Sermons & Articles

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 »

Reflections on TST’s Israel Experience

Posted on November 22, 2019

As I reflect on a wonderful ten days in Israel, I feel like I was able to check off all of the major and required Israel experiences. I walked around various markets where stall holders tried to entice me into their stores calling out to me and offering me a “good price”, starting to negotiate Continue Reading »

Categorizing Our Way to Holiness (Yom Kippur 2019)

Posted on October 10, 2019

by Rabbi Jordi Schuster Battis The Thursday before Rosh Hashanah, I reminded our five year old that he would be going on a trip the next morning.  I said, “Remember?  You and Daddy and Gersh are flying down to Florida for cousin Nell’s wedding, and you’ll come back Sunday in time for Rosh Hashanah dinner.” Continue Reading »

Facing Our Fears

Posted on October 9, 2019

In 1819, 20 American sailors were aboard the whaleship Essex about 3,000 miles off the coast of Chile.[1] Out in one of the most remote parts of the Pacific Ocean they were struck by a sperm whale; taking on seawater, they were beginning to sink. The men evacuated to three small whaleboats, with rudimentary navigational equipment Continue Reading »

Noah’s Lesson for Today: Saving Ourselves from the Flood

Posted on October 1, 2019

The story of Noah and the Ark is a Biblical classic. One man tasked with the job of building an ark to save all of the animals of this planet, as God brings down a mighty flood to destroy the earth. I recently found a retelling of the story moving it to our present day: Continue Reading »