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Showing posts from September, 2017

The New Idolatry

I want to tell  you a story about a long-time friend of my parents.  I will refer to him as Joe.  They have known each other for many decades.  Practically grew up together.  He’s in his eighties now.  He has survived lots of health crises, including many years of respiratory problems, Type 2 Diabetes, and triple bypass surgery.  Several years ago, my family was visiting with his family.  We had a wonderful time all together.  We ate  out at different restaurants a few times. And Joe loved a good meal.  Time and again, he ordered truly, decadent meals:  grilled cheese done to perfection for lunch. Deep fried chicken for dinner.  Lasagna another night.  For breakfast he ordered gooey cinnamon buns heaping with cream-cheese icing.  And when he got the most amazing donuts for us all, and then ate half the box, followed later by cheese fries, I finally felt the need to say something to good old Joe.

“Hey, Joe,” I said.  “I really hope I’m not out of line here, but you know all these wonder…

Seeking the Good

I remember when I first started working at Adas Israel.  I can’t begin to describe the honor it was to be offered this job; what a joy and a thrill it was to come to work as the new Senior Rabbi of Adas Israel Congregation, one of the great flagship synagogues of American Judaism!  The spiritual home of world leaders, thinkers, and influencers doing extraordinary things for this country and for the world.   
My first year here was a dizzying array of Adas in Your Neighborhood receptions, meetings with leaders and minyanim and parents and countless interest groups.  I recall realizing very early on that to be the rabbi of a synagogue like this is also to be part politician.  I began to joke that at times, I felt like the mayor of a small city!  
I distinctly remember concluding a meeting one morning, maybe a week into the job--the fifth of the day and it wasn’t even noon yet--and each meeting was more fraught and high stakes with synagogue and staff politics than the last.  I looked at m…