Wishing you all a meaningful month of Elul

The names of the Jewish calendar’s months have long been mysterious. In a couple cases (Heshvan and Av), there is some question as to whether the common calendrical name is a full name or a nickname (i.e. vs Marheshvan and Menahem Av, respectively). In other cases (namely Aviv/Nisan), the months’ names … READ MORE

Reflections on the period between Pesach and Shavuot

The period between Pesach and Shavuot is known as “the Sefirah” (more commonly, though not really correct, if you ask me, is “the Omer”) during which we “count the Omer.” The Torah commands that we count the days and weeks, seven of each, of this period, during which bundles of … READ MORE

Hope and strength in the face of bad news

Dear members and friends, As you may have heard, East Midwood recently received a hate-filled phone call. Please note: the caller did not claim to have placed a bomb in the building and the threat seems to have been vandalism-oriented, rather than violent. Ours was, therefore, different from most of the 100+ … READ MORE

Healing Words

In my previous pulpit position, I worked with a rabbi who wouldn’t allow himself to be on the Mi SheBerakh list. No matter how ill he got (although, in the time I was there, he never got that ill) he would refuse to let his name be mentioned during the … READ MORE

The Year Ahead

Among the most terrifying words a rabbi can declare from the bimah are “the new month of Elul begins in the coming week.” Every year I shake a little, taken aback by how soon that statement means the new year will be beginning. But, as a friend of mine would … READ MORE

Milk and Honey

In Parshat Sh’lah Lekha (also simply called Sh’lah), we are presented with the term “Eretz Zavat Halav u’Dvash”, referring to the land of Israel as a “land flowing with milk and honey.” Those of us with a sense of food history know that the dominant food sweetener of our people … READ MORE

A note from Rabbi Matt Carl on selling hametz

One odd responsibility of a congregational rabbi is often to act as the agent for the sale of congregants’ hametz. I am happy to fulfill this duty for everyone who endorses me with this form. Though I encourage you to eat through your hametz before Pesach, please feel free to … READ MORE