Tetzaveh/Zachor 5772: Forgetting in Order to Remember

March 2, 2012

Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon, Temple Emanu-El, Tucson, AZ

It seems that the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is not feeling well and is concerned about his mortality. So he goes to consult a psychic about the date of his death.

Closing her eyes and silently reaching into the realm of the future the psychic finds the answer: "You will die on a Jewish holiday."

"Which one?'" Ahmadinejad asks nervously.

"It doesn't matter," replies the psychic. "Whenever you die, it'll be a Jewish holiday."

Read more: Tetzaveh/Zachor 5772: Forgetting in Order to Remember

Ki Tisa 5772: Rebellion, The Jewish Act

March 9, 2012

Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon, Temple Emanu-El, Tucson, AZ

A Jewish friend of mine was telling me yesterday about his peculiar experience working for an organization that is run by the Quakers. It seems that the way that Quaker groups work is that each and every decision has to be made by consensus. If anyone disagrees, the whole group has to wait until everyone comes to complete agreement. The only way around this is for the person who disagrees to publicly proclaim that he or she stands aside. Then the group can go ahead and make a unanimous, consensus decision. No wonder they call each other Friends...

Read more: Ki Tisa 5772: Rebellion, The Jewish Act

Emor 5772: It's What You Give

May 4, 2012 - Volunteer Appreciation Shabbat

Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon, Temple Emanu-El, Tucson, AZ

Apparently May is Jewish Heritage Month in America, something I didn't actually know until I read it last week. This commemoration has been around since 2006, when it was started as a way of celebrating the 350th Anniversary of American Judaism by the Jewish Museum of South Florida, proclaimed by Congress in 2005 and 2006, and signed into law by then President George W. Bush. This time around President Obama celebrated the "shared struggle" of Jewish identity in proclaiming Jewish Heritage Month, issuing a proclamation last week that celebrated the perseverance of Jewish Americans in overcoming adversity and hostility in order to reach success in America.

Read more: Emor 5772: It's What You Give

Behar 5772: Gay and Lesbian Marriage

May 11, 2012

Rabbi Jason Holtz, Temple Emanu-El, Tucson, AZ

The best decision I ever made was to ask Jodi to marry me. We met in 2006 in Jerusalem and we married a bit more than two years ago. I know that there are many people in this room who have been married many more years than us. People tell us we're still newly-weds, and I suppose they're right. We've been through a lot though in two years. We moved from one side of the country to the other, we bought a house and turned it into a home, she started a new job and then fell victim to being the most recent hire at a shrinking school, so she started another new job, I began a career, and we both weathered a period of time when I was very ill. She might have gotten the brunt of that – it was a brain injury, and I was a little out of it and don't even remember all of it. So, after two years of marriage, here's what I have to say: With the good times and even the bad, for us, it's been great. I love having a person who I'm committed to and who is committed to me. I love the idea of sharing a life with someone else—and not going through it alone.

Read more: Behar 5772: Gay and Lesbian Marriage

B'ha'alot'cha 5772: A Whole Bunch of Complaining

June 8, 2012

Rabbi Jason Holtz, Temple Emanu-El, Tucson, AZ

The people were like complainers, evil in the ears of Adonai and Adonai heard and was incensed... (Numbers 11:1).

This week's Torah portion includes several incidents of complaining, and by and large, God disapproves of the complaining. So, in keeping with the theme of the Torah portion, I'm going to begin by complaining about complaining. And then I'll take issue with the idea that we should never complain, and complain against. So prepare yourself for a whole bunch of complaining.

Read more: B'ha'alot'cha 5772: A Whole Bunch of Complaining

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