One in Five Jews Say They Have No Religion: Applying Pew’s Lessons to the Future of Rodeph Shalom

February 23, 2014

Add your voice to the discussion: “Pew’s Findings on Jews in America: Hearing the Voices of Our Community” on Wed., Feb. 26 @ 7:00 pm at RS, with a panel featuring Pew Study director Alan Cooperman.

How does Jacob find meaning?  How do you find meaning in our Jewish community?  And how about the person who is connected to no Jewish organization, but might be on a quest for meaning?   How do we listen to what it is that person seeks? Read the rest of this entry »

Ki Tisa: I Can’t Make You Love Me if You Don’t

February 19, 2014

The moment I hear something familiar in a new way, I feel a charge that to me epitomizes what it means to be alive. The moment engages us in its call to consider.

I most recently experienced one of these moments listening to the radio in my car. I heard Bon Iver, a contemporary musical artist, sing his cover of the song I Can’t Make You Love Me, made famous originally by Bonnie Raitt. Within only a few seconds of listening everything in me rushed to attention, to appreciate the beauty of the music and to notice the moment when suddenly I’m making connections all over the place, when the many tracks of my life miraculously converge to travel the same path together for a while.

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Would You Stop for Beauty?

February 12, 2014

On a cold January morning during rush hour, at a Washington, DC metro station, a man wearing blue jeans, a tee-shirt and a baseball cap takes out his violin and begins to play.  Although the scene looks much like any street performance, it’s actually a stunt.  This is not just any street musician. This is master violinist, Joshua Bell.

A few years ago, The Washington Post invited Joshua Bell to participate in a social experiment.  They wondered: what would commuters do if they encountered exquisite music during their rush to get to work?  Without realizing that they were listening to a one-time child prodigy whose intricate music was being played on an expensive violin, and who just the evening prior had commanded on average $100 a seat at the symphony hall, would people stop for beauty? Read the rest of this entry »

Terumah and Pete Seeger – Bringing God into this World

February 5, 2014

“This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.”

“This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.”

These are the words that are etched into Pete Seeger’s banjo.  Seeger, who passed away this week, wrote and lived those words throughout his life.  Whether fighting the hate of racism, war or the destruction our natural world, Pete Seeger used his banjo and his voice to fight for justice throughout his life.

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Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month

February 4, 2014

Our congregant and community leader, Judith Creed, shares JChai resources for adults and a message about the importance of inclusion for Jews with disabilities.

When my son, Jonah, was born in 1973 and diagnosed as being disabled, the picture for people with special needs was pretty bleak. There were no social programs, synagogues did not accept special needs children in their schools, and we all were worried about the future of our kids. In 1987 a group of parents and myself got together and we opened our first group home—that would include Shabbat dinners, holidays, keeping  a kosher-style kitchen and would teach our children how to live independently. Read the rest of this entry »