chochmat halev
October 04, 2018

Jhos’ Yom Kippur Drash

Gut Yontiff.  Jewish Tradition teaches that there are 50 gates of understanding. The first 49 are opened by our intellectual questioning and inquiry. But the 50th—the gate of heaven—requires a unique key: your heart.  Ten...


chochmat halev
October 02, 2018

Laura Goldman’s Yom Kippur Drash

This drash was written and delivered by Laura Goldman on Yom Kippur 5779. Good Yontif. You and I come to services on Yom Kippur for so many reasons, and all of them are good ones....


chochmat halev rosh Hashanah
October 02, 2018

Jhos’ Rosh Hashanah Drash

Tonight begins the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe, when people all over the world gather to engage Judaism’s wisdom tradition of Tshuvah, which, while it has no parallel English concept, is often translated as...


Celebrating abundance, preparing for scarcity
September 28, 2018

Celebrating abundance, preparing for scarcity

Shabbat Shalom Chaverim, Wow, I’m still bobbling around in the afterglow of the Days of Awe, stumbling in and out of random sukkot, and my olfactory nerves are pulsing with etrog’s intoxicating perfume.  Tis the...


jewish high holidays berkeley chochmat halev
September 14, 2018

Shedding the weight of our habits

Shabbat Shalom, Chaverim— It’s Shabbat Shuva this week, the Shabbat of turning, the first Shabbat of the new year, the Shabbat of facing, making, and accepting change. This time of year is set aside to...


chochmat halev svara
August 09, 2018

Teasing apart the sweet from the bitter

Shabbat Shalom Chaverim— This week’s Torah portion, Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17) begins with one of the great truths of life: “Look, today I am setting in front of you blessing and curse…..” Deut. 11:26 What else...


The fullness of your story
August 03, 2018

The fullness of your story

Julie and I are recently back from two weeks of vacation in the utterly glorious, sparsely populated, traffic free, and fecund Salt Spring Island, BC. Being away from our daily grind—relaxed and virtually stress free—we...


Fallen down with eyes wide open
June 29, 2018

Fallen down with eyes wide open

Maggid’s Musing  Balak  Numbers 22:2 - 25:9  2018 Shabbat Shalom, Chaverim— It is amazing to me that though we read the same, exact, words every year from the same, exact section of the Torah in...


June 15, 2018

Your Unique Holiness

This week’s Torah portion, Korach (Numbers 16:1-18:32) details the first of a series of organizational tests for Moses. It begins when Korach, a well-heeled Israelite whose pedigree places him in the priestly class, contests Moses...


chochmat halev
April 20, 2018

The wholeness of the wounded

Shabbat Shalom Chaverim— This week we have a double portion: Tazria-Metzora (Leviticus 12:1 - 15:33).  And what a doozy it is!!  It has to do with the impact of skin diseases, contaminated clothing, leprous houses...


The irreparable Temple where Divine Presence dwells
March 09, 2018

The irreparable Temple where Divine Presence dwells

Shabbat Shalom, Chaverim— The feature story on the front page of this week’s Sunday New York Times was a wrenchingly beautiful and agonizing piece by Benjamin Weiser called “Nakesha’s Demons.” Mr. Weiser chronicles the descent...


Holy Haute Couture
February 23, 2018

Holy Haute Couture

Shabbat Shalom, Chaverim— This week’s Torah portion, Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20 - 30:10), comes just in time for the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. As the bespangled, multi-colored, wildly tailored uniforms announce to the world the...


hearts that are moved
February 16, 2018

hearts that are moved

Shabbat Shalom, Chaverim— This week’s Torah portion, Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19) contains one of Judaism’s most consistent and widespread practices. It is something that every branch and leaf of organizational Judaism shares, evolves, and tries to...


Between the mundane and the miraculous
February 08, 2018

Between the mundane and the miraculous

Shabbat Shalom, Chaverim— This weeks Torah portion, Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1-24:18) begins with a continuation of the commandments that were initiated with the famous ten last week. To review, Mount Sinai is smoking and rumbling, shofar...


When God meets us halfway
February 01, 2018

When God meets us halfway

Shabbat Shalom Chaverim, One of the less savory fixations in Jewish culture is the notion that there is an “authentic” Jewish life, practice, or knowledge. The dominant attitude has been that anyone wearing a black...


chochmat halev
January 19, 2018

Mature justice

Shabbat Shalom Chaverim— When I was a child I lived in an apartment on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. I was part of a semi-feral bevy of beach-rat kids. We were mostly boys, all about the...


chochmat halev
January 12, 2018

The friction between Spirit and Religion

Shabbat Shalom, Chaverim— There are two conflicting rabbinic concepts that pit the authority of the earliest generations against the wisdom of the most recent. The first, Yeridat Ha-dorot, means the descending of the generations. Basically,...


I will be that which I will be
January 04, 2018

I will be that which I will be

Shabbat Shalom Chaverim— This week’s parasha, Shemot (Exodus 1:1-6:1) is so rich it feels like a holdover of the holiday meals I enjoyed since I last wrote. Being faced with abundance is both satisfying and...