July 13, 2015
Delivered by Rabbi Jill Maderer this Shabbat... Thank you to Roberta for your beautiful Torah reading. When Roberta began to prepare for her Adult B’nei Mitzvah earlier this year, she felt especially draw to chanting Torah. It was then that her mother reminded her: Roberta’s great-grandfather was a hazzan–a traditional cantor. This powerful link to her roots — spanning time and space — deepened Roberta’s Torah experience all the more so.
This summer, as we encounter Mishkan HaNefesh, our new High Holy Day Machzor, we are posting a weekly question for your response. This week, we asked: From what person or event in Jewish history or in Jewish tradition do you draw inspiration? In other words, what are the lessons you learn from Jews of the past?
In Roberta’s case, a teacher of Jewish ritual who was a relative from her own family touched her. For many, teachers from Jewish history offer connection. We are not alone in our Jewish quest for meaning. Read the rest of this entry »
October 16, 2014
Were you able to find a seat ok? You may have noticed that when you enter this early part of the Yom Kippur afternoon service, it’s easy to find a place to sit! Nestled between the crowds of Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur morning, and the crowds that will soon arrive for Yizkor and Neilah, this afternoon service tends to be our quieter moment of the day. And yet, here you are. Perhaps you are drawn here because your family has always made Yom Kippur a full-day experience. Perhaps you need a place to wait out the fast. Perhaps you are avoiding slicing tomatoes back at your house, where your family is preparing to host a break-fast. And perhaps you are here, to soak up every last potential opportunity, for introspection on Yom Kippur.
I’d like to consider with you, the role of introspection, in these hours of Yom Kippur, and beyond. What does it mean, to sit in reflection? Read the rest of this entry »
September 4, 2014
Last month, a rabbi visiting Camp Harlam Overnight Camp scowled when in the dining hall, he saw the campers banging on tables to the beat of Birkat Hamazon, Grace After Meals. He missed it. This rabbi missed the whole point. He missed the fact that hundreds of campers knew all the words to a very long Hebrew blessing. He missed the fact that in that moment they were absolutely aware of the connection between eating and gratitude. He missed the Jewish pride in their eyes as they felt that knowing Hebrew and connecting Jewishly, is cool. And he missed the spiritual release that was happening for our campers in that dining hall, during Birkat Hamazon and song session.
Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
August 29, 2013
“The great shofar is sounded, and the still, small voice is heard.” We read in the Un’taneh Tokef prayer, one of the central prayers of our High Holy Day liturgy, Uv’shofar gadol yitaka, v’kol d’mamah dakah yishama. How do we pay attention to the both the loud and the silent in our lives? What is clamoring loudly for your attention and what is stirring silently within you? In this month of reflection, we attune our souls. We practice listening to the loud and the silent, and we prepare to heed both. (Please join us as we practice paying attention at weekly Friday 5pm Jewish Meditation, before our Shabbat service).
L’shanah tovah–Your RS Clergy