Rabbi Conover’s Yom Kippur Sermon 5779

In a World Where Everything Can Be Faked, What’s Real? RELATIONSHIPS By Rabbi Shoshanah Conover 10 Tishrei 5779/ September 19, 2018 Gut Yontiv.  Like some of you, I love to read about trailblazers and pioneers to find out how they succeeded.  Usually it’s because someone—a parent, a teacher, a friend, a mentor– told them at a pivotal age, “You can …

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

Shalom.
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.

Nitzavim- Our Stories of Plain Old Ordinary Holiness

Atem Nitzavim Hayom— You stand here this day…
These words which open our Torah portion, capture our attention— past and present converge as we stand shoulder to shoulder with all the wilderness wanderers, amassed on the border of a new land of promise— our heads of tribes, our elders, our officers, all the men of Israel, our youth, our women, the non-Jews who are part of our community; from the hewer of wood to the water drawer; those who lived in Biblical times and those of us alive today.

What an Atheist Belgian Musician Taught Me about Judaism

As a teenager, I would sit on my bedroom floor listening to old records of Belgian singer-songwriter, poet, and performer Jacques Brel. I didn’t need to keep a journal, because his lyrics wove together everything I felt at the time. Brel had a fire within, and his anger, longing, passion, and truth blazed through every word he sang. His music, raw and real, transformed and fed my soul; it informed and shaped who I am today.

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 …

Rabbi Goldberg’s Rosh Hashanah Sermon – Keep the Conversation Going

A story: There once lived a king much beloved by his subjects. He ruled a little kingdom tucked away in a corner of Europe.

One day an army came and overran the castle, making off with half the treasury. The king decided he had to increase taxes to make up for his losses, and called in one of his wise courtiers to ask how to tell the people the news without inciting a revolt.

What Might We Lose from a Failure of Nerve? Iran, Israel and the Bomb

The Talmud (BT Gittin 55b-56a) records a fascinating but very relevant debate between the Rabbinic leaders and Rabbi Zechaiah b. Abkulas. It occurred in 66 BCE when Judea was under Roman control. Bar Kamza, a Jew, felt slighted by Judea’s Rabbinic and political leadership and was determined to avenge this insult. He thus informed Emperor Nero that the Jews were not loyal subjects and as proof he proposed that Nero send a calf to be sacrificed as a gift offering in the Temple. Bar Kamza delivered the calf but not before he had made a slight cut on its lip that the Jews regarded as a blemish but not the Romans.