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. […]

Giving Leads to Gratefulness, Labor Leads to Love

I swore I would not be one of those parents. You know, those new parents who are obsessed with how totally amazing their baby is and take out their phones to show you and post on Facebook and OMG have you SEEN him, he’s the yummiest-most-adorable-little-human-god-ever-made… Big shocker: I am TOTALLY one of those people, Lord help […]

Yom Kippur 5778 Rabbi Sermons

Erev Kol Nidre – Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann In that precarious and fraught mixture of religion and politics, this past year there was a beautiful moment when, at the Democratic National Convention, a great booming man, the Reverend William Barber, took the dais and said, “They tell me that when the heart is in danger, somebody […]

Rosh Hashanah 5778 Rabbi Sermons

Erev Rosh Hashanah: Welcome (Rabbi Lizzi) Barukhim ha’baim b’shem Adonai. Welcome to all of you, welcome to this moment, this opportunity for new beginning. It’s been quite a year since we gathered here last year. Thinking back to last year’s high holidays I kind of shake my head in disbelief at how different the world […]

Create a Sanctuary of Love and Justice

#Charlottesville “The pandora’s box of racism and white supremacy has been reopened… It is time for all of us to resist and to persist. God, help us find the strength as we stand together today not just to offer words of condemnation and consolation, but to do the hard work needed to heal our country […]

Pain, Suffering, and Sunshine

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just Yom Kippur on which Jews avoid food and drink for a day of seriousness and self-reflection– turns out there are five fast days throughout the year and today is one of them:  the 17th of Tammuz. The 17th of Tammuz, a fast day that runs from the first […]

Sweat, Tears & New Beginnings

This year more than most, the dialectical tension at the heart of the Passover story feels real. The greens represent freshness and innocence, yet the salt water represents tears. The matzah represents freedom, and it reminds us, in every bite, that we know oppression, too, hard as we might try to repress it. You don’t […]