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At Central Synagogue

Reflections of a Special Condolence Call

Posted August 23, 2016

Reflections of a Special Condolence Call

On Monday of this week, I was honored to join the New York Board of Rabbis to visit the home of Imam Akonjee, who was murdered along with his friend Thara Miah on his way home from prayer on August 13. We came to Ozone Park with condolences to share, solidarity in our hearts, and a message that the whole faith community mourns with their family.

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Not By Might: Channeling the Power of Faith to End Gun Violence Book Preview

Posted July 18, 2016

Not By Might: Channeling the Power of Faith to End Gun Violence Book Preview

Rabbis Against Gun Violence, a grassroots group of rabbis from across the denominational spectrum, have produced a rapid-response book, Not By Might: Channeling the Power of Faith to End Gun Violence, in the wake of the massacre in Orlando. Rabbis and teachers from every walk of life and all over the country produced stirring words of inspiration, guidance, and teachings from the Torah and Jewish tradition, to awaken us to real action. I was privileged to write a chapter about work I did around gun policy reform in Chicago.

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On Recent Tragedies: A Message from Your Clergy

Posted July 11, 2016

On Recent Tragedies: A Message from Your Clergy

We could say we've been here before, but this moment feels especially difficult. We can only lean on the calm wisdom of Dallas' Chief of Police, whose words about the Dallas bloodshed can be applied to every one of these tragedies: “We're hurting….We are heartbroken….All I know is that this must stop.”

The Jewish people have never “stood idly by,” have always found some way to collectively mourn, act, ease others’ suffering, deny victory to those forces of hatred or bigotry. I know each of us will be thoughtfully weighing where our time or resources might help to alleviate the anguish of recent days. But in the meantime, we are a close community who will stay close, lean on each other for comfort, for discussion, and for faith, that there will be a better moment and a week without tragedy.

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Reflections after the Orlando Shooting

Posted June 12, 2016

Reflections after the Orlando Shooting

The news from Orlando this morning has crushed us all. At the same time that we grieve, we are shaken by the brutality that destabilizes our sense of humanity, civility and security.

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Caring Conversations at the End of Life

Posted June 6, 2016

Caring Conversations at the End of Life

What does it mean to be a Jewish community? I believe that at Central Synagogue, it means that each and every one of us is here for the other, being supportive at all times in our life's journey. This includes end of life, too.

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On Welcoming

Posted May 26, 2016

On Welcoming

Rabbi Lisa Rubin

Moving my family, while continuing to build a rabbinate around interfaith and conversion work, has made me extremely sensitive to these facts: Adjustment to a new way of life is difficult. Belonging takes time. And perhaps the most important: Every encounter in a new place- especially the first one- is a potential game changer. Those very first words and acts of welcome leave an indelible mark. The follow up care and concern only solidify the foundation.

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A Prayer for Voting

Posted April 15, 2016

A Prayer for Voting

On Tuesday, April 19, we have the opportunity to participate in one of our most sacred rights, privileges, and yes, even obligations. We enter into the voting booth knowing how blessed we are to live in a country in which individuals are elected through the voice of the people. Your vote is counted. Your voice contributes to the future of our country. With our voice and our vote, we live our Jewish values in the public square. It is a sacred act to exercise our right to vote in this country. As so, you might find it meaningful to add a spiritual dimension by bringing this prayer with you into the voting booth – to set your intentions and elevate this moment for you, for any children you bring with you, and for our country.

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Central’s Breakfast Program: More than a Mitzvah

Posted April 11, 2016

Central’s Breakfast Program: More than a Mitzvah

Molly Shapiro (pictured left) has been volunteering with Central's Breakfast Program since the age of 10.

In many ways, I wake up at 5am for myself just as much as I am for them. I am energized by our conversations, grateful for their company, and more self-aware when I leave to go to school that day. Seeing their lack of layers on winter’s coldest mornings puts any bad test score or Model UN anxiety in perspective.

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Revival Blessing

Posted April 4, 2016

Revival Blessing

Rabbi Stephanie Kolin gave this a blessing at the launch of The Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values, a National Revival Tour to Redefine Morality in American Politics. Organized by Repairers of the Breach, Healing of the Nations Ministries, and Drum Major Institute, in coordination with local groups. Revival efforts will include training interfaith clergy and young adults in prophetic moral analysis, moral articulation, and moral activism; calling political leaders to rise above hatred and fear to our highest values of love and justice; and direct actions in state capitals led by clergy and impacted people for three Mondays in September, dramatizing the pain already inflicted by unjust policies. The launch occurred Sunday, April 3 at Riverside Church in New York City.

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Introducing our Director of Adult Engagement

Posted March 25, 2016

Introducing our Director of Adult Engagement

We are thrilled to announce that Rabbi Ben Greenberg will be Central Synagogue's new Director of Adult Engagement (DOAE). Rabbi Greenberg is a writer, consultant, and educator. He most recently served as a planning executive at UJA-Federation of New York, where he helped more than 80 synagogues in New York City design and execute engagement programs, fundraising campaigns, and professional development opportunities.

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