Crowd Sourcing Sermons

Imagine that you are a member of the Rodeph Shalom clergy team, and you could tap into the collective wisdom of our congregation to help you write your sermons this summer. That is exactly what we are going to do this summer with CROWDSOURCING SUMMER SERMON SERIES. What is Crowdsourcing?...

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When Are We Afraid of the Wrong Thing?

Compelled by stories of catastrophe, novelist Karen Thomson Walker, recently (TED Talk) offered an interpretation of the story of the Whaleship Essex.  In 1820, 3000 miles off the coast of Chile in one of the most remote regions of the Pacific Ocean, 20 American sailors watched their ship flood with...

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Counting the Omer: I stand with Ruth

On this final day of the Omer as we enter Shavuot and read the Book of Ruth, we reflect upon her immigration into the land and people of Israel, the loving-kindness with which Naomi welcomes Ruth and the loving-kindness which Ruth embraces Naomi.  In is blog post “We Stand with the Ruth...

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Counting the Omer: Liberated, Only to Be Bound

What is freedom in a world of obligation?  Liberation in a religion of responsibility?  As we move further from Pesach and closer to Shavuot, consider David Brooks’ ideas about how we are liberated, only to be bound. Baruch Ata Adonai, Elohenu Melech ha-olam asher kidishanu b’mitzvotav vitzivanu al s’firat ha’omer. Blessed...

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Counting the Omer: Redemption

Today, as you count the Omer, think about the traditional Jewish idea of redemption (geulah) and how it applies in the world today.  The 7th blessing of the amidah/t’fillah on weekdays asks God to redeem the captives among our people.  Check out this great interview from the Colbert Report about how we can...

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Counting the Omer: Happiness Is…

Today, as you count the Omer, understand Jewish wisdom about the source of our happiness. Baruch Ata Adonai, Elohenu Melech ha-olam asher kidishanu b’mitzvotav vitzivanu al s’firat ha’omer.  Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with sacred actions and enjoins us to count the...

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Counting the Omer: Netzach

As we begin the 4th week of the Omer, we focus this week on the idea of Netzach, often translated as victory.  Netzach communicates the idea of long-suffering, strength, endurance unto completion or patience.  A powerful poem, that many of us have heard at funerals and memorial services exemplifies the...

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Counting the Omer: Yom Ha’atzmaut

Yom Ha’atzmaut, Independence Day, in Israel is always preceded by Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day for the fallen soldiers. The message of linking these two days is clear: Israelis owe their independence–the very existence of the state–to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for it. The official “switch” from Yom Hazikaron to...

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