Category Archives: Reflections

Message to the Class of 2022

Delivered at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School Baccalaureate Ceremony, June 16, 2022 Let me begin by expressing my gratitude for having been invited here this evening. It is such an honor to be with you to celebrate this milestone with … Continue reading

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To Be, or Not To Be: Sukkot 5782

When I first became a father, I felt the predictable mix of joy, excitement, and fear. Other fathers had told me to expect all of those feelings, particularly the fear. Babies are fragile and needy and apparently don’t come with … Continue reading

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Bringing the Heavenly Jerusalem Down to Earth

At the center of the Jewish Sabbath liturgy is a question. The Jewish worshipper asks God: “מתי תמלך בציון, when will You reign over Zion?” This is not an ordinary question, no mere invitation to small talk with the Divine. … Continue reading

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How to topple tyranny? Simple. Just never give up.

If it’s been good for anything at all, 2020 has been a year for seeing things more clearly. Living in Richmond, Virginia, the former capital of the Confederacy, I’ve seen how a lie can normalize oppression. A lie can even … Continue reading

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Star Wars, Hanukkah, and the ‘Banality of Evil’

As I celebrate Hanukkah while watching the second season of The Mandalorian on Disney+ and anxiously following the news of the president’s and his allies’ attempts to subvert democracy, I find myself once again reflecting on the many connections to … Continue reading

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A Prayer for Election Day Eve: November 2, 2020

Adon olam, sovereign of space and time, look with favor upon all who serve our country, along with all who pursue justice and peace in Your world.We go to the polls in a time of unprecedented upheaval, with a plague … Continue reading

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Judges Are People, Too.

Judges are not legal decision-making machines, nor do we want them to be. Former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes taught that the fact that the language of legal decision-making is the language of logic only creates the illusion that … Continue reading

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Introduction to Kol Nidrei 5781

Shanah Tovah and welcome to Temple Beth-El’s first-ever virtual Kol Nidrei service. Whether your family has been part of this congregation for generations or this is your first time worshipping with us, we hope you are uplifted and inspired by … Continue reading

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Message to the Class of 2020

I was asked to record a message for the seniors graduating from Maggie Walker Governor’s School, but I think it is applicable to students everywhere — and, indeed, all of us. Hope you find it meaningful. Feel free to share … Continue reading

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Richmond’s Wailing Wall

The recent wave of anti-racism protests have produced at least one tangible outcome: Sometime soon, Richmond’s Confederate monuments will be removed. As I have argued before, this move is both welcome and long overdue.  However, as plans are drawn for … Continue reading

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