Our Room of Requirement, Our Garden of Faith

By Rabbi Conover on 10 Tishrei 5778/ September 30, 2017   Gut Yontiv.  As this is the time for making confessions, a few quick questions: Who here has read one of the Harry Potter books?  (Show of hands…) Who has read all of them? Who has seen the movies? One last question… and Ok, no judgment, this really is just …

To Tell the Darkness, We Beg to Differ YKE 5778/2017

By Rabbi Goldberg G’mar Chatimah Tovah and Shabbat shalom!If you are like me, you love The Art Institute of Chicago, and for many reasons. One reason I love the Art Institute is that it has Grant Wood’s well-known painting, American Gothic. Created in 1930, it depicts a farmer standing beside a woman that has been interpreted to be his daughter …

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.

Rabbi Conover’s Yom Kippur Sermon – Make Them Hear You

Every year, when I get up here to speak, I know exactly what you’re thinking about right at this moment– your break-fast. Am I right? We started off strong earlier in the dayNow, let’s be honest, we drifted a bit during the Torah reading– who can blame us, really? But then we came back strong, as we listened to the Consul General. Yet, now that you’re sitting– and we’ve had some quiet moments, who can blame your stomach for growling, who can blame your mind for drifting? I’ve done it before…

Rabbi Goldberg’s Yom Kippur Sermon – The Face of A Gardener

A Yom Kippur confession: as many of the readings in our new Machzor demonstrate, I don’t believe life-changing wisdom is limited to Jewish sources. As the ancient rabbis declared, Torah was given to the Jewish people but wisdom was given to all people. (Midrash Lamentations Rabbah 2:13) I am not just speaking about Shakespeare or various modern poets. I am …

Yom Kippur Service Sermon from Rabbi Conover

Shabbat Shalom.

Has anyone here ever heard of SCOTT GINSBERG? On a whim one night in college nearly 14 years ago, he decided to wear a name tag that said: “Hello, My name is Scott” 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He never takes it off. He carries spares in in his pockets. Just about five times a day someone asks him: “What’s with the name tag?”

And here’s his response: “It represents friendliness in the midst of strangers.”

So today, we sit in this beauty of this awesome sanctuary. We pray this day together, but I am sad to say that sometimes, even amidst so many others here, we still feel like strangers. That is not a way to start a new year. We are not wearing name tags, so in just a moment, I will ask you to introduce yourself to those sitting around you. And if you already know your neighbors, ask them this question: “What do you hope this sermon is about?” Put another way: What message do you need to hear at this season this year?

And… go!