Therefore-Choose Life

Can we talk about things that annoy us?
Every day brings us an array of stuff that tries our patience. You buy something that needs to be assembled, and the instructions don’t make sense. You’re out on a golf course and you hit a straight drive; but when you get to where it ought to be lying, the ball is not there. You toss 16 socks into a clothes dryer and you get only 15 back.

Healthy Addictions?

(Copied from RabbiGoldberg.Blogspot.Com)

Signs of spring in Chicago are subtle but certainly surfacing. There are more tourists on segways. The Cubs have already lost four games. And I’m about to get back on my road bike.

Actually there’s a new word emerging among serious bicyclists. It’s stravacide, and the “cide” suffix has the same meaning as it does in words like homicide (death caused by a human), suicide (death caused by oneself), fratricide (death caused by a brother), pesticide (death caused to a pest) and the like. The suffix cide means “the act of killing.” 

 Therefore strava-cide is death by strava.

According to David Darlington in “The Strava files” (Bicycling, November 2013), Strava, which is Swedish for “strive,” is the name of a website intended to help cyclists who don’t have fellow riders with whom to train. It offers cyclists ideas to stay motivated as they pursue their peak performance. On Strava, riders post their rides, along with their times and other stats, and then other riders try to beat those times.

Rabbi Goldberg – Reporting from the Annual Policy Conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)

I first attended the Policy Conference in 1983, as a callow college student. It was very impressive, with 1500 supporters of America and Israel crowded into the Capitol Hilton.

This year, there are 15,000 attendees. AIPAC is very savvy when it comes to production values as well as management at a conference, so the large crowd is inspirational, not a cause of ceaseless inconvenience.

Temple Sholom members in attendance include Richard and Gloria Reifler, Robert Gordon, and board member and tireless AIPAC advocate, Stuart Litwin. There are over 600 rabbis and cantors here as well, from all denominations.

Yesterday we heard a moving speech by Isaac Herzog, the new head of the major opposition party in Israel and we were treated to a rousing sermon by Pastor Chris Harris of our very own Chicago’s Bright Star Church.

Kol Nidre Sermon from Rabbi Goldberg

Gamar Tov.

In these past few weeks I have greatly enjoyed learning stories about the congregation in general and about so many of you in particular. I am grateful to have shared my story with you on Rosh Hashanah.

Speaking of stories, here is one that I love:

A religious man who had reached the age of 105 suddenly stopped going to synagogue. Alarmed by the old fellow’s absence after so many years of faithful attendance, the rabbi went to see him.

He found him in excellent health, so the rabbi asked, “How come after all these years we don’t see you at services anymore?”

“I will tell you, Rabbi,” the old man whispered. “When I got to be 90, I expected God to take me any day. But then I got to be 95, then 100, and then 105. So I figured that God is very busy and must’ve forgotten about me…and I don’t want to remind him!”

The logic of this man may not make sense but his desire is understandable. He wanted to hide from the inevitable. And we must admit there are times when we would all like to hide.

Rabbi as Values-Based Jewish Executive

Someone very wise once said that Jews and Christians need not argue about which religion is correct. We should simply enjoy eachother’s differences and, when the Messiah arrives, politely ask him, “Shall we say, ‘Welcome’ or ‘Welcome back.’”

End of the discussion.

Ten Minutes of Torah: Yom Kippur Amidah


In each Amidah for the Days of Awe, including Yom Kippur, there is an insertion regarding remembering us unto life. This imagery of the Book of Life is an important reminder that the Days of Awe are designed to help us deal with both the uncertainty of life and our responsibility to become better human beings. Nevertheless it is easy to mistake the imagery as reflective of a reality in which we are judged by God and, if found wanting, are punished with death. This is a theology that I do not find helpful.