Throughout the movie he attempts to convey to his followers that they actually do not need a Guru… Read more

A Prayer For Boston

The following is the message I sent out to our community after the bombings at the Boston Marathon. As the City of Boston lay in the grip of fear and lockdown during the manhunt for the suspected bomber, I believe these words hold as true now as they did on Monday: Our hearts are heavy and our eyes are red with tears as we read, watch and listen to the reports about the terrorist attack today in the great City… Read more

The Complaint

Houses of Worship are unique organizations in many ways. The House of Worship, regardless of faith, functions as a spiritual home for individuals to commune with their God, their traditions and their people. For many the House of Worship is an anchor in an ever-changing fluid world. A place of stability. A rock of peace and serenity. A haven from the tumultous currents of the outside world. However, Houses of Worship also have a lot in common with every other… Read more

What Amazes You?

Tomorrow night people around the world will sit down with their family and friends and partake in the Passover seder. The seder is perhaps the oldest continuously practiced ritual unbroken throughout the generations. Throughout time and place it has adopted various new customs and adapted old ones but the essential component remains the same: the retelling of the Exodus. The great formative narrative of the Children of Israel, in which God with an outstretched arm and a mighty hand redeemed… Read more

Newtown and a Jewish Reflection on Gun Control

It was only a few weeks after my family and I moved to Denver to assume the position of senior rabbi at a synagogue just a few miles from Aurora that the horrific massacre at the movie theater occurred. Our television screens and laptops were inundated with the life stories of the victims and the images of so much grief and destruction. I wrote an article back then for The Denver Post calling on all people of faith and good… Read more

Chayei Sarah, Elections and Community

This sermon was delivered at BMH-BJ: The Denver Synagogue on Shabbat morning, November 10, 2012. Most of the country this past Tuesday found themselves glued to their television sets throughout the evening. We tried every way possible to avoid the nearly 73,000 commercials these past few months. We turned off all of our lights when we saw a campaign volunteer approach our front door. We sifted through the mountains of mailings that flooded our mailbox. Yet, on Tuesday night, for… Read more

Hurricane Sandy: A Torah Perspective

This sermon was delivered this past Shabbat at BMH-BJ: The Denver Synagogue in Denver, Colorado. The Verazano Bridge, Triboro Bridge, George Washington Bridge, the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Queens-Midtown Tunnel; all closed and shut down. No going in and no going out of New York City. This almost sounds like the beginning of a summer blockbuster movie, but this past week this was the harsh and unforgiving reality for millions of people in the Tristate area. No subways,… Read more

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