Sermons & Articles

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 »

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 »