WBEZ interview with Reb Michael- Chicago-Area Rabbis Reflect On Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

An interfaith gathering in Chicago’s Federal Plaza on Sunday mourned the murder of 11 people inside the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh. The mass shooting is believed to be the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in American history.

Joining the Morning Shift to offer their thoughts on the tragedy and its impact on their congregations are two rabbis: Rabbi Cantor Michael Davis of Makom Shalom and Rabbi Evan Moffic of Congregation Solel.

Reactions from the community

Rabbi Cantor Michael Davis: "I was on the street, actually, talking about the current situation in America ― the political situation.

Erev Rosh Hashana Sermon 2018

Rosh Hashana Maa’riv - We Are One with the World
Good Yomtov!
Happy Rosh Hashana, Birthday of the World!

It is right to celebrate the miracles of the natural world on Rosh Hashana, the birthday of the world.

I’d like to tell you a story about my summer, a little miracle in my back yard:

This summer, we didn’t go away. Again, I was happy to stay home and enjoy the beauty and richness of Chicago. I was fortunate to spend time in the garden. I have been encouraging the growth of my milkweed plants. Let me tell you a little about them. Those are those dusty green plants with oblong shaped leaves. Each plant is a 4-5 ft. stalk that grows from a network of underground roots.

Yom Kippur Morning Sermon 2018

Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad!

On Rosh Hashana I spoke to you about our relationship with our planet 
and how we humans are becoming one with our world. I suggested that 
accepting our role as custodians of the planet can give us 1a way to 
approach the coming challenges of climate challenge with strength.

We are one with the planet.

On Rosh Hashana morning, I spoke about the gift of truth, the unifying 
and liberating power of having a shared truth, one truth. How we affirm 
the divine attribute of truth as the foundation of memory, introspection 
and community.

Kol Nidre Sermon 2018

Kol Nidre Sermon 2018
Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018

I have a confession to make. But first I want to celebrate a beautiful 
project that Makom and I had the privilege of participating in.

I didn’t expect to see a picture of me, my family and the Makom board 
featured in a cover article of a section in the Chicago Tribune.

Makom Shalom's Book of Forgiveness

We began our High Holyday preparation with a wonderful presentation by poet and scholar, Stacey Robinson. As part of our work together we each wrote our own poem on the subject of return and spiritual healing and formed together Makom’s Book of Forgiveness. Our poems are below:

A few Questions on Repentance

If I ask, may I ask?
If I promise, what then?
What then, if others or not?
What of community, what obligations?
What if I is not we and
we does not include all?

(Anonymous)

Selichot Spiritual Practice

School is back and Rosh Hashanah is almost here! It is customary to prepare for the High Holydays by saying special daily prayers called Selichot. We began our High Holyday preparation last Sunday with a wonderful presentation by poet and scholar, Stacey Robinson. As part of our work together we each wrote our own poem on the subject of return and spiritual healing and formed together Makom’s Book of Forgiveness.

Check out the Makom Shalom website next week to read the poems in our communal Book of Forgiveness.

Torah of Dissent - Part 2

Torah of Dissent - Part 2

Can we talk?  In sacred community, there are no winners and losers. History may be written by the victor but the Talmud and the Torah are for everyone. Both the majority and the minority, the mainstream and the dissenting voice, are sacred text. We study all voices as Torah. This is the basis for the celebrated Jewish value of debate and welcoming a multiplicity of opinions.

Yankel and Mendel, Israel and Palestine, and us -- Reflections for Rosh Hashanah 5778

Yankel and Mendel, Israel and Palestine, and us -- Reflections for Rosh Hashanah 5778

A wall runs right through the middle of the land dividing Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship from the millions who don't.  It is almost a perfect reversal of traditional Jewish thinking. Jews lived in shtetls in desperate conditions but lived in a headspace of Zion. When they held the etrog on Sukkot they could smell the sun and the freedom of Zion.  Today, Israelis live in the Middle East but, have created a modern day shtetl where they imagine that they are in Europe and America.

Parsha Re'eh: Reflections on Blessings and Curses

Parsha Re'eh:  Reflections on Blessings and Curses

We, people of good faith, will continue to choose life and to aspire to live as ethical and loving people. We will continue to reach out to each other and build bridges and strengthen our to others. Violence and hate reach beyond the events themselves to try to take over our time and attention, claiming much more space than they deserve. Instead, let’s share what the overwhelming majority are up to.