Sermons on Yom Kippur

Kapparah: Letting Go, Welcoming In

Two former prisoners of war reconnected after many years and were catching up and reflecting on their experiences. One said to the other, “Have you forgiven our captors yet?” “No, never!” said the other. “Well, then,” said the first, “they still have you in prison, don’t they?” Maimonides in his 12th Century Laws of Teshuva,…

Shalom. Today’s Haftarah reading, the book of Yonah, begins with God telling Yonah, “Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim judgement upon it; for their wickedness has come before Me.” Yonah, however, does not go to Nineveh to deliver this message to its morally corrupt people. Instead, he boards a ship going…

A few moments ago our Torah reading began:  VaYidabar Adonoi El Moshe Achrai Mot Shnei B’nai Aharon B’karavtom lifnei Adonoi, V’yamutu.”    “Adonoi spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, Nadav and Abihu, when they drew too close to the presence of Adonai.” The rest of our Torah reading follows…

On Yom Kippur, I usually want to stay in shul all day, partly because, dehydrated, hungry and caffeine-deprived, I enter a kind of trance state, latching on to some parts of the service, fading out during others, and then sometimes finding a way to reenter the moment. (I guess giving a drash is one way…

The burdens of memory

Friends, there is just too much to share for one moment, even this moment. Yes, I say that every year, but this year I really do mean it more. So many have gathered tonight, across the world, some because they feel an irrational tribal pull, some because they fervently believe, some despite what they fervently believe. We are holy and non-conforming people in a holy and unconventional Jewish community. We are women and men, gay, bisexual, transgender and straight, republican, democrat, independent (and other), we are single, we are married, we are old, we are young, our skin comes in many shades, we struggle with mental illness and we are caregivers, we are divorced, we are single parents, we do not have children, we are Jewish and we are not. We are all this and more. And in this crowded room we are all equal, all family, and all home.