March 1, 2013
WRJ President Dana Adler, Temple Emanu-El, Tucson, AZ
Shabbat Shalom. I'm so proud to be here this evening, representing the Women of Reform Judaism and I bring greetings tonight on behalf of our WRJ President Lynn Magid Lazar, Pacific District President Ellen Bick, and our Executive Director Rabbi Marla Feldman. There is a tremendous sense of belonging tonight knowing thousands of women around the world are celebrating the centennial anniversary of Women of Reform Judaism in their own houses of worship.
During a celebration such as this we have a tendency to look back on the accomplishments of an organization. During the oneg tonight please take the opportunity to view the Centennial posters on display to give you a better understanding of the active role women of the reform movement have and continue to perform today.
Beginning with 165 women in 1913, meeting in Cincinnati, OH the Federation of Temple Sisterhoods began a journey that now spans the globe and is comprised of over 65,000 women.
Sisterhood, to me, is a culmination of so many parts of a my Jewish life; a place where I am able to put into practice my Jewish values, in a way that impacts my community at home and the larger Jewish community.
My involvement with WRJ has taught me to become a stronger advocate at many different levels; to advocate for children, to advocate for myself, to advocate for social justice, to advocate for women to be strong and to stand up for themselves, and to encourage women to stand up for what is right and to take on active roles in making this world a better place.
Read more: Ki Tisa/Parah 5773: WRJ Centennial Shabbat
July 12, 2013
Rabbi Jason Holtz, Temple Emanu-El, Tucson, AZ
Beginning Monday night is Tisha B'Av, the Ninth Day of the Hebrew month of Av. It is a day to remember numerous tragedies. Perhaps the worst of these was the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. It was destroyed by the Romans, and while we remember the Temple in particular, it is symbolic of losing the war in general. We lost Jerusalem. We lost many freedoms in the Land of Israel. The death toll was staggering and the loss of faith in the aftermath of the war was great. The ancient rabbis teach that the war started as disputes amongst the Jews and only afterwards did the Romans get involved. The Jews failed to realize that while they may have had differing ideas and visions about Jewish life and identity, their real struggles should not have been with one another. The lesson, they teach, is the destructive nature of sinat chinam, baseless hatred, or at least misplaced and outsized dislike. It means turning someone into a competitor or a foe for no good reason. The opposite of sinat chinam is ahavat chinam, free and boundless love and appreciation. Much of the year, I talk to people about Temple Emanu-El and all the reasons to join. Mah nishtanah ha laila hazeh? Why is this night different from all other nights? Tonight, I want to speak about why we should be supportive of other Jewish synagogues and organizations and continue to seek to partner and collaborate with them whenever possible. I believe it is important as a tikkun, a repair, of the sins of our ancestors from so long ago.
Read more: D'varim/Chazon 5773: Do Not Separate Yourself from the Community