Sermons & Articles

Returning to Ourselves Again (Shabbat Nachamu)

Posted on August 1, 2020

by Rabbi Jordi Schuster Battis When I was nine years old, I began walking to school on my own.  I would walk down the street and sing songs that I made up myself.  That year, during the same six-month period, I also wrote a play that my friends and I immediately started rehearsing.  I briefly Continue Reading »

David Ben Gurion’s Lessons About Black Lives Matter

Posted on July 25, 2020

On Wednesday evening I got to watch Liverpool Football Club lift the trophy as Champions of the English Premier League, the first time they had achieved that goal in 30 years. This morning I saw an article that asked the question “Which is the greatest title-winning team in Premier League history?”  We love lists and Continue Reading »

Such times as these (Parashat Matot-Mas’ei)

Posted on July 17, 2020

by Rabbi Jordi Schuster Battis In the first book of The Lord of the Rings, the wizard Gandalf recounts for the young hobbit Frodo the twists and turns and the confluences of history that have led to the terrible dangers now confronting the Shire, and all the world beyond. “I wish it need not have happened Continue Reading »

Unprecedented Times: A Shabbat Message

Posted on June 5, 2020

by Rabbi Jordi Schuster Battis We are living in extraordinary times. Are they unprecedented? In many ways, yes. At no time before this one, in all of human history, have issues of public health, educating of children, confrontation of racial disparities, experience of violence in our communities, moments of personal loss (and of personal celebration), Continue Reading »

A Dangerous Wind in America

Posted on May 9, 2020

As I sat down to write this sermon in my office at Shir Tikva, I looked out of my windows and watched as the wind blew through the trees. At this time of year, I can see green all around me, and when the wind blows it is as though the leaves are dancing together Continue Reading »


Posted on May 8, 2020

I don’t know how many of you have gone shopping recently. Once a week I venture out of the house to buy groceries at Trader Joes. I stand in line, with my mask on keeping a good distance between the person in front of me, and hoping the person behind me is doing similarly. And Continue Reading »

In the face of our mortality… what are we going to be? (Parashat Acharei Mot-K’doshim)

Posted on May 1, 2020

by Rabbi Jordi Schuster Battis A tale was told by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in the ancient book of Midrash Vayikra Rabbah, about a group of people who were together on a ship.  It was a beautiful day, but as the afternoon wore on, each longed for home and each retreated to his or her Continue Reading »

Telling our Story

Posted on April 17, 2020

On Monday evening we will begin the annual commemoration of Yom HaShoah, our Holocaust Memorial Day. And while for us it is an accepted part of our calendar, this was not always the case. In 1951, the Knesset, Israel’s Government, began debating a date for remembering the Holocaust. They considered the 10th of Tevet, a traditional Continue Reading »

Eternally Egypt (Shabbat Passover during COVID-19)

Posted on April 10, 2020

by Rabbi Jordi Schuster Battis We have made it to Shabbat and to the middle part of Passover.  We have made it through whatever versions of seder we may have participated in this year—on our own, or on Zoom, or by video, or some of us may have just had a piece of matzah if Continue Reading »

In our sanctuaries (Parashat Vayak’hel-P’kudei)

Posted on March 20, 2020

by Rabbi Jordi Schuster Battis Well, here we are. Or, rather:  here we are in this sanctuary, and there you are at home are where you are.  We are together but not together.  A community scattered, but joined in this video stream.  It’s like how we say that all of us were together at Sinai, when we heard the 10 Commandments, Continue Reading »