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Chizuk Amuno Congregation

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Archive: October 2017

Posted on October 2, 2017

Yom Kippur: It’s Time to Grow

Since moving to Baltimore 34 years ago, my three sons and I have provided a lot of business to area orthopods. I myself have broken my wrist, broken my shoulder, and twice damaged my right knee. Mainly sports injuries, if one counts dog walking on ice a sport. There are a lot of stories related Continue Reading »

Posted on September 26, 2017

A Prayer for the Kotel

It was my first trip to Israel. I remember walking on Ben Yehudah Street in Jerusalem, when a hasid approached me. He said, “Mir dafen a tzenter.” That’s Yiddish for, “We need a 10th for a minyan.” I followed him into a little shul, and before I could say, “I eat dairy in non-Kosher restaurants,” Continue Reading »

Posted on September 25, 2017

A Community that Strives to Be Sacred – Rosh Hashanah 5778

For the past ten to fifteen years many, if not most, Reform and Conservative Congregations have been referring to themselves in the same way. Congregations have been calling themselves Sacred Communities.  Without even thinking about it I too began calling this shul a Sacred Community in my writing, in my talks, almost indiscriminately. Last month, Continue Reading »

Posted on September 25, 2017

Gratitude – Rosh Hashanah 5778

Years ago, before my first Rosh Hashanah at Chizuk Amuno, I asked a wise friend. A thoughtful friend. Who had a wonderful, rich life and also had suffered great disappointment and lost an imagined future. What do you want to hear when you come to the synagogue on the Days of Awe? I’ll never forget Continue Reading »

Posted on September 3, 2017

Walls and Storm Walls

For many of us, the texts of our tradition come alive when we engage with them in the very moment in which we are living, replete with the challenges and complexities we experience. A wonderful teacher from the Jewish Theological  Seminary -Joseph Lukinsky, used to say that the parsha, the portion we read from the Continue Reading »

Posted on August 27, 2017

Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue

“Tzedek, Tzedek Tirdof-Justice, justice shall you pursue.” But just how just do we have to be? I begin with a question. Have any of you ever served in the armed forces of any country? And if so, did you receive training on how to treat prisoners of war? The Israeli Defense Forces, the IDF, has Continue Reading »

Posted on June 12, 2017

Imagining a Jewish Past and Future

At the request of their teachers, last Friday morning I took a group of second graders on a tour through Jewish history.  In one hour we traveled together all the way from  Abraham and God’s promise to him that his descendants would be more numerous that the stars in the sky to the March on Continue Reading »

Posted on May 30, 2017

Generations in Wilderness

It has been a week of wilderness, appropriate as this morning we begin reading the book of the wilderness, Bamidbar. It has been a week of chaos. A week of wandering with a destination in mind but seemingly no clear path to reaching it. A week of extremes – extreme changes in weather 90 degrees Continue Reading »

Posted on April 20, 2017

Preparing for Holiness

What is the strangest place you cleaned for Passover? What is the strangest thing you found while cleaning for Passover? Last week the Kotel (Western Wall) was cleaned for Passover. There was no soft scrub or tin foil involved. Rather the Kotel gets cleaned before Passover of the notes that get stuffed into the cracks Continue Reading »

Posted on April 2, 2017

Telling Our Story

Shabbat Vayikra 5777 Our ability to tell stories makes us unique among all living creatures. We human beings tell stories about ourselves and gossip about each other. In our stories we come together or remain distant. Our stories guide our behavior and our beliefs. In his thought-provoking book Sapiens, Historian Yuval Harari describes our stories Continue Reading »