High Holidays 5779


With the High Holidays of 5779 behind us I’m happy to share all my sermons from Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. As always, I’d love to hear what you think!

Rosh Hashanah Day 1 – Through Heaven’s Eyes
Rosh Hashanah Day 2 – Israel
Kol Nidrei – The Shoot that Rises Up
Yom Kippur – Where the Wild Things Are

Looking forward to a great Sukkot!

#GIFTheTorah – Lech Lecha

We’re constantly looking for ways to make the Torah come alive. For good reason too. However powerful it may be, a 2,500-year-old text can frequently seem without feeling, without motivation, without color. (Literally)

As the saying goes “a picture is worth 1,000 words.” There have been many attempts to visualize the Torah over the years with picture books, comic strips, and even movies. But it’s 2017 and to put it bluntly:

Time for that

If one picture can say 1,000 words, then how many words can a moving picture say?

Welcome to #GIFTheTorah. An attempt to communicate the key moments, key ideas, and key concepts of the weekly Torah portion in GIF form. Of course, there is no true substitute for serious study and engagement with the biblical text directly, so please don’t mistake this as an attempt to replace real study. It is intended as a fun supplement – to catch a new eye, to explain a new perspective, to fill a different medium with a bit of Torah.

For this week, I began by tagging a few rabbinic colleagues to see what we could come up with for the parsha and really to see if this idea had any legs, and they did not disappoint. They posted a few great GIFs I would never have thought of and demonstrated all the different ways of looking at a single text.

I began with this post, a reference to God’s promise to Abram that his descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky.

I also wanted to include something about the commandment of Brit Milah – circumcision:

Many of the other suggestions for Lech-Lecha focused on the idea of beginning a journey with an unknown destination.

Or even setting out with a certain degree of confidence:

While technically this isn’t a GIF, it still gets to the same idea:

We even got a reference to a lesser-known narrative in this parsha of Abram’s trip to Egypt:


As you can see there are a lot of different ways to go with this. Each person has their own connection point and their own way of thinking about it. There were a few posts I have to admit I didn’t fully understand – but that’s ok. It’s good in fact. Pushing me to learn and grow and think about the text in new ways.

Feel free to add to this project yourself. Each week take a look at the parsha and post a GIF your think represents a part of it. Tag it with #GIFTheTorah and I’ll collect some of the best entries over the week and feature them here.

I hope this project continues over the year and can’t wait to see all the GIFs you post. Together we can make the Torah more vivid, more colorful, and maybe even more fun.





High Holidays 5778

The past week has been pretty busy here at CBI with my formal Installation last Friday night and of course Rosh Hashanah. I’ll write more about the full experience once all the holidays are past, but in the meantime, I wanted to share my remarks from Installation and Rosh Hashanah. As always, I’d love to hear what you think!

Installation Address – Hazak v’Ematz
Rosh Hashanah 5778 Day 1 – The Old and the New
Rosh Hashanah 5778 Day 2 – When She Doesn’t Always Love You Back

#Hamildrash: Re’eh

For the past few weeks I’ve been having some fun linking the Parashat Hashavua to lyrics from Hamilton. I know I’m not the first person to find practical (or impractical) uses for Hamilton quotes, (see this breakdown of Hillary Clinton’s DNC acceptance speech and where she did and where she could have quoted Hamilton) but this seemed like a kind of fun twist on it. It started out as just a group text to some friends, then a Slack message to a bigger group, and now with some encouragement it’s up on my blog. Please don’t take this too seriously. After all, Hamilton and the Torah are meant to be fun. (Yes, really.) For now here is this week’s #Hamildrash. I’ll try to post the ones from the past few weeks and add on new ones as they come. Let’s keep the fun going!  Continue reading

Sports Jeopardy Champion!


Thanks to everyone for watching me on Sports Jeopardy! and for all the comments and posts on Facebook. I haven’t been this popular since our wedding in December. Getting to watch with so many friends here in Jacksonville was a blast. Hearing everyone’s reactions in real time added a whole new dimension to the show. For those who weren’t there for the Viewing Party, I did want to share a little about the whole experience.

Continue reading