Shabbat With Noah Aronson

November 30, 2016

Shabbat with Renowned Composer & Musician, Noah Aronson, on Friday, December 2 @ 6pm
Sponsored by the Miles Jellinek Memorial Fund

“Noah Aronson performs with joy, passion and a rich musicality that connects with audiences, heart-to-heart and soul-to-soul”(Anita Diamant)
We are priviledged to have the extrememly talented composer and vocalist, Noah Aronson, join us for a Shabbat Service.   He will enhance our service by collaborating with Makheilah: The RS Choir and our Youth Choir, and by sharing his music.

Join us for a community dinner following the service (RSVP) and a cafe style concert with Noah Aronson.

Listen to Noah’s beautiful “Eileh Chambdah Libi

 


HaKarat HaTov: Jewish Thanksgiving and Jewish Living

November 24, 2016

Discover more Jewish values on raising kids who are responsible, grateful and menschy with money on Tues., Nov 29, when NY Times money columnist Ron Lieber speaks.

When this year’s Slichot speaker, Dr. Dan Gottleib of WHYY hosted his final weekly Voices in the Family last year, he focused the show on gratitude.  As callers thanked Dr. Dan for giving them something– courage or patience or thanks…  he responded (paraphrased) “I don’t give anyone anything that isn’t already there.  It’s about seeing what’s already there.”

Seeing what’s already there– this is Judaism’s approach to Thanksgiving.  One Hebrew term for gratitude is “hakarat hatov.” Read the rest of this entry »


Rodeph Shalom Statement to Speak Out Against Hate and Object to the Appointment of Steve Bannon

November 16, 2016
     We the clergy and president of Congregation Rodeph Shalom raise our voices in concern for the hateful rhetoric that has become a part of our nation’s recent discourse. As faith leaders we affirm the equality of all human beings, and speaking to the importance of this moment in our history, we recall the teaching from our tradition: “The first person was created alone for the sake of peace among people, so that no one could say to another, ‘My ancestor was greater than yours’” (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5).
     We object to the appointment of Steve Bannon as chief strategist to the President-Elect. We echo the statement of the Anti-Defamation League: “It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the Alt Right, a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists – is slated to be a senior staff member in the ‘people’s house.'”
     We call upon leaders of the next administration to speak out against the acts of hate we have seen in our Philadelphia community, including anti-semitic graffiti and messages of hate directed at students of color.
     We promise to continue to make our voices heard if other groups are targeted with hateful rhetoric for their religion, their race, their gender, their sexuality, their disability, or their country of origin.
     We urge all who wish to speak out against hate to contact your government representatives, and urge all those who wish to act to promote love of their fellow human beings to join us in mitzvah opportunities to come. Our tradition instructs us how to follow paths of righteousness, and we will continue to listen and respond.

“Praise God, even if God takes your life”

November 15, 2016

Thank you to RS Board member David Mandell, ScD, for offering these words on the post-election world, gratitude, and a congregational learning opportunity.

“Praise God, even if God takes your life”

I am heartbroken by the results of the presidential election. I alternate between deep mourning and rage. Yesterday morning I expressed my anguish to a colleague from Turkey. She said that she too is disappointed but was not experiencing the same depths of despair that I was. She pointed out that living in the United States is still preferable to the violence and unrest in Turkey. A Russian man told me, “so your party lost? At least you have two parties. And you’re not thrown in jail for not being a member.” Another friend listened in on a phone call with President Obama, who gave us permission to mope for a week, and then have to get back to work. We’ve made a huge difference to the country and if 20% of it gets rolled back, 80% is still left.

In these three moments I felt hope. And driving that hope was gratitude. Read the rest of this entry »


Opening for Daylight: Seeing Difference this Krystallnacht

November 6, 2016

et1Last month, I had the opportunity to watch the movie E.T. as the Philadelphia Orchestra performed the John Williams score live with the screening of the film at the Kimmel Center.  It had been years since I had seen Steven Spielberg’s imaginative masterpiece about a lost alien who is befriended a 10 year old boy.

When I saw the movie as a child, I understood the message to be one of friendship.  Although friendship was still present, this time, I saw something different.  All of these years later, it was clear to me: the movie about the extra-terrestrial is an allegory.  When faced with difference, children are driven by curiosity and love.  Whereas many of the adults in the story see difference, and respond with fear, self-protection and even attack.

What is our inclination when we encounter something outside of ourselves?  Do we open our eyes to see?  Or do we remain covered, protected, in the dark?   Read the rest of this entry »


Our Concealed Shortcomings: On Bias and Race

October 13, 2016

delivered by Rabbi Jill Maderer, Yom Kippur, Congregation Rodeph Shalom     

A story I love, from Rabbi Nachman of Brazslav.  A young woman visits her family and shares that she has become a master in the art of menorah making. She asks her parents to invite all of the other artisans in town to come see her masterpiece.  So all of the finest crafters come to view the menorah.  Later, the daughter asks her parents, “What did they think?” The parents reply, “We’re sorry to say, all of your fellow lamp-makers described a different flaw.” “Yes,” replies the daughter, “but that is the secret! They all say it was flawed, but what nobody realizes is this: Each sees a different part as blemished, but overlooks the mistakes that he himself would make.  You see, I made the menorah in this way on purpose — replete with deficiencies — in order to demonstrate that all of us have shortcomings.

Rabbi Nachman’s parable is drawn from the Psalmist, who calls to God: “Alumenu limor panecha” (Ps 90). “You can see our concealed darkness; You can see our concealed shortcomings, in the light of Your face.” God can see our shortcomings. Read the rest of this entry »


Sermon for Erev Rosh HaShanah 5777 – Hakarat HaTov (Remembering the Good)

October 5, 2016

I’m sick and tired of all this sin and repentance stuff! I know, it’s only Erev Rosh Hashanah, we haven’t even gotten to Yom Kippur yet. But every year, it’s the same thing:

Al chet shechatanu lifanecha…

For the sins I committed against you…

Ashamnu, bagadnu, gazalnu…

We betray, we steal, we scorn…

Enough already; enough beating ourselves up. We literally pound on our chests as we say these words, flagellating ourselves on the inside and out. I’m done.

Read the rest of this entry »