Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2018

Advent Lessons

As we come to the last days of Advent, the season in Christianity of waiting, I am reminded of the words of Sr. Joan Chittister, a Benedictine Sister of Erie Pennsylvania, known for her social justice stance and working with and for the marginalized. “Advent is that unchangeable season when the same concepts, the same words rise over and over again, year after year, to challenge our hearts and plague our minds. Advent is the season of waiting. And who hasn’t waited? When we are little children, we wait for gifts from our parents. When we are young adults, we wait for the lover who will take us to the magic world of Everything. The problem is that the presents pale and the magic world sags all too quickly into reality. But then Advent comes, relentlessly and throughout life, with its words of hope and faith—shepherds and magi, crib and star, Emmanuel and glory—and stirs our hearts to pinnacles of possibility one more time. Ruben A. Alvez wrote, ‘Hope is hearing the melody of the future;

Faith and Culture

Faith and Culture It seems that national and international news has lately focused on various groups of people trying to navigate the political systems in which they are living. Although one could analyze the dynamics on a purely political level, I believe the core issues go much deeper. I want to touch on this today, from a faith perspective.  I think there is a strong relationship between our faith and the surrounding culture.  If creation is a great value because of its origins in God, then a universal connection or rationality can be found not limited to a particular faith group. There is a culture in the way families are organized, in how we cook our native foods, and how our society is governed. All of us are affected by culture. History and culture exist within the realm of God's creation, and I believe under the canopy of God's love.  So, as we affirm the action of God in every culture, we also address any deficiencies and injustices that may be plaguing our own cu


WHAT CHRISTMAS TAUGHT THIS RABBI ABOUT CHANUKKAH, AND VICE VERSA I like Christmas.   There, I said it.   This may be surprising for some people to hear from a rabbi, and it may be misinterpreted by others.   But it's true.   I like the feeling of this time of year.   I enjoy the songs, the lights, watching Charlie Brown and the Grinch, and especially the sense of good will that exists.   I also like Chanukkah.   I enjoy the gathering of family and friends, eating latkes (fried potato pancakes), lighting the Chanukkah menorah (9-branched candelabrum), playing dreidel (a spinning top game), and feeling a sense of warmth and light in the coldest, darkest time of the year. But my enjoyment of both holidays does not mean that I see them in the same way.   It does not mean that I view Chanukkah as the Jewish Christmas.   While I can enjoy aspects of both holidays, I am keenly aware of the need for both Christians and Jews to maintain a distinction between the two holidays, w