24 October 2008

Temple Topics Teaser

Here's a preview of my Rabbi's Column for the November Temple Topics.

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06 October 2008

Dr. Avraham Biran

On Shabbat Ki Tavo (9/19/08), I gave a sermon as an azkarah (memorial) for Dr. Avraham Biran who had died that Wednesday. There was a paid obituary in the New York Times, to which I entered in the guestbook this note:

Tonight, at my congregation in New Jersey, I will remember Prof. Biran - most notably for the moment that he brought archeology alive for us. My HUC class was in Israel in the summer of 1993. All of our parents back in the States had read the NYTimes article about the David stele, when this energetic old man came in to speak with us, in preparation for a tiyyul (field trip) later that week. He brought with him a milk crate covered with a cloth. When he asked two members of the class to lift up the rock inside, we could scarcely believe that this was the evidence of the Davidic dynasty on the world's front pages. A fragile remnant of history in our clumsy hands! Later, when he gave us a personal tour of Tel Dan, where the stele had been found, he quite easily outpaced even the most fit - leaping from rock to rock, making the site come alive.

Today, the Times published a full obituary.

05 October 2008

Her Prayers of Forgiveness and Hope

Not to focus too much on the New York Times, but there was an interesting article in the New Jersey section this Sunday (10/5/08) about Yom Kippur written by Sally Friedman.

Although the article was titled Her Prayers of Forgiveness and Hope, I felt it came more from fear than hope. From some clues in the article, I would guess that the author comes from a Reform background. I would hope, myself, that we are teaching more about repentance as a self-reflection than a moment to bargain with God. So much is out of our hands, how we treat others is something that we can control and make better in the year to come.