Rabbi Rose

A Letter To Families: How to talk about Antisemitism

From Rabbi Josh Rose: Shalom At this time of year we look forward to Rosh HaShanah and all of the personal and communal renewal it promises.  While surely the Jewish people have much to be thankful for, still we have to be honest about some ugly events in our nation in recent months. Our grandparents…

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Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei: Honesty, Integrity and Community

Without truth there can be no social life.  A society that does not have a shared understanding of reality will consume itself with disorder and violence.  When we can see things together, we can begin to create a just society.  Whether the Israelites can place truth at the center of their community is the pressing…

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Break Through to Connect: A Reflection on a Pre-Passover Tradition

Sometimes when we are in a place of difficulty and darkness, when we feel like outsiders it is tempting to shut down. We want to make ourselves small and disappear, to go “offline” emotionally and disconnect from the world all around. There’s a beautiful little tradition inspired by just the opposite inclination: enthusiasm and eagerness…

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Purim: Are We Servants of Ahashueres?

The MJCC received a bomb threat last week.  Gary Fifer wrote you an email yesterday in which he described some of the steps that we are taking to keep our community safe.  We will continue to be vigilant to ensure the safety of our community and our property. The desecration of cemeteries, the bomb threats,…

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Portland Mikveh

Did you know there’s one being built at the MJCC under the leadership of Federation?  Here’s what it looks like at this moment: You can make a donation through Federation to support this excellent work. Contact Caron Rothstein at the federation office, caron@jewishportland.org

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Parshat Terumah: Heaven on Earth

We are now in the fourth day of the month of Adar. The Talmud teaches m’sh’nichnas adar marbeh b’simchah which means “When Adar starts, we have to increase joy.”  At the risk of being a little morose, however, I want to write about despair. At times we see the way of the world in its…

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Yossi Klein HaLevi on the Six Day War

Yossi Klein HaLevi has a brilliant mind and thinks and speaks beautifully about Israel, its history and its future.   His book Like Dreamers is a powerful and very readable meditation on how the Six Day War changed Israel. Here is an hour-ish long interview he did about the fiftieth anniversary of the War and about…

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Anti-Semitism and American Leadership

My previous post was about anti-semitism in American culture.  The horrific desecration of Jewish cemeteries has led to some heartening support from people of good conscience (including a fundraiser initiated by two Muslim Americans).  However the bomb threats at JCCs, the spray painted swastikas, the appearance of Nazi salutes in the public square all remind…

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Antisemitism and This American Moment

Jews are quintessentially American. We  represent what is best about the United States.  Our great-grandparents or our grandparents came here seeking refuge from hatred and violence in Europe and elsewhere. Here in the United States we thrived.  To be sure this country was not paradise. We faced anti-Semitism and exclusion here as well. But we…

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Parshat Yitro: The Humility of Power (or How Not to Shake Hands)

Millions of Americans have spent much (too much) time this past week looking at videos of our President shaking hands with various leaders. One of the discourses that has popped up around the ‘handshake’ discussion is what it says about Donald Trump’s desire (or need) to establish dominance over others.  According to this argument, the alpha-male…

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