Opening Prayer for the CO House of Representatives around Presidents' Day 2/22/24 

 Our God and God of all people: God of the rich God of the poor God of the refugee God of the soldier God of the homeless God of the comfortable God of those who have no God…   Today would have been my mother’s 98th Birthday.  It also happens to be the birthday of our nation’s 1st president, George Washington. Last Monday, our country celebrated President’s Day where we

Breaking the Chains of Captivity in Gaza - Israel Blog 

I spent this past weekend in St. Louis, MO where I attended Songleader Bootcamp (SLBC) – a yearly celebration of Jewish music, spirituality, and leadership. This is the 5th year that I have been honored to serve as a Core Educator at SLBC. In that role, I taught classes, helped to lead services, shared my music, and helped to create a sacred community. This year’s SLBC was filled with many

Love Lessons for Legislators - Invocation for the Colorado State House for Valentine's Day 

Our God and God of all people. We know you by many names: God of mercy, God of Justice, God of Salvation, God of all Humanity But this morning – let us call you God of Love…..Today is February 15th. Yesterday was Valentine’s day. Some here today – the more cynical among us - might think that a day set aside to focus on love is a ploy to sell chocolate and flowers. And they may be right.

Can We Have Nuanced Conversations About Israel? 

 I recently heard from a colleague serving a medium-sized congregation on the West Coast that he is very afraid to talk about Israel from the pulpit. He fears the reactions he might receive from his community. If he is supportive of Israel’s war in Gaza, there are many who will condemn him for supporting the “genocide” of the Palestinian people.  On the other hand, if he is critical,

Differing Perspectives on the Gaza War 

Each week, as we read the news, it becomes increasingly difficult to come to terms with the reality that is unfolding in Israel and Gaza. The situation of the Palestinian population becomes more dire every day.  We hear reports of the destruction and devastation of huge amounts of territory controlled by Hamas. The casualty reports continue to grow. The IDF has unequivocally shown that

Reflections on the Prayer for The State of Israel 

 Like many synagogues around the world, praying for the safety and health of the State of Israel has taken on new importance in the aftermath of October 7th. While I know that many of us have questions about the theological and philosophical efficacy of petitionary prayer in general, the act of coming together as a community in worship and publicly affirming our fears about and connection to

Opening Prayer for the CO State House on Tu B’Shvat 

Today is the Jewish holiday of Tu B’shvat – the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat – also known as the New Year of the trees.  On this day, Jews around the world give thanks for the gift of trees.  Today is the “Jewish Arbor Day,” a day when we realize the importance of these magnificent plants that sustain us all. Trees grow with their leaves spreading to the heavens – giving us

Thoughts About Israel on Tu B'Shvat 

Dear Friends,As the war between Israel and Hamas continues to rage, it is becoming increasingly difficult to watch the news unfold around us. While the IDF continues to fight against the terrorist infrastructure – every day uncovering more details about the labyrinth of tunnels, ammunition, and the lengths to which Hamas has plundered the resources of Gaza to implement its plans to attack the

My Words From the Kickoff for the Colorado Ballot Initiative to Ensure Abortion Rights in the... 

 Testimony by Rabbi Joseph R. Black – Temple Emanuel – Denver, CO Abortion Care in the CO Constitution January 22, 2024   I am here today in support of enshrining abortion access in the Colorado State Constitution. I have come to speak because, in addition to strongly supporting the right for all to have access to health care, this is also personal.  When my wife and I decided

Report From Israel - Day 4 - December 1, 2023 

 Dear Friends, I am writing this post from the home of dear friends in Tel Aviv.  Our last day of the trip was yesterday, and this is the first chance I have had to write since leaving Jerusalem. Before we said goodbye to Jerusalem, we had a very full day. We began at the Hebrew Union College (HUC) where we studied texts that focused on the concepts of “Activism and Doubt” with Rabbi