For the Birds: Loss and Letting Go

on Friday, 01 September 2017. Posted in Sermons

Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon's Sermon On Ki Teitzei 5777

September 1, 2017

Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon,

Temple Emanu-El

Tucson, Arizona

Although I spend a good deal of time in the great outdoors, my knowledge of zoology is, at best, minimal. My daughter, Cipora, is currently taking a high school field science class in she learns to identify many species of birds by sight and sound.  She ran her electronic flashcards by me one night—and, out of 25 birds, I believe I correctly identified two.  Apparently I am not much of a birder.

Tucson is, I am told, one of the top birding destinations in the country--in fact, in the world.  There are canyons here that people travel from around the world to visit so that they can add to their “collection” of birds.  Although you know now how pathetic my efforts are in this area, even in our own backyard and at our fountain we see hummingbirds, finches, hawks, cardinals, and many more unidentified species.  Coincidentally, I can tell you that this particular Torah portion we read Labor Day weekend this year is, literally, for the birds.  I will explain what I mean in a moment.

Morality and the Dalai Lama

on Friday, 11 August 2017. Posted in Sermons

Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon's Sermon on Ekev 5777

This week we read the great Torah portion of Ekev, which tells us how to be morally good.  It is a simple but high standard that is commanded here: listen and observe God’s rules in order to live life as we should. 

But even beyond our own standards of conduct, there are a few individuals in the world who transcend ordinary measures of human quality, and cross all boundary lines of national, religious, and ideological approval.  These are the exceedingly rare people who teach us profound things about our essential nature, and who, in their own lives, demonstrate true moral greatness.  The list is short, and some of the most prominent members have died fairly recently: Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and Elie Wiesel, for example.  You may have your own candidates.

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225 N. Country Club Road
Tucson, AZ 85716

Phone: 520-327-4501
Fax: 520-327-4504

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