Sermons & Articles

Foreigners (Parashat Balak)

Posted on July 19, 2019

by Rabbi Jordi Schuster Battis There is a lot of debate among rabbis, and within congregations, about how much political speak is okay to have from the bimah: There are some who come to Temple precisely because they want to make meaning of the day’s news or to be galvanized toward something of bigger political Continue Reading »

Thou shalt never, but never, be a bystander

Posted on July 5, 2019

In the month of February a 15-year-old girl was forced to flee her country. She was too young to make this decision on her own, so her mother and step-father made the decision they felt was best for her. Her father died when she was just 8 months old, and while life had always been Continue Reading »

Body, Soul & Song: In Celebration of Cantor Hollis

Posted on May 17, 2019

by Rabbi Jordi Schuster Battis Nishmat kol chai  t’varech et shimcha, Adonai Eloheinu Let the soul of every living thing bless your name, Adonai our God…. Ka-amur: L’David — Barchi nafshi et Adonai, v’chol k’rovai et shem kodsho. As it says in the book of Psalms, Let my soul bless God, and let my very Continue Reading »

Parashat Acharei Mot (after Poway, with Cantor Hollis Schachner)

Posted on May 3, 2019

by Rabbi Jordi Schuster Battis and Cantor Hollis Suzanne Schachner R’ Jordi: A few weeks ago, we read the story of the death of two sons of Moses’s brother Aaron, who die in the Israelites’ sanctuary in the Wilderness. Immediately after their deaths, Aaron is initially entirely silent. Our commentators ask why: Is he too Continue Reading »

Invocation for Yom HaShoah

Posted on May 1, 2019

Eloheinu shebeshamayim sheboreh hakol vebarech aleinu – Our God in Heaven, the Creator of all, and the One who brings blessing to us. I am humbled to stand here at this moment in this sacred place to remember. I stand here as the grandchild of a woman who fled from Berlin as a child after experiencing Continue Reading »

Closing Benediction for Yom HaShoah

Posted on May 1, 2019

Eloheinu shebeshamayim sheboreh hakol vebarech aleinu – Our God in Heaven, the Creator of all, and the One who brings blessing to us. On this day, as we remember that darkest time in human history, we ask that we will be a generation that experiences light and not darkness, that brings peace and not violence, that Continue Reading »

On a rising tide (After Pittsburgh)

Posted on November 18, 2018

by Rabbi Jordi Schuster Battis I am in a generation that was taught so much aboutanti-Semitism and Holocaust,and pogroms and the Inquisition, and the Crusades. Always with the message:  Never Forget. And always with the message:  Never Again. What I took away from those conversations as a child was that            If you learn enough about history—            Continue Reading »

Tree of Life (Vigil in the Aftermath of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Shooting)

Posted on October 29, 2018

by Rabbi Jordi Schuster Battis In our ark, behind me here, are our precious Torah scrolls. Each one contains the five books of Moses, the most precious and ancient stories of our tradition, written by hand, with intention, and with love. We call our Torah our tree of life, because the stories and obligations it Continue Reading »

Tree of Life Vigil

Posted on October 29, 2018

It is hard to know what to say. On Saturday morning we were gathered in this Sanctuary celebrating a young boy becoming a man. Our hearts were filled with joy and happiness. And then the service ended, and we heard the shocking and horrific news from Pittsburgh. And my heart was broken. Broken for those Continue Reading »

It’s Time to Say We’re Sorry

Posted on October 8, 2018

I’m sorry, may I ask you a question? I’m sorry, this isn’t what I ordered. I’m sorry, could I please have a glass of water? I’m sorry, you seem to be standing on my foot. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry There are two things that the British do more than any other people in Continue Reading »