Israel Conversations: How Did We Get Here?

July 25, 2014

Operation Protective Edge and the decades of conflict that led to it is hard for even the experts to understand.  RS will offer a course this fall, designed for all of us who feel a thirst for background of Israel’s history and a thirst for understanding of the people and culture of Israel today.  Learn about our approach in this Bulletin article by RS Past President, Fred Strober. Read the rest of this entry »

Crowdsourcing Sermons

July 25, 2014

Crowdsourcing August 1 Sermon

For this summer’s sermons, we’d like to incorporate your perspectives. The
clergy will pose a question at the beginning of each week. Your
responses to the question will help inform the sermon for that week.

Please respond to the August 1 sermon topic: “When have you experienced a connection to Israel (the land, the people, the state) that surprised you? Describe the moment.”

Standing With Israel

July 24, 2014

israel stand with

Rodeph Shalom congregants joined pro-Israel supporters Wednesday for an Israel solidarity rally.

The rally was organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. There were speeches from Elad Strohmayer, Israel’s deputy consul general to the mid-Atlantic region; state Sen. Anthony Williams; Federation President Sherrie Savett and CEO Naomi Adler; Josh Shapiro, chairman of the Montgomery County Commission; and Risa Vetri Ferman, Montgomery County’s district attorney.

From the Jewish Exponent: “The crowd brought together a diverse group of pro-Israel supporters from across the region, including some non-Jewish advocates. A mix of Orthodox and non-Orthodox, young and old waved Israeli flags and holding signs that said “We Stand With Israel” and “What if rockets targeted your city all year long?” 

Holy and Broken. Hallelujah.

July 24, 2014

Our discussion on the blog this week was inspired by the question, “What song or piece of music makes you think differently or think deeply?” Some individuals mentioned a particular song and some mentioned a particular text. All talked about how the music makes them think. Two ideas emerged over again.

Read the rest of this entry »

Crowd Source Sermon Topic

July 19, 2014

Crowdsourcing July 25 Sermon

For this summer’s sermons, we’d like to incorporate your perspectives. The
clergy will pose a question at the beginning of each week. Your
responses to the question will help inform the sermon for that week.

Please respond to July 25 sermon topic: “Technology itself is neither good nor bad, it is how we use it. How has technology helped to connect you to others and/or how has technology separated you from others?”

In Jerusalem, What Else Do You Do?

July 12, 2014

A poem by my friend and colleague, Rabbi Michael Latz:

on the way to visit a friend for dinner on Emek Refaim,
we stopped to do a holy Jewish act:
Buy a book.
As we perused the selection
in Hebrew
and English
at Steimatzky’s,
and explored titles
of trashy novels
and deep philosophy
and Jewish life
and the potential
for Middle East Peace
and how to make
a perfect Shakshouka,
the Air Raid Siren went off.
we went to the miklat–
the safe room/bomb shelter.
We crowded in with
other shoppers:
A mother soothing an anxious toddler
with Hebrew lullabyes,
An older woman reading her I-Phone
for news on the Red Alert app,
Two young college students,
handing out stickers that read, “Discount”
in Hebrew to the children
in the Bomb Shelter
as the Iron Dome intercepted
two of the four rockets launched at Jerusalem,
once considered
now a target.
and our daughters
in the Miklat on Emek Refaim
wondering in our hearts
a volley of unspoken questions:
Is this
our new normal?
Do you ever get used to this?
Where do you put the fear?
How are our daughters–
raised in the safety of the United States–
acting so calmly,
so courageously?
And then, it was over.
We handed over the 100 Sheckel note
and bought a book for me–John Grisham’s latest court room thriller–and a book for Noa:
a young adult novel of fantasy and princesses and dangerous alliances brewing in a mysterious world.
The shop keeper smiled,
handed us our change,
and we said simultaneously,
Todah Rabbah: Thank you.
And walked to dinner.
Because in Jerusalem
what else do you do?

Read the rest of this entry »

Opening to Risk and Praying for Israel: Crowdsourcing Sermon from last Shabbat

July 12, 2014

“You shall love the Eternal your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might. Set these words upon your heart.”

Why?  Why does it say to set these words of love and of Torah, upon your heart? Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz teaches: we place the words of Torah upon our hearts so that they can lay there, wait there, for the day our heart breaks.  And when it does break, those words of love sitting on our heart will fall right into the crack.  That’s when we will really know Torah.

With fear comes distancing, the building of walls, the closing of hearts.  But with openness—sometimes even just a crack, exposing our heart—comes the trust and faith that can allow for risk-taking. Read the rest of this entry »


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