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Yom Kippur Morning 2021 A Jewish Response to Loneliness

  Boker Tov, Good morning, Gut Yontif. Don’t you hate doing laundry? I do. But sometimes, when I’m tossing a heap of pillowcases and underpants into our clunky old GE washing machine, I feel a spasm of gratitude. How lucky I am to have a washing machine -- even an old *GE* washing machine -- to do the hard work of laundering for   me! When I think of how people (women, mostly) have had to do laundry with nothing but washboards and elbow grease, I feel tremendous pity for them -- rachmones, as we say in Yiddish.    But recently, I heard a story told by sociologist Brene Brown that made me reconsider. She spoke about a village where, by long tradition, the women would gather on the banks of a certain river and wash clothes together. Well, time went on in this village until a wonderful thing happened: All the women got washing machines in their homes! And then, something not so wonderful happened:   An epidemic of depression broke out among the women. [beat]   And no one could
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Kol Nidre Sermon 2021 - Just a Little Thing

  Yom Kippur Evening 2021-5782 Gut Yontif, So, how are you all feeling? On this holy evening we step out of our daily lives for reflection and prayer. According to tradition, if we are healthy, we neither eat nor drink, don’t do work of any sort and refrain from wearing leather. All of this is to help us focus on matters of the heart and soul - or as some teach, ideally to be more like the angels, who don’t need to eat, drink, wear shoes or work to stay alive. That’s why it is also traditional to wear white on Yom Kippur. Today, we shed our pretensions and look at ourselves as we really are.   So, let’s take a breath, let out a big sigh, and say: Hineini! Here I am, here I am, God. A year older, and a little more battered. Exhausted. Maybe depressed. Maybe melancholy. Can’t put my finger on it, but something is just off with me. My friends and colleagues talk about it too. It’s a feeling filling the world, and people are trying to name it: Psychologist Adam Grant shared the

Radical Rejuvenation: Shmita and the Oneness of Being - Rosh Hashanah Sermon 2021

  Rosh Hashanah Shmita 2021-5782 “Barech aleinu, grant blessings upon us, our God, and upon this year and may its harvest be for the good.   Bestow a blessing upon the face of the earth and satisfy us with your goodness, and give blessing to this year, [as you have done] in all good years past." Isn't it beautiful? For centuries, our ancestors recited that blessing every day of their lives. They knew in their hearts, as we today can so easily forget, that humanity's survival depends entirely on the cycles of nature. When they asked for God's “blessing upon the face of the earth," what they meant was rain in its proper season -- for rain meant life. How lucky we are to live in an age of bounty such as our ancestors could never have dreamed! All you need is a phone and an index finger and, within two hours, a cornucopia of delights from all over the world appears on your stoops   -- contactless delivery guaranteed.   But this miraculous, nourishing miracle has