Fire on the Mount

Fire on the Mount10 Jun 2016

It was a rare hot afternoon in the North of England when I met a clergy friend at Starbucks for a Frappuccino milkshake (chocolate flavour, of course). Although the drinks were cold, our conversation was passionate. He is a vicar in the local Church and despite the fact that one of us is a Christian and the other is a Jew, there was a world we shared of our experiences in the pulpit.

I Can't Help Falling in Love with You

I Can't Help Falling in Love with You03 Jun 2016

One of the world’s greatest love stories is the relationship between God and the Jewish people; a love story that we revisit year after year at Shavu’ot, the symbolic marriage between God and Israel. This saga also had humble origins—with Abraham, a shepherd from Ur Kasdim. And, like most love stories, there was an intense process of emotional and spiritual growth. In our case, this took place in the desert, after a spectacular elopement from Mitzrayim.

Covenant, Community and Caring

Covenant, Community and Caring27 May 2016

Of course as a community, we hope and want to see the very best of ourselves. Yet there is a darker side to community as well. Who is in and who is out? Who participates and who is jettisoned? Who leads and who follows? This is part of the central question of what kind of a community we want to be. 

Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven20 May 2016

The Omer Counting can be seen as the world’s oldest ’12 Step Program’, an antique method of self-improvement. According to the Chassidic tradition this is certainly the case where each ‘sefirah’ (‘counting’) is aligned with a Kabbalistic description of the Divine, like ‘Gevurah’ (power) or ‘Chesed’ (loving-kindness) for us to emulate. Be what may, the message is clear – the Omer is not only a Biblical commandment (Lev. 23:15) in which we count our way from freedom (Pesach) to Revelation (Shavuot) – but also a stairway to Heaven into our deepest personal experiences.

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