Neighbor is a Moral Concept* (Kol Nidrei 2017)

October 1, 2017

Or zarua latzadik / Light is sown for the righteous**, words we just sang as the introduction to Kol Nidrei. This Yom Kippur, we search for the light of righteousness that it may illumine our path, and the path for generations to come.

Since our last Yom Kippur together, our world feels different.  We have born witness to anti-Semitism and bigotry, meant to keep us from the faith that we have the power to stand in the light.  More emboldened than recent memories of hate.  No longer hiding behind the white hood.  Not limited to the right or left fringes.  White supremacists, have desecrated cemeteries, painted swastikas in our city, threatened our Jewish Community Centers, and just last week created a new online presence #Gasthesynagogue.  And, in 2017 America, armed Nazis stalked a Reform Jewish synagogue in Charlottesville.   According to the Anti-Defamation League, in the first quarter of 2017 anti-semitic incidents in the U.S. surged more than 86%.

What do we do, in the face of heightened Anti-Semitism? Read the rest of this entry »

Showing Support to Muslims Neighbors

December 17, 2015

by Rabbi Jill Maderer

In the face of the current atmosphere of fear and Islamophobia, many of us seek ways to demonstrate to Muslim neighbors that we are their allies and know the faith that they practice is not the extremism we see in the terrorists.

As a start, I have been touched by the writings of Sophia Ali-Kahn. She provides guidance in this short article; I am interested to know how you think Rodeph Shalom can play a positive role.

Solidarity with Muslim Neighbors in Response to a Desecration

December 9, 2015



In response to the desecration of the Al Aqsa Islamic Society, a mosque in our neighborhood, our congregation’s clergy has sent this letter of support to its Imam.  This Hanukkah, may the Jewish community find ways to bring light into our world.

Letter to Imam Shehata

Read the rest of this entry »

Our Common Home: The Pope’s Encyclical in the Jewish Community

August 8, 2015

by Rabbi Jill Maderer

So… Who is in the box?  Who’s home falls in the Center City travel box when our special guest, the Pope, visits Philadelphia this fall? Me, too.  Although still not complete, this week’s transportation and security update began to feed my hunger for a better understanding about how my family will function, how emergencies will be addressed, and of course, how we are going to get the Jewish community to synagogue.  As complicated as the Pope’s visit will be from a logistical perspective, I am intrigued about how we in the Jewish community, might find meaning in this historical moment. Read the rest of this entry »

Anti-Muslim or Anti-Jew, It’s All Bigotry

March 31, 2015

I recently coordinated a panel on global anti-Semitism. Participants learned about the efforts of the U.S. State Department and the American Jewish Committee in their work urging foreign governments to crack down on the perpetrators of anti-Semitic attacks.   I was struck by a comment from US Department of State Team Leader of Anti-Semitism and Europe in the Office of International Religious Freedom, Stacy Bernard Davis: “What used to be fringe is now voted into Parliament.”

Sadly, I believe Davis’ message can be extended.  What used to be fringe is now… published in the mainstream press… used for votes… sponsored as bus advertisements. Read the rest of this entry »

Martin Luther King, Jr. Shabbat

January 7, 2010

By Rabbi Bill Kuhn

On Friday evening, January 15, 2010 at our 7:30 p.m. Shabbat Service, we will celebrate the national holiday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday.  In what has become an annual event at Rodeph Shalom, we will share one of the most meaningful interfaith services of our calendar year as we welcome Reverend Kevin Johnson and the Bright Hope Baptist Church.  Reverend Johnson will give the sermon that evening as we also welcome many members of his congregation and his choir.  Those of you who have heard him speak and have heard their magnificent choir know what an unforgettable experience this is.  Read the rest of this entry »