Loyalty: To Bigotry No Sanction, Washington’s Slave Quarters, and the Holy Ground of Our Nation’s Struggle

August 25, 2019

Rabbi Maderer delivered this D’var Torah on Shabbat, 8/23                  

Two days ago, the Reform Movement’s rabbinic arm released the following statement:

“The Central Conference of American Rabbis is dismayed by President Donald J. Trump’s politically charged and divisive statement referring to Jews who vote for Democrats: ‘I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge, or great disloyalty.’ The deployment of this classic antisemitic trope should raise serious concerns for every member of the Jewish community, regardless of one’s political party.  Throughout our history, Jews have been maligned by the dangerous, antisemitic speech of individuals in positions of power who accused us of placing loyalty to Israel or Judaism over loyalty to the lands of our sojourn. Often, those accusations have contributed to violence against Jews and expulsion.  American Jews are well informed voters—Republicans, Democrats, and Independents—who are deeply devoted to American values, including bipartisan support for Israel. The suggestion that Jews, or any religious group, should be affiliated with any one political party is un-American and should be challenged directly and unequivocally.”

As our Rodeph Shalom clergy and leadership affirmed in our congregational email yesterday, we stand with those words.

Furthermore, I’d like to briefly comment on the most recent events, that led to the absurd disloyalty accusation. As most of you know, I am committed to Israel and believe Israel’s security is critical to the Jewish people.  And I care deeply about a Two-State Solution that would offer dignity to the Palestinians. Read the rest of this entry »

Hearing Patrick Kennedy April 12: Mental Health, Addiction and Compassion in Our Community

March 17, 2016
common_struggle_cover     In former congressperson Patrick Kennedy’s Memoir, A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction, he describes a scene that took place just after he revealed his struggles to the New York Times.  There he was at a family occasion, surrounded bu relatives who were not happy about his public truth-telling.  Yet, there were some exceptions.  His cousin, Maria (Shriver) showed compassion to Patrick and said she thought was he was doing was fantastic.
     Maria showed support, she chose to bear witness rather than look the other way, and she offered her presence.  I have come to believe that this is what the Misheberach, our blessing for healing, is about.  More than it is a plea to God for healing power, perhaps the Misheberach is a plea to each other for the healing power we can provide others when we show support, choose to bear witness, and offer presence.

Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

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 »

An Inscription for the Building Expansion

November 20, 2013
  • In addition to the name Congregation Rodeph Shalom, the front of the building expansion will include a purpose-driven quotation from Jewish tradition.  We value your ideas and hope you will participate!  Please submit your suggestion to the clergy and leadership through Charlene McDonald at cmcdonald@rodephshalom.org.

More Great News about RS Building Expansion

November 13, 2013

night viewOur Beacon on Broad plans were covered again this morning!  Check out today’s article here and listen to KYW for more.  This transformation belongs to the whole congregation!  Please participate by contributing to the to Legacy Campaign.  And learn more about the project here.


Building for Profound Connections

November 12, 2013
An architectural rendering of a planned expansion of Congregation Rodeph Shalom. Here, the expansion as viewed from Broad Street. (handout photo)
Legacy renovation and expansion begins next month! Visionary design ensures this is not just beautiful square footage; it is values-driven space that will enable us to further our vision: to create profound connections.
(architectural rendering by KieranTimberlake, as viewed from Broad Street)
Read more in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer.