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Making a Difference

11/23/2021 06:23:52 PM

Nov23

Rabbi Bruce Aft

Dear Friends,

It was the first time I saw my Mom cry.  The date was November 22, 1963 and Monday we commemorated the 58th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy.

Whatever our political affiliation, we all recall the days of "Camelot."  Whether our nostalgic recollection is accurate or not, I am inspired by the memory of JFK's comment, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for...Read more...

What's Jewish About Thanksgiving?

11/18/2021 03:42:52 PM

Nov18

Rabbi Bruce Aft

Dear Friends,

I hope you find this article will inspire meaningful Thanksgiving celebrations.

https://reformjudaism.org/whats-jewish-about-thanksgiving-lots

Please be safe and enjoy time with people you love over Thanksgiving.  After being alone last year, we are treasuring our opportunity to be with our children and one of our grandchildren.

My column will resume after...Read more...

Veterans Day

11/11/2021 04:12:58 PM

Nov11

Rabbi Bruce Aft

Dear Friends,

As we commemorate Veterans Day today, I hope we will all take a moment to share our gratitude to someone who has served in our military. We are safe because of their commitment. The prayer at the conclusion of this article is meaningful to me as we recognize the sacrifices that our veterans and their families make. Although written in 2011, the sentiments are eternal.

In this week's Torah reading, Jacob falls...Read more...

The Jewish Perspective

11/04/2021 01:30:10 PM

Nov4

Rabbi Bruce Aft

Dear Friends,

As we prepare for our two meaningful programs about Caste and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, I have promised that we will be framing these programs from a Jewish perspective.

In a presentation for my students at George Mason University on the Talmudic method which promotes respectful disagreement, Rabbi Daniel Novick, Hillel Director at GMU (and CBE Religious School alumnus), prepared these...Read more...

Seeking Comfort

10/28/2021 04:08:24 PM

Oct28

Rabbi Bruce Aft

Dear Friends,

One of the greatest professional joys I experience is the success of former students. Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum is a remarkable rabbi and human being. She is the Rabbi and Executive Director of The Kavana Cooperative in Seattle. We met over 20 years ago at the BBYO International Leadership Kallah in Starlight, PA.
 
Her words are very comforting to me and I hope you find them to be inspirational.  I have...Read more...

Building a Sacred Community

10/22/2021 08:56:05 AM

Oct22

Rabbi Bruce Aft

Dear Friends,

This week's Torah reading is all about faith and the challenges of building a sacred community.  Please read this excerpt which is from a post by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.

As you read the selection below, I want to suggest that as you begin the search for a new rabbi, this journey will take you down a long and winding road. I hope that everyone will maintain faith that once the decision is made, that...Read more...

Go Forth

10/14/2021 07:06:05 PM

Oct14

Rabbi Bruce Aft

This week we read the Torah portion, Lech Lecha. Abraham is told to leave his home and begin anew.  The words Lech Lecha are interpreted in many different ways. They are often translated as "go forth." The question I wish to raise is to where are we commanded to go forth?  

One interpretation is that we go forth and look deeply at ourselves. The following story and questions, posted by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, can help...Read more...

Jacob went on his way

09/30/2021 03:26:23 PM

Sep30

Rabbi Bruce Aft

Dear Friends,

Every year at this time, a good friend and past President of Congregation Adat Reyim and I would meet.  Every  year Bruce Kaplan would remind me that there is a teaching that "Jacob went on his way."

Each of us now go  on our way after the intense Holiday period. I hope that as we reflect, we will honestly strive to make changes in our lives as we go on our way. A number of you submitted six word...Read more...

What gives our lives meaning?

09/20/2021 02:54:52 PM

Sep20

Rabbi Bruce Aft

Dear Friends,

Lying in a hospital almost a year ago after a mild heart attack continues to have a profound effect on me.

I think a lot about the contradiction in Jewish tradition that teaches us we should expect that today may be our last day vs. the hope that we will live forever.

During Sukkot we read from Koheleth (Ecclesiastes). The most famous section is Chapter 3 which reminds us that there is a time for every...Read more...

There's Still Time!

09/17/2021 11:10:27 AM

Sep17

Rabbi Bruce Aft

Dear Friends,

Now that we have completed Yom Kippur, we turn our attention to  Sukkot, Hoshannah Rabbah, Shemini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah.

Although Neilah is an intense time on Yom Kippur as we plead our case while the gates of repentance are open, we know that they stay open until Hoshannah Rabbah, when our teshuvah or change process is completed for the High Holiday season (we can ALWAYS make changes in our...Read more...

A Prayer of Peace and Lament

09/09/2021 03:39:47 PM

Sep9

Rabbi Bruce Aft

A prayer of peace and lament written for the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks -- By Carrie Steenwyk

Powerful God, our refuge and our strength, we turn to you for peace and security as we recall the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack. We thank you for the bravery and the sacrifice of those who saved lives as firefighters, rescue crews, or people aboard United 93.

Comfort and strengthen the family and...Read more...

A Prayer for Simple Things

09/09/2021 07:48:00 AM

Sep9

Rabbi Bruce Aft

Dear Friends,

The traditional greeting from Rosh Hashanah through Hoshanna Rabbah is g'mar hatimah tovah, may we be SEALED for a good new year. (Some say, "g'mar tov" which means a good completion to the process of teshuvah or repentance)

As I went through old files, I discovered the following reading from the rabbi of my parents' synagogue, West Suburban Temple Har Zion in River Forest, IL. Their rabbi was Moshe Babin who was...Read more...

Welcome Home!

09/02/2021 06:40:20 PM

Sep2

Rabbi Bruce Aft

Dear Friends,

Over the years, one of my favorite prayers for Rosh Hashanah is found in the Reform Machzor, Mishkan Hanefesh.

This is my adaptation of a prayer which is found in the evening service.

Once there was a prince who sailed to faraway countries.  
Many years passed, and at last the prince thought of coming back.
For a moment he felt shame:
he had been away so...Read more...

We Are Indebted...

08/27/2021 09:23:47 AM

Aug27

Rabbi Bruce Aft

O God, we come before You in gratitude for the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. To them, we are indebted for the freedoms we enjoy today. Many continue in service at this hour, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and around the world. We are thankful for their many sacrificial acts on behalf of our great nation, particularly in the wake of war.

Bless each of these men and women. Instill in them pride in their service,...Read more...

Sorry About That...

08/26/2021 12:22:33 PM

Aug26

Rabbi Bruce Aft

Dear Friends,

Ok...I am an older guy who remembers the TV show, "Get Smart" with Don Adams. How many of you remember the iconic line, "Sorry about that, chief."

Maxwell Smart would say that to his boss when he would make a mistake.

Saturday night, we observe Selichot, which is the time for us to say, "Sorry about that...."

The question with which I wrestle is whether or not we are really sorry for the...Read more...

Ki Tetzei: Leadership

08/20/2021 10:03:06 AM

Aug20

Rabbi Bruce Aft

Dear Friends,

This week in an article about our weekly Torah portion, Ki Tetzei, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks quotes the following verse:

Do not despise an Edomite, because he is your brother.
Do not despise the Egyptian, because you were a stranger in his land.
  – Deut. 23:8

Read more...

Welcome, Rabbi Aft!

07/15/2021 04:19:42 PM

Jul15

 

Excerpt from July 15 email to the congregation:

My fellow congregants,

I am thrilled to let you know that Rabbi Bruce Aft will be joining us on August 1, 2021 and be with us for the remainder...Read more...

Sun, November 28 2021 24 Kislev 5782