Yom Kippur 5780: Waking Up In Hospice

Gut yuntif.  From my soul to yours, may this year’s next turning of soul be for a year of true goodness and deep meaning for us all. As some of you know, I spent… Continue reading

Making sense of spiritual lag

Rosh Hashanah brings a spiritual lag between the year’s reboot and Torah’s reboot, like our northern latitude’s seasonal lag between sun angle and temperature. This spiritual lag raises two questions. First, shouldn’t Rosh Hashanah,… Continue reading

The Soul of Action: The Risks We Must Take

Shanah tovah!  Welcome, all you beautiful souls, to our year 5780 – may it be sweet and full of goodness. Tonight we come together to reaffirm Jewish life – for community, continuity and comfort.  We come… Continue reading

Things That Can’t Be Forgiven?

“Are there things that can’t be forgiven?” Jewish law deemed some acts so heinous that only death atoned – and then only with repentance (Yoma 86a; Hilchot Teshuvah 1:1). And even with repentance,… Continue reading

Looking for Love in All the Rough Places

A D’var Torah for Parashat Va’ethanan By Rabbi David Markus It’s fitting that the “Jewish greatest hits” of Parashat Va’ethanan come immediately after Tisha b’Av. After our spiritual calendar’s lowest day, Torah promises that anyone who… Continue reading

Lighting Us Up: Theology, Pluralism and Becoming the Menorah

A D’var Torah for Parashat Beha’alotekha by Rabbi David Markus What does God need of our spirituality, what do we need of it, and how do we know? These questions cast long theological… Continue reading

Yom Kippur Asks “Answers” – Not Just “Afflictions”

Yom Kippur Asks “Answers” – Not Just “Afflictions” A D’var Torah for Parashat Acharei Mot By Rabbi David Markus This week’s parashah (Acharei Mot) brings Torah’s first mention of Yom Kippur (#sorry), so each year… Continue reading

Why This Firstborn Will Go Silent Before Passover: The Social Justice Ta’anit Dibbur

Among Passover’s many customs, the fast of the firstborn (ta’anit bechorot) fell into disuse.  This ritual fast, commemorating Egypt’s victims of the Tenth Plague’s death of the firstborn, finds little traction among modern liberal Jews.  Even… Continue reading

Holy Ashes: Designs for Spiritual Flow

Part of a yearlong series of Torah wisdom on spiritual building and builders. How well does a spiritual practice or spiritual community “work”? One answer from this week’s Torah portion (Tzav) may seem… Continue reading

Controlling the High Price of Judaism (and Guilt)

Controlling the High Price of Judaism (and Guilt) A D’var Torah for Parashat Vayikra By Rabbi David Markus The Jewish value of tzedakah underscores that to “be Jewish” is partly to “do Jewish,” and to “do… Continue reading