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  1. For the Sake of the World: Toba Spitzer on peoplehood and mission

    Originally delivered at Congregation Dorshei Tzedek, Rosh Hashanah 5764

    Where do we first hear about Rosh Hashanah? In the Torah, in the book of Leviticus, we read:

    Adonai spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the Israelites, saying: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, shall be for you a day a rest, a memorial proclaimed with the blast of the shofar, a holy assembly. (23:23).

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/sermon/sake-world

    Posted on: 2016/11/29 - 1:38pm

  2. Arlene Berger Vayetzey - A Seasonal Hint

    I always think of this time of year as a time of transition. The trees are almost finished shedding their leaves and the air is charged with the smell of winter. We ourselves are transitioning from the vestiges of the High Holiday season of teshuva and gratitude to the modern world’s all too long season of consumption.  
     

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/seasonal-hint-jacob-didnt-ask-much-stuff

    Posted on: 2016/12/09 - 10:04am

  3. Toba Spitzer on Process Theology

    Originally delivered on Yom Kippur 5770 at Congregation Dorshei Tzedek

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/sermon/changing-equation-reflection-god

    Posted on: 2016/11/29 - 1:32pm

  4. Shabbat and Holiness DT Bereyshit

    This week's parashah is the first in the Torah, Bereyshit. We are all familiar with the story of the creation that we read in these chapters of the Torah. However, the narrative still raised many questions for our rabbis and scholars. One of the many issues debated by the rabbis is the timing of humanity's creation in relationship to Shabbat. Rashi (12th century France) believed that God created Adam right before Shabbat so that he could immediately enter the holy and peaceful realm of Shabbat.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/shabbat-and-holiness

    Posted on: 2016/08/22 - 10:22pm

  5. DT Tetzaveh Schein

    What does the well-dressed Cohen Gadol (High Priest) look like? Quite resplendent, according to this week's Torah portion, Tetzaveh. Bearing on his chest the hoshen mishpat (breastplate of judgment) with twelve different minerals, each representing a different one of the tribes of Israel, the high priest is the living embodiment of the commandment of hidur mitzvah, beautifying the mitzvot that connect us to God.

    Halachic Clarification

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/holding-high-jewish-office-do-clothes-make-man

    Posted on: 2016/02/17 - 10:52am

  6. Eleh Ezakara - Sacrifice and Martyrdom

    Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is never an easy day. Fasting, however, is not the real problem. Rather, the day's challenge comes from its demand that we confront deep spiritual, theological, and philosophical issues we would often wish to avoid. We are asked to consider, for example: the tension between sin and forgiveness, the relationship between suffering and redemption, and the emergence of hope out of tragedy. The prayers and readings of Yom Kippur demand that we meditate on these themes as personal challenges, but present them to us in grand images on a mythic scale.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/eleh-ezakara-sacrifice-and-martyrdom

    Posted on: 2016/05/06 - 10:10am

  7. Our Akeidah, Our Binding

    There is a thread running through all the Rosh haShanah portions, except one: that thread is fathers and children, mothers and children.

    The Akedah is the sole exception.

    Where are the mothers today? 

    This is an impressionistic reading of the Akedah.

    It does not explain the text.

    This is not the comfortable reading that, in praising our ancestor Abraham, gains credit for ourselves.

    This is not the reading that shows we are a people who have long put aside idolatry and child sacrifice.

    I have no comfort today, only questions.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/our-akeidah-our-binding

    Posted on: 2016/05/06 - 10:13am

  8. The Modern Meaning of Tisha b'Av

    The Jewish Memorial Day, The Fast of the Ninth of the Jewish month of Av, Tisha b'Av, marks the end of a three week period of mourning during which our people remember the series of events that led to the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem and the destruction of our people's first Temple on that date in the year 586 BCE.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/modern-meaning-tisha-bav

    Posted on: 2016/05/06 - 10:25am

  9. What's God Have to Do With It?

    A High Holiday Sermon delivered by by Rabbi Sid Schwarz at Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation, Bethesda, MD
    Yom Kippur 2007

    Some of you will remember the old Art Linkletter show. His signature piece on the show was his interviews with children which he later compiled in a book called Kids Say the Darndest Things. I thought of this when I recently picked up a book entitled, Children’s Letters to God. Here are a few excerpts:

    “Dear God:

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/sermon/whats-god-have-do-it

    Posted on: 2016/05/06 - 10:32am

  10. Being Part of the Universe

    Let us begin by remembering that the spiritual always points toward the unity of things, not their division. Judaism tries to help us to work from a higher perspective. To celebrate the creation of the world, as we do on Rosh Hashanah, is to see ourselves as an integral part of all that is and not to see ourselves as the measure of all things. The egotistical, self-centered part of our mind, “the evil urge” if you will, always leads us to experience our separateness from the natural world.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/sermon/being-part-universe

    Posted on: 2016/05/06 - 12:54pm

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