Reflections on the period between Pesach and Shavuot

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

Winter thoughts from Rabbi Matt Carl

Hanukkah is the only holiday that coincides with a Rosh Hodesh and most of our holidays are right in the middle of months, thankfully, as this means we can celebrate our holidays with the full light of the moon. Near the end of Hanukkah, by contrast, not only do we … 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

Spring’s Blessing

It is officially Spring and I hear that, in some quarters, it’s actually starting to look and feel that way! Though we associate the beginning of spring with the holiday of Pesach, Jewish tradition makes other seasonally appropriate connections, too. Among them are Birkat Ha-Ilanot, the blessing on (blooming) trees:   ברוך אתה … READ MORE