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Rosh Hashanah 5780 Day 2: Cup of Gratitude

10/02/2019 12:22:33 AM


As you may know, I spend an hour at Starbucks once a week in an attempt to make myself accessible to the congregation and the broader community. Now, for a shameless plug"please come by any Thursday from 8-9am to chat. While I often do end up speaking with someone, I also spend a lot of time watching people come in and out to get their morning coffee. Most people seem to want to get in and out as quickly as possible. And nowadays, with the...Read more...

Rosh Hashanah 5780 Day 1: Faith Over Fear

10/02/2019 12:21:37 AM


I had many expectations for going in to this first year at KTI and of my rabbinate. I expected to celebrate happy moments and mourn during sad ones. I expected to learn and to teach. I expected to meet lots of people and bring them into my life. But I did not expect that, only a few months into the job, I would have to throw together a vigil in response to the worst act of antisemitic violence in American history. I did not expect to have to...Read more...

Eikev 5779: From "Them" to "Us"

08/25/2019 02:23:51 PM


There's an image that has made the rounds in recent months in Jewish spaces online. It's a still from an online video series that teaches basic Yiddish. As a sample sentence to demonstrate some grammatical point, it flashes the phrase, “the Jews are tired.” And boy, am I tired after this week. I'm tired of dealing with everything that comes with being a Jew in America in 2019. I'm tired of the low-grade anxiety I have every day that my...Read more...

Mas'ei 5779: Cities of Refuge

08/09/2019 03:04:41 PM


This week, the attorney general announced a change in the interpretation in US asylum law. As you may know, under federal law, someone seeking asylum must prove a credible fear of persecution in his or her home country based on religion, race, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a specific social group. Since 1985, immigration courts, which are part of the Department of Justice, have interpreted “specific social group” to...Read more...

Mattot 5779: Family Ties

08/09/2019 03:03:42 PM


I had the great pleasure a few months ago of reading this recent book, The Soul of the Stranger, by Joy Ladin. Joy Ladin is transgender; she was raised as a boy and as an adult came to realize and express her true identity as a woman, an excruciating process that upended her life and that of her family. Nonetheless, she was able to keep her job as an English professor at Stern College of Yeshiva University, making her the first openly...Read more...

Balak 5779: Blessings and Curses

07/23/2019 04:07:58 PM


During my weekly hour at Starbucks this past Thursday, a young woman approached me. She introduced herself and then asked, “Do you think everything happens for a reason?” While obviously I am early in my career, I still know that there is always a story behind a question like that. So, I waited for it, and sure enough it came. This young woman had experienced more than her share of suffering, including a prolonged, debilitating illness...Read more...

Balak 5779: Good Tents, Good Neighbors

07/23/2019 04:06:54 PM


In our Torah portion this week, Balak, we read of the blessings conveyed by the prophet Balaam. Among the poetic verses with which he blesses Israel is the line mah tovu ohalecha ya'akov, mishkanotecha yisrael: How fair are your tents, O Jacob, Your dwellings, O Israel. This line eventually was incorporated into the prayer book, to be said upon entering a synagogue. But tonight I want to focus on this line in the context of Balaam's...Read more...

Sh'lah L'kha 5779: True Colors

07/16/2019 03:28:09 PM


If you've made it in to the city at all in recent weeks, surely you noticed that many places have been festooned with rainbow flags, as was the lawn of our synagogue. June, as you may know, is Pride month, which celebrates the resilience of the LGBTQ community. This pride month is particularly important, as it commemorates 50 years since the Stonewall Riot. This event is widely considered as the catalyst of the gay rights movement. People from...Read more...

Hukkat 5779: Resisting Temptation

07/16/2019 03:22:57 PM


This week, the news was dominated by the arrest of money manager Jeffrey Epstein on charges of sex trafficking. Epstein, who had previously faced and settled similar charges in Florida, has now been indicted by federal prosecutors in New York. They allege that he arranged for dozens of underage women to be brought to his homes, where he then alleged sexually assaulted them. Epstein was known for his connections to wealthy and powerful friends...Read more...

Finding the right rabbi: ‘Mission accomplished'

06/17/2019 04:45:46 PM


From the Westmore News, July 14, 2019 (Rye Brook edition) Finding the right rabbi: ‘Mission accomplished' Congregation KTI formally welcomes Rabbi Goldberg with installation ceremony By Sarah Wolpoff Thursday, June 13, 2019 3:47 AM Benjamin Goldberg describes his role as the Congregation KTI rabbi as a...Read more...
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