Sermons & Articles

The Omer, George Floyd’s Murder, and the Essence of Torah (Acharei Mot-K’doshim)

Posted on April 23, 2021

by Rabbi Jordi Schuster Battis From Passover to Shavuot, there are seven weeks:Seven weeks from the exodus from Egypt to the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. It’s a period that is a paradox in Jewish tradition: On one hand, it is a time of rejoicing— We are celebrating our new freedom and looking Continue Reading »

The Orange and the Omer

Posted on April 9, 2021

by Rabbi Jordi Schuster Battis I had a friend in high school who claimed that absolutely anything could be compared to an orange.  A book is like an orange because… it is has a covering that doesn’t reveal everything that is inside.  You have to open it up to get the goods. Math class is Continue Reading »

Words Matter

Posted on January 9, 2021

At 2:15 on Wednesday afternoon I got a text from my father: “What is happening in your country?” with 3 question marks for effect. At the time I assumed he was simply talking about objections to the democratic process and the fact that elected politicians were challenging the validity of the election that sent them Continue Reading »

Celebrating the Many (and the positives)

Posted on December 7, 2020

One of my favorite psychological experiments is the so-called marshmallow test. It was pioneered at Stanford by a psychology professor named Walter Mischel in the 1960s.[1] To refresh your memory; a child aged 3-5 years old would be left alone in a room with two identical plates, with different quantities of marshmallows, pretzels, cookies or another Continue Reading »

Good winners and Good losers

Posted on November 14, 2020

Our four-year-old son Benny does not like losing. It doesn’t matter what the game is or who the competition is, for him a defeat is often followed by stomping his feet, wailing loudly about the unfairness of it all, and then running away. Recently, he and Gabby have been playing a game on our swingset, Continue Reading »

After the election, now what?

Posted on November 9, 2020

Given the way the last few days have gone, it may be time to declare that the American election is actually a Jewish holiday. The preparation for the day feels like it goes on for months, the main event begins in the evening at sundown; and then it doesn’t end, but lasts for several days. Continue Reading »

Outrage (Yom Kippur 5781)

Posted on September 27, 2020

by Rabbi Jordi Schuster Battis When our children were toddlers, they each took a different approach to expressing their anger.  One of them, when upset, would fly into a raging temper.  He would go from calm to kicking-and-screaming in an instant:  stomping, hitting, throwing things.  It was a little scary to parent him when he Continue Reading »

Carrying It All (Rosh Hashanah 5781)

Posted on September 19, 2020

by Rabbi Jordi Schuster Battis In my house these last six months—alongside social isolation, concerns about family, running out of our favorite salsa, and managing full-time professional responsibilities while also parenting—the major themes of the pandemic have been Legos, monsters, and fantasy books.  My children have spent much of this pandemic time building elaborate creations Continue Reading »

Keep Calm and Curry On (Parashat Shoftim)

Posted on August 21, 2020

by Rabbi Jordi Schuster Battis I’ve been thinking a lot about the famous British ad campaign from 1939—the one with the motivational poster produced by the British government as they prepared the public for air strikes on major cities:  “Keep calm and carry on.” No one could have predicted then the devastation of the Blitz, Continue Reading »

Donuts and Israel

Posted on August 16, 2020

I’ve had a great idea. I love donuts, and so I’ve decided that moving forward I am going to eat donuts for breakfast with my coffee. And the truth is that I can rarely limit myself to one donut, so I’m going to make sure that I always have a dozen on hand so that I Continue Reading »