The God I Work For

By: Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann (As told at Light and Heat: Stories of Hope and Defiance, December 2018) A rabbinic mentor gave me this piece of advice when I was applying to rabbinical school: in any school, any movement within Judaism… you’re banging your head against a wall. The question is which wall. A movement is defined […]

Mishkan Rocks the Vote

By: Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann Being a Jew in America rocks. I know now is a strange time to be saying that, given the events of last week and the increase in anti-Semitic attacks across America since 2016, but guess what… have you ever tried to be a female rabbi, or queer rabbi, a female wearing […]

The Year of the Good Apology

Kol Nidre: The Year of the Good Apology By: Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann I’m sorry to tell you this, but just by being here, by fasting, by listening to me talk, by striking our chests at the litany of sins for which we are all in one way or another guilty…it’s not like that affects atonement. […]

God May Speak, But We Sing

Rosh Hashanah 5779: P’sukei D’Zimra Kavana By: Rabbi Jeff Stombaugh I come from a very musical family. My great uncle, his brother my grandfather, their cousin, all of their children and even me and my sister — and that’s only my mom’s side of the family. Dad also had musical chops. My point, however, is […]

Who shall live, and who shall die?

Yom Kippur 5779: Unatanah Tokef By: Rabbi Jeff Stombaugh This year when I started looking at the liturgy of Unatanah Tokef to speak to you now, I found myself unexpectedly desensitized to the question: “Who shall live, and who shall die?” Usually, when the time comes during the year to ask this question about the […]

It’s Always Worse at Night

Erev Rosh Hashanah 5779: Kavanah for Hash-ki-veinu By: Rabbi Jeff Stombaugh My Zayda was a doctor and in his wit and wisdom coined a few phrases in our family, one being: “It’s always worse at night.” This was the refrain that evolved in response to our modern-haunts: an ear infection, sniffle, heartbreak, and grief-stricken evening. […]

The Power of Proximity

Yom Kippur 5779: The Power of Proximity By: R’ Lauren Henderson The haftarah we’re about to read was written for a people trying to find their way home. In 539 BCE, the emperor Cyrus exiled the Jewish people from Babylonia to Persia, and then, two years later, had a change of heart and decided to […]

Teshuvah Starts with Showing Up

Erev Rosh Hashanah 5779: Teshuvah Begins with Showing Up By: R’ Lauren Henderson Many of you know, I got married this summer. Two weeks before our wedding, I got a call from my mom. Slowly, she said, “I have to tell you something- if Dad is still this sick a week from now, I’m not […]

Resolved: One Long Kodak Moment

Dearest friends, As we bring in the first day of a new year I’m thinking about what it means to say good-bye to the old and welcome in the new, setting an intention to live a certain way… and then sticking with it.The Talmud tells the story of what happens as the sun sets on a […]

A Reminder Of What Our Light Stands For

Last week, our friends and partners at HIAS Chicago and JCFS were informed by the US State Department that their refugee resettlement program was being shut down, effective at the end of February 2018. Jewish Child and Families Services and HIAS Chicago write in their statement: “The decision to discontinue resettlement efforts was not ours. […]