Wednesday, November 30, 2016

In Defense of Isaac

It seems inevitable that every year someone will say, "Isaac is boring."

Abraham traveled the world, argued with God, and led armies into battle.

Jacob was cunning and strong, received messages from God in dreams, and wrestled with angels.

But Isaac never traveled beyond the boundaries of his promised land. He re-dug the same wells as his father and re-hashed the same stories. He rarely spoke to God and never wrestled with angels.

I've always been sympathetic to Isaac. I don't think he is meant to be larger than life, like his father and his son. He represents us - bound to the Jewish people by our forefathers, repeating their rituals and re-treading their well-worn steps in the landscape of Jewish tradition, taking God's promises on faith, and promising even more to our children.

Maybe this year we can view Isaac not as the boring and blind forgotten middle patriarch, but as the model for our own Jewish lives.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Coming Together on Thanksgiving

This Shabbat we will read Chayei Sarah, the life of Sarah, which recounts Sarah’s death and burial, Isaac’s marriage to Rebecca, and the death and burial of Abraham.

As so many of us come together with family for Thanksgiving this year expecting harsh political disagreements, I am reminded of Abbey Bartlet’s wise words on The West Wing:
“What most people find it important to remember is that, in the end, the two sons [Isaac and Ishmael] came together to bury their father.”
Skip to 1:30 for Abbey's story

If you are celebrating Thanksgiving this year in a politically-divided home, I hope that you and your family will be able to set aside your differences and truly have a happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Dear Trump Supporters

Dear Trump Supporters,

I know that some of you are not racist. Some of you were appalled when Donald mocked reporter Serge Kovaleski, bragged about sexually assaulting women, and attacked the Kahns, a gold star family. Some of you voted for him in spite of those things, because the Maytag plant in your town moved to Mexico, your insurance premiums rose again last month, you're tired of gridlock in Washington, or you just couldn't bring yourself to vote for Hillary.

But some of you are in the Klan and some of you are neo-Nazis. Donald appealed to them too and that should scare you like it scares me. So don't tell me that it's un-American or disrespectful not to support this president. 

It's un-American not to call out those disgusting elements of our society and it's disrespectful to write off my fears - and the fears of so many others - just because "not all" of his supporters are in the KKK and you don't think he will actually do some of the things he promised during his campaign.

I will continue to stand up for what I believe and make my voice heard, because that is what patriotic Americans do. We participate, we advocate, and every two years, we vote. So you and Donald have two years to prove that you are better than the worst of your coalition. 

Ready? Go.