• Two Decades Later

    Two decades later, it is easier to see how we were tempted by the idols of that time, but it is still hard to recognize the idols of today. We remember the sheer panic of 19 years ago, and how we longed for someone — anyone — to make us feel safe again. Those who told us that we need only sacrifice a bit of our liberty for safety often gave us neither. Looking back, we remember just how hollow those promises were.

  • Lo Bashamayim Hi: Torah is Not in Heaven

    Moses, our resolute, irascible, courageous, and humble leader, is desperate. Moments before his death, he gathers us. He implores us to follow Torah. He forcefully argues that each one of us is vital in this covenant with Torah and the Holy One. Wanting to have a voice far into the future, Moses makes the covenant with…
  • Atem Nitzavim: Standing Together Against Hunger

    Imagine the scene. Groups of men, from tribal leaders to woodchoppers and water-drawers, standing in the same place. Elders interspersed with officials and women with babies on their hips. Children running in and out, weaving between the people, even the stranger within the camp, all gathered together on this day. Atem Nitzavim. You stand this day,…
  • Who Stands With You?

    Early one Friday morning in June, I stood with a group of hotel housekeepers who were about to do something very brave. Returning from a one-day strike, as a protest against unsafe working conditions, they feared retaliation. Juan Carlos was selected to be the first worker to punch the clock at 7 am, hoping that he…
  • Intimacy With God Requires Human Contact

    Parshat Nitzavim, the first of this week’s double parshah, speaks powerfully to our fundamental human need for connection to each other and to Gd — and therefore to the isolation that is an anathema to it. The covenant of Torah that began with the distant and dramatic display of Gd’s power at Mount Sinai is sealed…