The Presbyterian Church’s Divestment Decision and Jewish Community Response of Multi-faith Coalition

June 27, 2014

feature-rick2.jpgThank you to  URJ president Rabbi Rick Jacobs, who on CNN shared that in his address to the leaders of the Presbyterian Church, he explained the pain their decision to divest from 3 American companies doing business with Israel, would cause the Jewish community.  He spoke of a more effective and values-driven way to pursue our shared goal, a 2-state solution, inviting Church leaders to join him in a meeting with PM Netanyahu to say that the settlements do not help to advance peace in the Middle East.  The Church’s vote and decline of that invitation doesn’t represent all of its leaders.  In fact, local Presbyterian clergy has reached out to the Jewish community and I was invited to join the signatures to the below Statement for next week’s Exponent.  Both Rabbi Jacobs for the URJ and the Jewish Community Relations Council (who co-authored the statement below) teach us the path to multi-faith relations and to peace is not in division or hate but in dialogue and relationship.

Interfaith Statement Concerning the Presbyterian Church USA Decision to Divest from three American Companies because of their Sales to Israel Read the rest of this entry »

Crowd Sourcing Sermon Topic for July 4

June 26, 2014


For the sermon on Friday, July 4, our clergy will be drawing inspiration from your comments to the question:

Have you ever felt that food is sacred?  How does food connect you to others?  To your family?  To Judaism?

Click here for more information about the nature of crowd sourcing from Rabbi Kuhn’s blog

Crowd Sourcing Sermons

June 26, 2014


Imagine that you are a member of the Rodeph Shalom clergy team, and you could tap into the collective wisdom of our congregation to help you write your sermons this summer.

That is exactly what we are going to do this summer with CROWDSOURCING SUMMER SERMON SERIES.

What is Crowdsourcing? It is the process of obtaining ideas or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, especially from the online community. (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, 2014)

What is Crowdsourcing a Sermon? It is an opportunity for us to draw inspiration from your comments and to encourage conversation among our congregants on important Jewish issues. Crowdsourcing sermons will be a way for us to find an opportunity to draw closer as a community. It will be a way for us to fulfill our Vision of creating profound connections Read the rest of this entry »

The Work Of Jim Winters as discussed on

June 26, 2014

jim winters new grid hi rez.inddA continuing theme running through the book of Exodus is the coming and going of both Moses and God. After the lengthy drama of the Exodus, Moses disappears up the mountain and reappears to see the chaos of the episode of The Golden Calf. He is God’s corporeal messenger to Pharoah but absent from the discussion in Parashat T’tzaveh of the priestly responsibilities. God, too, is near when displaying signs and wonders in Egypt and splitting the sea, enabling the Israelites to pass to freedom, and also remote to the Israelites while Moses is up on the mountain receiving the law. Indeed, the whole discussion of the building of the Mishkan (tabernacle) through a great proportion of the book of Exodus revolves around the central question of how God will dwell among the people, so the Israelites understand that something that cannot be seen or touched can feel close.

What does it mean to be present? What does it mean to have presence? Perhaps we best consider our most abstract questions through the abstraction of art. Read the rest of this entry »

God Made You Holy: Buerger Early Learning Center Graduation poem

June 16, 2014

photo 4

Rabbi Jill Maderer’s Blessing to the Buerger Early Learning Center Graduates, Congregation Rodeph Shalom, 2014

(Inspired by this year’s Dr. Seuss week…)


The sun did not shine,

It was too wet to play.

So Bueger ELC

Had graduation day!


Many of you‘ve

been with us from start.

Others are new friends.

Could it be time to part?

Read the rest of this entry »

When Are We Afraid of the Wrong Thing?

June 14, 2014

Essex_Sinking (2)Compelled by stories of catastrophe, novelist Karen Thomson Walker, recently (TED Talk) offered an interpretation of the story of the Whaleship Essex.  In 1820, 3000 miles off the coast of Chile in one of the most remote regions of the Pacific Ocean, 20 American sailors watched their ship flood with sea water.  They had been struck by a sperm whale.  As the ship began to sink, the men huddled together in 3 small whaleboats, stocked only with rudimentary navigation equipment and limited supplies of food and water.  These were the men of the Whaleship Essex, whose story would later inspire parts of Moby Dick. Read the rest of this entry »

Counting the Omer: I stand with Ruth

June 2, 2014

On this final day of the Omer as we enter Shavuot and read the Book of Ruth, we reflect upon her immigration into the land and people of Israel, the loving-kindness with which Naomi welcomes Ruth and the loving-kindness which Ruth embraces Naomi.  In is blog post “We Stand with the Ruth of Today,” Rabbi Richard Levy challenges us to embrace the immigrant and undocumented among us today, with the loving-kindness of Ruth and Naomi.

Baruch Ata Adonai, Elohenu Melech ha-olam asher kidishanu b’mitzvotav vitzivanu al s’firat ha’omer. Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with sacred actions and enjoins us to count the omer.

Hayom tishah v’arba-im yom, shehem shivah shavuot la-omer.

Today is 49 days which is 7 weeks of the Omer.