Category: President’s column

The Board is Never Bored


One of my favorite jobs as President is to work with our Board and encourage conversations that help TE move forward. The Board’s responsibility is to oversee TE’s strategic and financial policy, develop funds for the organization, and advocate for the organization.  I thought I would share many of the significant issues that have been discussed and the decisions that have been made by the Board over the last year. Please use this as a springboard to ask me or the Board questions. It seems amazing that it was only December 2014 that the Board listened to the bids of […] more



Throughout the last year I have written about the Mussar traits of enthusiasm, faith, joy, order, hesed, strength, responsibility, gratitude and awe as I feel they have related to our community. In Mussar practice each trait is concentrated on for a fixed period of time and then revisited to work on again and again. So this seems like an opportune time to briefly look at where we are going over the next year and which traits will inform our decisions as we go forward. As you look through this edition of the Shofar you will see boundless energy and opportunity. […] more

Awe – “Yirah”


  At this time of the year, we are in the midst of the Days of Awe. This is a particularly appropriate time to think about this Mussar trait in relationship to our community. So, have you noticed what has happened at TE in the last year? I believe it is nothing short of awesome. Awe has been defined as the feeling of being overwhelmed by a reality greater than yourself and greater than what you encounter in ordinary life. For a moment you are over taken by an awareness that life is astounding in its reality, vastness, complexity, order, […] more

Seder – Order


Summer 2015 “First a person should put his house together, then his town, then the world.” (Rabbi Israel Salanter, founder of Mussar)   The word for order – seder – shows up frequently in Jewish tradition. It is the name given to the evening ritual meal on Passover. It is also the root of the name of the prayer book itself, the siddur. Alan Morinis points out that “because all of creation runs on orderly principles, it is said to be mesudar – orderly – and therefore the Torah, which is the blueprint of the world, is mesudar as well.” […] more



“Emunah” It seems that discussing a trait like “Faith” with a faith community should be a straight forward task. But in fact, I have had some difficulty.  This is partly because the topic of faith seems to me to be more in the Rabbi’s corner and not in the President’s domain and partly because as Reform Jews we often skirt the whole issue of Faith and G-d. For the sake of sticking with my plan of discussing these Mussar traits as they apply to our congregational life and not our spiritual life, I will limit my discussion to what I […] more

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