Rabbi’s Corner

Aleinu: It is Upon Us

Rabbi Helen T. Cohn

Jewish teaching makes it clear in the Torah and later writings that we have a special obligation to take care of the weakest members of society, referred to in Torah as “the widow, the orphan, and the stranger.” Thus in a sense the Torah recognizes that not all people… Read more »

Keeping to Our Corners?

Rabbi Scott Saulson

Included in the gracious invitation from the Arizona Jewish Post to offer approximately 500 words to appear in the “Rabbi’s Corner” on a Jewish topic of my choice was the addendum that my words “may or may not be related to the weekly Torah portion.” In other words, no… Read more »

Finding wisdom in the compost pile

Rabbi Sara Metz

This past June, my family moved from New Jersey to Tucson. As we started unpacking and dreaming of our life here, we looked to our yard. We knew that the blessing of rain is scarce in this desert climate. For that reason, we have worked with people who know… Read more »

To truly see

Rabbi Sam Cohon

What does it mean to be able to really perceive, not just observe? How can we look at a troubled period and see not just the facts, but the meaning? As we enter a new secular year, how can we best learn to use the complicated mess of this… Read more »

Rabbi’s corner: Confronting information overload

Rabbi Thomas A. Louchheim

There is no age and no situation where values do not play a part. Modernity has created a fire hose of information that often — without reflection — drives us to analyze the information from our own accustomed viewpoint. We are so rushed to decide that we leave our… Read more »

Rabbi Helen Cohn: Our own special corner

I find it increasingly difficult to understand how any religion or spiritual tradition can put itself at the center of the world and claim it has the only truth about creation and the Divine. The internet offers windows into all corners of the world.  Interfaith dialogue among open-hearted people… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: Transforming negativity to positivity 

Many times we rely on life’s happenings to determine our mood and productivity rate. Life often throws us unexpected curved balls and it dampens our spirit. The truth is, negative does not always mean bad. The implications of implementing discipline can come across as negative, yet its core values… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: It is up to us to repair the earth

Rabbi Helen T. Cohn

I’ve been thinking about rain lately, and noticing the lack of it.  Tucson had a big monsoon several months ago which revealed a slight leak in our roof. We think the leak was fixed, and I’ve been waiting ever since for another big rain to confirm that, but a… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: Upon whose shoulders are we standing?

rabbi-stephanie-aaron

We have just completed the cycle of what Rabbi Kerry Olitzky calls “the Fall Holidays of Memory.” During the month of Elul that leads into the Days of Awe, we spent many hours remembering this past year, doing cheshbon hanefesh, taking an accounting of our souls. This involves tallying… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: Despite social distancing, work toward a Sukkat Shalom for our community

Rabbi Norman T. Roman

I remember the dialogue session well, although it took place more than 45 years ago. Two respected, learned Jewish scholars, who been study partners (chevruta) at the yeshiva in New York, came together in Cleveland, where I grew up, for a Shabbat afternoon presentation during the Festival of Sukkot.… Read more »

Judaism values quest for truth, not endless arguing

Rabbi Robert Eisen

Which of the following makes you the angriest: • Arguing with someone when you know you are right? • Arguing with someone when you know they are wrong? • Arguing in general? One of the comments I hear all too often is, “The thing I love most about Judaism… Read more »

Rabbi’s corner: Seven lessons from Ruth

Rabbi Yehuda Ceitlin (Britta Van Vranken)

Jewish communities have a custom of reading the Book of Ruth on the holiday of Shavuot, which commemorates the receiving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. It is not an obvious selection. The Talmudist Rabbi Zeira asked, “This scroll does not contain the laws of impurity or purity, prohibitions or… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: New view of current ‘exile’

Rabbi Israel Becker

As I was praying alone in my study this Passover, words I had been saying my entire life suddenly popped out of the siddur: “We have been exiled from our land. We are unable to serve you in your Holy House.” We also are experiencing an exile, from our… Read more »

This new reality brings our focus inward

Have you ever been engrossed in your phone, and then your phone dies, leaving you feeling at a loss? The office we run out of the door to in the mornings no longer needs us there. The big dinner we are getting a babysitter for has been postponed. The vacation… Read more »

Purim fun should not eclipse message on education

Rabbi Yossie Shemtov

Two thousand five hundred years ago, Haman — then prime minister of the Persian Empire — succeeded in convincing King Ahasuerus to issue a decree to destroy the Jews throughout the land.  Following the issuance of this decree, Haman and his comrades went strolling with jovial hearts and encountered the… Read more »

Tu B’Shevat should cultivate responsibility to sustain world

Rabbi Batsheva Appel

I am not a fan of “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein, although I used it in my teaching for years around Tu B’Shevat, needing a story that features trees. Every time I taught with the book, it made me uncomfortable. Designated the birthday of the trees, Tu B’Shevat… Read more »

Four steps to tackle our biggest issue now, starting with building bridges

Rabbi Sam Cohon

The emergence of violent anti-Semitism as a widespread American scourge can leave no Jews with warm thoughts about the year that just passed. Until October 2018, just 15 months ago, there had never been a fatal attack on a synagogue in the United States. Now there have been two… Read more »

On visit to migrant detention center, recognizing our collective responsibility

Rabbi Stephanie Aaron

I was humbled and inspired to travel Nov. 3-6 with other rabbis and cantors to El Paso and Juarez, along with staff from HIAS (formerly the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) and T’ruah, a rabbinic organization for human rights, to visit detained immigrants near the U.S.-Mexico border. These are my… Read more »

After the High Holy Days, what is our focus?

Rabbi Robert Eisen

Finish the sentence: “If not now, _____” I would venture to guess that most of us would immediately call to mind the famous passage attributed to Hillel the Elder (Pirkei Avot 1:14): If I am not for myself, who is for me? When I am for myself, what am… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: Sukkot — A holiday of joy and unity

Joy Often repeated during the High Holiday season: “What are you celebrating now?” “Who cares? We Jews always pray, eat, and are merry!” During prayers on every Jewish holiday, we mention “Mo’adim L’Simcha,” a holiday to rejoice. Yet, on Sukkot there is an extra emphasis on being happy and… Read more »