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Is Everything Forgivable?

September 16, 2015, by

“No matter how many times I attempt to apologize, it will never be enough. There are simply no words available to sufficiently assuage the hurt that I caused among conversion candidates, congregants, students, family, friends, and rabbinic and academic colleagues. I am sorry, beyond measure, for my heinous behavior and perverse mindset that provoked my

The 8 Item Repentance Checklist

September 16, 2015, by

Can you check off these items? If not, which one will you strengthen?   The purpose of this checklist is to focus your attention to areas you may want to improve. Look over this list and choose one area you are motivated to address. Just focus on that area and once you have strengthened it,

Circles of Change

October 2, 2011, by

This article first appeared in The Jewish Press on September 27, 2011 and has been reprinted with permission. It was the kind of event I attend frequently these days, and I was in a role in which I often find myself. It was a Jewish gathering to which a number of political officials had been

The Great Disappearing Act: Black Holes of Time

September 21, 2011, by

(Earlier in 2011, NASA’s Swift detected intense X-ray flares thought to be caused by a black hole devouring a star. The video model above and all photos below are courtesy of NASA multimedia productions.) Have you ever experienced the black hole of time? I have, and I am sure you have as well. What is

Jewish Optimism

September 13, 2011, by

Doom and gloom! That is how the Jewish cynic views the authentic Jewish life. Confining. Legalistic. Obligatory. A downer! So many somber remembrances. So many burdens and obligations. Praying three times a day. Fasts. Study. Moral teachings to learn. The self to improve. “Why can’t I just be accepted for what I am,” asks the

From the Desk of Rabbi Weil, Elul 5770

September 1, 2010, by

Have you ever wondered why Avraham was the first patriarch of the Jewish people? Probably not; the reason is so obvious. We have grown up hearing the stories of the young boy Avram, who questioned the irrational idolatry of his time. We have followed him on his journey of discovery; how he investigated nature, science,

On Jewish Optimism: Pre Selichot Reflections

August 24, 2010, by

There are those who view Jewish way of life as confining, a pessimistic mode of life, filled with restrictions and a life long agenda of obligations and repetitive serious occasions; praying three times a day with some Tehilim to add. There is Yom Kippur preceded eight days earlier by Tzom Gedaliah, fasting on Tisha B’Av

End of Elul, E-mail to God

August 15, 2010, by

To the Exalted One, Creator of All Things, Rebono Shel Olam; I am sending You my yearly E-Mail (Elokim Mail) to report on the state of Your people as perceived from my virtual world, which of course is quite different from what is perceived from Your real world. There are two points I humbly wish

Re’eh: Shofar in Elul

August 13, 2009, by

There is an ancient custom to blow the shofar in Elul. The source is in the Midrash: “On Rosh Chodesh [Elul] the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moshe: Ascend the mount unto Me. And they sounded the shofar in all the camp, that Moshe ascended the mount, so that they shouldn’t further err