Setting Aside Time – Rabbi Ronit Tsadok
Grief, consolation, growth. How the Jewish calendar offers a framework for moving through this time of transition.
Why Is Everyone So Angry These Days? – Rabbinic Intern Sammy Kanter
Have you noticed Americans are particularly angry and mean these days? Especially on social media. In this sermon, I explore what we can learn from the Talmud’s explanation for the cause of Jerusalem’s destruction on Tisha b’av. I ask, how can we be humbler?
You Don’t Have to Do This Alone – Rabbi David Kasher
This Shabbat comes a day before the greatest day of mourning in the Jewish calendar year, Tisha B’av, on which we read the book of Lamentations. That’s what we call it in English, anyway. But in Hebrew, the book is simply called Eikha, or “How?” To understand the full meaning of this existential question, we have to go back to the first time it was asked.
Don’t Turn Away – Rabbi Sharon Brous
Even after all we’ve been through, we must not succumb to compassion fatigue. Our humanity rests in our ability to feel for one another. And our Rabbis promise: those who identify with the suffering of the community will merit seeing its consolation.
Confronting the Moral Stain – Rabbi Sharon Brous
Only when we reckon honestly with the past can we be liberated us from its grip. #Juneteenth must be more than a symbolic gesture. We must not only remember slavery, but work to upend its legacy in America and build a truly just and equitable society in its place. Kaddish for Black Lives can be found here.
Can’t You See? The Whole Community Is Holy #PRIDEShabbat- Rabbi Sharon Brous
Five years after the worst act of violence against LGBTQ+ Americans, there’s still so much healing to do. Religious communities must repent for generations of violence, alienation and exclusion against our LGBTQ+ family.
Hag Pride Sameach – Rabbinic Intern Sammy Kanter
On this Pride Shabbat, Sammy honors the journey of the queer community of the past 50 years, while also recognizing the work still to be done particularly around trans and non-binary equality. Speakers Ari Benor, Aron Macarow, and Jen Bailey share their stories of strength, courage, and confidence in their identities to help IKAR mark Pride and share our commitment to a more equal and just future.
It’s Time to Defortify Our Hearts – Rabbi Sharon Brous
I want my Jewish children to inherit our traditions and our history, but I don’t want them to inherit our trauma, especially if that means closing their hearts to another people’s pain. Recognizing someone else’s just cause in no way diminishes our own. The brave path, the strong path requires a defortification of our hearts. Let down our defenses and see what we might learn. Strong views, loosely held.
(Please forgive the audio challenges.)
The Eyes Are the Spies of the Body – Rabbi David Kasher
The main event in this week’s parsha is the Sin of the Spies. But tucked in at the end of the reading is a little section on the laws of tzitzit, the little strings we attach to a tallit. Why are we learning this now? Because, says Rashi, the eyes are the spies of the body.
I Am the Humblest Man on Earth – Rabbi David Kasher
There’s something funny about humility. We tend to think of it as a virtue worth pursuing. Yet the moment someone claims to have it, they don’t sound all that humble. So what is humility, exactly, and why would we aspire to it to begin with?
I Reject the Premise of the Question – Rabbi Sharon Brous
I don’t fit into either camp. Maybe you don’t either. If we stand together, we won’t be so lonely. (Please forgive the audio challenges.)
Keep Your Head Up – Rabbi David Kasher
As we slowly begin to gather again, we are reexperiencing that unique feeling of being surrounded by people we love. And the Children of Israel, at this moment in their journey through the Sinai desert, are also gathering themselves together in a crowd, in order to take a census. The particular language the Torah uses to call for that gathering provides us with a deep insight into the purpose and power of congregation.
Fellow Creatures—Can We Not See One Another? – Rabbi Sharon Brous
After another week of devastating violence in Israel and Palestine, the only way forward is through the truth.
Hanukkah in May – Rabbi David Kasher
We are, thank God, finally coming back to pray together in person. So what will this experience of reentry be like for us, after having been apart for so long? In our tradition, we have a word for this act of rededication: ‘Hanukkah.’ And if the Hanukkah ceremonies of the past are any indication, this will be a complicated emotional process.
After the Fallow – Rabbi Sharon Brous
Rav Kook taught that it was the periodic suspension of the normal social routine that elevates the people, lifting us spiritually and morally, crowning us with perfection… After a year of fallow, what now is waiting to be born?
Heartache and Hard Questions – Rabbi Sharon Brous
After unthinkable loss on Lag b’Omer, amidst our shared grief, we ache for a message of hope and resiliency. But in the face of devastating communal loss, our tradition points us toward relentless self-scrutiny: in what ways have we again failed to protect the human beings at the heart of our great project? Asking these questions does not betray the dead—it honors them, because it is the only way to avert future disasters.
We’re Not Nearly Done – Rabbi Sharon Brous
The verdict came down this week in the most consequential murder trial of our time. Can this conviction free us for a moment to imagine a system that works to keep every person safe? Are we brave enough, big hearted enough, free enough to imagine a world that treats every single person as an image of the Holy One? Our work is not yet nearly done.
The Illness, The Diagnosis, The Remedy – Rabbi Sharon Brous
In ancient times, when the affliction appeared experts were called to determine if it was a harmless, surface reaction, or a symptom of a dangerous illness taking root in a body already profoundly unwell. Today the experts– those closest to the pain point—are unequivocal: the contagion of violence in our society is no surface rash. Police killings, mass shootings—these are not isolated incidents, individual tragedies. Those pulling the trigger are not lone gunmen, bad apples. A dangerous affliction has taken root in our nation, and it threatens to destroy the whole body if it’s not rooted out.
Writing our Reopening Story – Rabbi Ronit Tsadok
When we look back on this time of re-opening coming back together, what is the story we will tell? The journey of the Israelites from Egypt to Mount Sinai (a.k.a. the Omer Period) offers some guidance.
This Long, Winding Road – Rabbi Keilah Lebell
The path from Egypt to the Promised Land might have been quite short, but God diverts the newly freed Israelites to follow a longer, more meandering course. So it is for us today as we make our way out of pandemic – the path is slow and uncertain. As we take steps forward, we must stay connected to each other, allowing ourselves to celebrate and to hold the loss and anguish of the darkness we have lived through.