Rabbi Sara Mason-Barkin, Rosh Hashanah 5780
Congregation Beth Israel, Scottsdale, Arizona
I hope that many of you have had the chance to visit the celebrated Israel museum in Jerusalem. Home to famous works of art, like Robert Indiana’s Ahavah sculpture, a scale model of the temple in Jerusalem, as well as important artifacts like the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls: The collection at the museum is priceless. It represents the complicated and intriguing history of the land and people of Israel, and the promise of its future.
A few years ago a toddler visiting the museum with her family pressed her…
In recognition of Shabbat Shuvah, and in memory of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Rabbi Sara Mason-Barkin, 9.25.2020
Congregation Beth Israel, Scottsdale, Arizona
Dear Sela Penina, my daughter, my girl:
Tonight is Shabbat Shuva, a Shabbat of turning — a time for turning inwards, for reflection on who and how we’d like to be in the year ahead. …
The arc bends towards justice, in the State of Israel and at home.
Though the ruling affects only a small number of people, it is a big deal because it symbolizes larger progress and change. …
Some straight talk with the Holy One.
I’ve got a bone to pick with You, God.
I hope You don’t mind my informality here, but it’s been a long week. A long month. A long year. And after all we’ve been through lately, I think maybe we’re beyond formalities. I think maybe we’re ready to put the niceties aside, and really address what’s been going on. No fancy language. No frilly metaphors. Just You and me in direct conversation.
Like I said, God. I’ve got a bone to pick with You.
Inspired by Amanda Gorman’s ‘The Hill We Climb’: A Reflection on Parashat Bo
One of my favorite milestones for each of my children was when they each said their first word. I’m sure many of you remember this for your own children — the delight and surprise when suddenly the lightbulb clicks on, and they connect the movement of their mouths and the sound of their voice to the world around them. That first word represents an identifying moment of individuality, a tangible step towards self-expression. Even if the word is as simple as ‘more,’ or ‘ducky,’ or ‘da-da’ —…
Summoning the heart strength we need to tell the story.
Where were you on Wednesday?
I know that you remember — and I know that you will always remember. Wednesday became one of those ‘where were you when’ days. Like the day that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Or when you first heard that Martin Luther King Jr had been assassinated. Or John F Kennedy. Or Yitzchak Rabin. You remember where you were on Wednesday, like you remember where you were when you first heard that a plane hit the Twin Towers.
Wednesday, January 6, 2021, the Assault on…
We are the makers of miracles, and our hands will heal the world.
Following every noisy meal at every Jewish summer camp, whether chicken nuggets or grilled cheese, everyone in the Chadar Ochel (the dining hall) participates in an obligatory round of Birkat HaMazon (the blessing after the meal). For those who haven’t heard it, it’s a long prayer — chanted in a leisurely way (or, in some circles, davened silently) with full bellies and happy hearts. …
It all depends on how you lay your head.
Once upon a time, there was a prince. He had all of the riches money could buy. He had beautiful robes and sparkling jewels. He enjoyed delectable foods prepared by the finest chefs, and he traveled on luxurious vacations to far away lands. But there was only one thing he truly wanted. He wanted to find a princess, a perfect, prim, proper princess with whom he could share his life.
But it seemed was though every potential princess he met had a problem. Either she didn’t like to travel…
A little bit of Torah for the days when you’d rather go back to sleep.
I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that mornings in my house can be a bit chaotic. Sometime around 6 am the house begins to wake. Usually it starts when the baby stirs, while the rest of the family is still quiet in the sleepy dark. If I’m lucky, I can spend a few sweet minutes alone with him. But before too long the alarm goes off, and it’s time to get everyone moving. The baby goes to my husband. I coax the…
The American people have chosen the next president. But we haven’t yet begun to heal.
I wrote this a few days ago. But it seems like weeks. Like we have lived through years in the last few months. The amount of information we have consumed, the number of facts that have changed, the continuing adjustments of what we know, what we think we know, and what we once knew… it’s exhausting.
Do I need to begin with a caveat about politics? I don’t know anyone whose eyes haven’t been glued to screens — or, decidedly ignoring them since Tuesday. We…
Rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel in Scottsdale, AZ.