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Fighting Nazis, yesterday & today

03/18/2021 01:44:27 PM

Mar18

Rabbi Brent Spodek

Those of us who are white skinned Jews live in a liminal space in the American racial hierarchy. 

Sometimes - driving our car, walking through a store - we present as white and reap the unearned benefits of white skin privilege.  

Other times, we are deeply aware of the fact that while we are not oppressed in the way that black and brown people often are, we are vulnerable in ways...Read more...

The Path from Charlottesville to Capitol Hill

03/10/2021 03:41:19 PM

Mar10

Rabbi Brent Spodek

Thursday, April 8 is Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. 

While we like to think the horrors of the Nazis are history to be remembered, they are sadly part of our contemporary moment as well. In 2017, American neo-Nazis and other fascists gathered in Charlottesville, VA to “Unite the Right,” chanting “Jews will not replace us,” and murdering Heather Heyer.

Read more...

Liberal Judaism in Israel

03/03/2021 11:36:59 AM

Mar3

Rabbi Brent Spodek

Photo: Sebastian Scheiner/Associated Press Photo: Sebastian Scheiner/Associated Press

One of the strange peculiarities of contemporary Jewish life is that while in America, I am a rabbi and I teach Judaism, in Israel, I am not a rabbi and what...Read more...

Out of Narrow Places

02/24/2021 01:35:07 PM

Feb24

Rabbi Brent Spodek

This has been a harrowing, narrowing year. 

Our worlds have contracted - to the size of our homes, to the size of a computer screen, to the people, if any, in our pod. 

We are all in a narrow place these days. 

Judaism’s...Read more...

Ecstatic Groceries

02/10/2021 04:01:57 PM

Feb10

Rabbi Brent Spodek

I like to davven in the forest, on the mountains, in the wild. The presence of the Creator somehow seems closer there, perhaps because my to-do list seems further away.

Of course, as peak experiences go, nothing compares to the experience that the Israelites...Read more...

Jokes and Old Age 

02/03/2021 02:51:42 PM

Feb3

Rabbi Brent Spodek

There are two things I want to share with you - one light and easy, the other perhaps heavier and more complicated. 

The light one is that we are slowly making our way towards Purim, which will be celebrated with hamantaschen baking, megilah reading, a...Read more...

Unfinished, not broken

01/20/2021 05:08:37 PM

Jan20

Rabbi Brent Spodek

There is a painful, tragic gap between who we are and who we imagine ourselves to be. 

We stand in that gap as individuals, we stand in that gap as families, and we stand in that gap as a nation. 

We see ourselves as fit, yet the scale tells us otherwise. 

We see ourselves as kind, yet the pain in our loved ones eyes tells us otherwise.

We see ourselves as...Read more...

Tu B'shevat: Meaning & Opportunities

01/13/2021 11:45:13 AM

Jan13

Rabbi Brent Spodek

Towards the end of January, we'll celebrate Tu B'shevat, the Jewish holiday often thought of as the New Year for Trees. 

The name of the holiday is actually its date, like the Fourth of July in English. “Tu” is a pronunciation of the Hebrew letters for the...Read more...

Turning Outward

01/06/2021 01:54:49 PM

Jan6

Rabbi Brent Spodek

As we move into 2021, it is more important than ever that we tend to the social fabric of our community. I have been so heartened by the many folks from our community who have contributed to Beacon Mutual Aid, the Hudson Valley Food Bank and American Jewish World Service in the closing days of 2020. 

The Torah teaches that “One who oppresses the poor blasphemes the Creator, and one that is gracious to the...Read more...

Ending Fundraising Early

12/24/2020 04:53:12 PM

Dec24

Rabbi Brent Spodek

Way, way back in the day, the Israelites gave of their treasures to build the mishkan, the sanctuary that was our communal home in the desert. 

The people were moved to tremendous generosity, and ultimately, Moshe had to tell the people that the artisans had what they needed and the people should stop bringing gifts.

Unbelievably, that is the happy position we at Beacon Hebrew Alliance find...Read more...

Tue, June 22 2021 12 Tammuz 5781