Rabbi Jim‘s Podcast

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Masai - The Meaning of the Journey

July 29th, 2014

Shalom, it has been a long time.  Recently we arrived in our new home in Northeast Ohio and at Temple Beth Shalom in Hudson (www.tbshudson.org).  We also celebrated our oldest becoming Bar Mitzvah at his camp.  In this podcast are some reflections about our journey to this new place...

Hanukkah - Celebrate Our Light

December 1st, 2013

Happy Hanukkah! Let us pause for a moment and consider one element we often take for granted.


Thoughts on Syria

September 10th, 2013

Before our president speaks, I wanted to offer some Jewish perspective on the situation in Syria.

Ancient Travel Logs - Matot/Masai 5773

July 3rd, 2013

So if you remember AAA Trip-Ticks, this weeks parasha contains one of these.  The Israelites wander for many years and an entire chapter is dedicated to where they went.  I wonder if we approach our life's journeys with as much curiosity and detail.  Do we look at our lives as a flash, or perhaps to we keep a sacred account of the meanings we discover on our way?


Balak 5773 - When Donkeys Cry

June 21st, 2013

Remember the TV show Alice?  Apologies for swiping Flo's second most famous catch phrase, but it seems to fit with this week's Torah portion.  On the road to curse the Israelites, the pagan prophet Balam rides his donkey and encounters an angel.  His treatment becomes a cautionary tale for how we treat animals, yet what happens when bills are introduced to prevent people from reporting on such treatment and what might we do to further the words of our ancient teacher?

Chukat - Answering Change

June 13th, 2013

This week's Parasha tells of Moses' final 'sin' that will excluded him and Aaron from entrance into the Promised Land.  Yet, Moses' response this week was his response to a similar problem before.  What changed?  When in our lives do our same answers lead us to unintended consequences and, when does our Bible invite us to new answers?

This week...

The Last Time Moses Struck a Rock

Another Moment of a Repeated Answer

Korach-How Our Arguments Can Bring Heaven to Earth

June 4th, 2013

This weeks Torah portion carries the name of a person.  I always teach that if you have a name for a Torah portion, either the person did something very good or, well, not.  Pirkei Avot makes a direct mention of this Torah portion when it comes to disputes, and Jewish tradition has a rich history when it comes to recording the winners... and losers of debates in the Talmud....

Fear, Faith, and Twelve Spies

May 31st, 2013

The Torah portion this week speaks to the episode in the wilderness when the Israelites are ready for their first attempt to enter into the Promised Land.  Things do not proceed according to plan and the ancient community is split by the choices before them.  While the circumstances may be different, the choices we make in our lives and in our society also are based on this fear/faith paradigm.

Numbers 13

Only One Day of Passover?

May 23rd, 2013

Looking at B'ha-alotkha we find an observance from the Torah that might drive many of us to plan long trips during a certain Spring holiday.  The Torah speaks of the situation when one cannot observe Passover due to being ritually impure from contact with a dead body, or if one is on a 'long trip.'  This second Passover existed so that one could remain tied to the community's holiday of Jewish identity.  Ironically, the Haftara (reading from the prophets) for this Torah portion is shared with the haftara for the Shabbat during Hanukkah, another holiday that was also...a 'do-over.'

Numbers 9

Zechariah 4

Elijah in the Whirlwind

May 21st, 2013

For all of us affected by the storms in Oklahoma, a reflection, a biblical reminder and a prayer.

II Kings Chapter 2

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