Rabbi Ed Feinstein's blog

What Do I Say to My Child? What Do I Say to Myself?

Wed, 06/15/2016 - 11:36am -- Rabbi Ed Feinstein

I watch the news for a few minutes, and then I turn it off. It’s just too painful. It’s too painful to witness the tears and sobs for loved ones murdered so brutally. It’s too frustrating to listen to the story retold over and again – the unstable young man radicalized to hate, the easy access of military-grade weaponry, the feckless politicians rehearsing their talking points. The evil of it all is just too hard to absorb.

Watching a Train Wreck

Thu, 02/25/2016 - 12:00am -- Rabbi Ed Feinstein

I love America. I know Jewish history too well to take American democracy for granted. My ancestors were among the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. We were, quite literally, the wretched refuse of the old world’s teeming shores.

Rabbi Arthur Green

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 12:00am -- Rabbi Ed Feinstein

On Shabbat, January 29-30, we will welcome Rabbi Arthur Green as our guest scholar. Rabbi Green, one of the leading thinkers and teachers in the Jewish world today, opens a door to the great mystical traditions of traditional Judaism. His latest book, Judaism’s Ten Best Ideas, offers an outline of his remarkable vision. Here’s an excerpt: What does it mean to believe in God?

What Cancer Can't Touch

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 12:00am -- Rabbi Ed Feinstein

A recent talk at UCLA'c cancer center

About the Lecture: Our ancestors had none of our diagnostic tools or treatment strategies. But they understood the dynamics of illness and health, and discovered sources of courage to fight for life. We can share their wisdom and draw from those same sources as patients and loved ones of individuals touched by cancer.  This presentation explores the meaning of healing – locating the personal resources to find life after diagnosis and to find purpose in the midst of disease.  These discussions benefit not just the individual who receives the diagnosis, but their larger community of caregivers, families and extended networks.  Anyone who has experienced a cancer diagnosis whether themselves or someone they know are encouraged to participate in this presentation.

Dangerous Religion

Tue, 04/09/2019 - 2:38pm -- Rabbi Ed Feinstein

Dangerous Religion
"In every generation, we must see ourselves as if we personally had come out of Egypt." (Mishna)
Rabbi Ed Feinstein
Clergy Corner, April 10, 2019

Heschel

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 9:50am -- Rabbi Ed Feinstein

The speaker stood at the podium and announced:
    “Ladies and gentlemen, a great miracle has just occurred!”

Members of the startled audience would immediately cease talking, lean forward wondering, what miracle could have happened? What miracle did they miss? He would then continue,
    “Ladies and gentlemen, a great miracle has just taken place...the sun has gone down.”

Now they would look at him strangely, some taken aback, incredulous, other might snicker at the strange man with the long beard and prophetic manner. Then he began to speak, and as he spoke, you began to feel deeply embarrassed that the sun had gone down, and you didn’t stop to notice. What part of us has been surrendered when the sunset no longer inspires?

What Religion Has to Say to the World - Remembering Rabbi Harold Schulweis

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 9:59am -- Rabbi Ed Feinstein

When the angels of heaven learned of God’s plan to create the human being with the divine image, they were aghast.  

“How can God plant something as pure and holy as the divine image, in a create as deceitful, base and corrupt as the human being?” So they conspired to steal it and hide it from the human. But where, where to hide the holy image? The angels met in urgent council to decide.

A Happy and Amicable Thanksgiving

Mon, 11/19/2018 - 3:11pm -- Rabbi Ed Feinstein

Thanksgiving is America at its best. Whether we arrived on the Mayflower, or immigrated generations later, Thanksgiving reminds us that we share a common history of redemption: We came from far away drawn by a dream of freedom. We met adversity with faith and persistence. We discovered opportunity and possibilities here. And now we share gratitude for the blessings of this land. That, together with turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, makes this the quintessential American festival.

The Famous Sukkah of Rabbi Pinchas

Wed, 09/26/2018 - 11:45am -- Rabbi Ed Feinstein

This is a story I tell to children. But it really isn’t for them. It’s for all of us who are tired of the phone ringing, the people who ask for just a little time, the family whose demands never end.  Did you ever wish they would all go away and leave you alone? And if they did, how long before you’d miss them? How long before you would discover that the greatest joy in life is knowing that you’re needed and you’re loved?

A GROWN UP GOD - Yom Kippur 2018/5779

Wed, 09/26/2018 - 11:43am -- Rabbi Ed Feinstein

He sat before me, a typical petulant 13-year old. It was a week or so before his Bar Mitzvah and he had announced to his family at dinner last night that he didn’t believe in God and didn’t want to have a Bar Mitzvah. They didn’t know what to do. Cancel the simcha? The invitations already went out, the caterer had already been paid, the yarmulkas were on order… Send him to the rabbi. So here he sat. 
    “You don’t believe in God?” I asked him. 
    “No,” he confessed, with eyes cast downward, like he’d just told the Vice Principal that it was his spitball that hit the head cheerleader.
    “Ok, let’s talk.” He looked up at me relieved I wasn’t going to take out a magic wand and place a curse on him. 
    “You don’t believe in God. Ok. When you say that, what do you mean by God?” 
This was a question he did not expect. 
    “You’re a rabbi, you know... God.” 
    “Yes, but that’s a slippery word. What do you mean by God?”

AN AMERICA OF HOPE AND FEAR - Rosh Hashanah 2018/5779

Thu, 09/13/2018 - 7:58am -- Rabbi Ed Feinstein

As you drive north along the Eastern slopes of the Sierras, on the way up to Mammoth, just past the town of Lone Pine, you pass a desolate, lonely place called Manzanar. You should stop and visit. Today, Manzanar is a National Historical Site. In 1942, it was an internment site, one of ten along the West Coast, for more than 110,000 Japanese-Americans who were uprooted from their homes and imprisoned by the United States government following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Japanese Americans were said to be spies, providing information to the Japanese command. With no evidence, they were accused of sabotaging the defenses of the West Coast, and inviting a Japanese invasion.

In Praise of RBG

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 2:26pm -- Rabbi Ed Feinstein

A time will come in the next generation when we will have to explain to our children and grandchildren how it was that even into the middle of the 20th century women were considered lesser. How could it be that opportunities and possibilities enjoyed by men were closed to women simply because they are women? And when they asked us how that changed, how women earned equal rights, there will be many stories to tell. Among the most dramatic will be story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, who was awarded the Genesis Prize for Lifetime Achievement this week in Jerusalem. In our times, moral heroes are hard to find. Especially in government. “RBG” is a soul to hold up and celebrate.

Shabbat Parashat Naso

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 4:01pm -- Rabbi Ed Feinstein

Reprinted from Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies of American Jewish University's Today's Torah publication.

All of five feet tall in his stiff new suit and shiny shoes, he can barely be seen over the bima. In a cracking adolescent voice, he announces, "Today I am Bar Mitzvah. Today I am a man!" Yes, you are. But what do you know about being a man? A Jewish man? What can we tell you?

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