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Rabbi Zari has some news for the secular new year! Read below…

Beginning Again . . .

“Happy Secular New Year!” I said.

“The secular new year doesn’t mean much to me,” my friend said.  “I feel that I get so much more out of the Jewish New Year.  The secular new year doesn’t really provide anything new.”

“I welcome any opportunity to mark new beginnings,” I said, a little sheepishly, since, after all, I am the rabbi of the two of us.  Oh well.  I’ll take it:  any chance to start anew!

As we begin this new secular year, I have some new ideas that I’d like to launch, and—in a spirit of experimentation that I think is good for Judaism and the Jewish People—see how they fare.

The first was inspired by the conference I attended in December, sponsored by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.  Titled, “Rabbinic Moral Leadership Gathering:  Moral Clarity in Turbulent Times,” the conference drew rabbis from all over the country for just about 30 hours of study sessions, discussions, and small group sharing.  It was time well-spent, and I returned to Seattle renewed and re-invigorated for the justice work that lies ahead.

Inspired by chapters in a book we were given, Moral Resistance and Spiritual Authority (edited by Rabbi Seth M. Limmer, DHL, and Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner), I’ve decided to look at a number of current issues during the next few months of Torah study; I’ve purchased some additional copies for those of you who would like your own.  Each study session will connect to something in the weekly Torah portion.  See schedule below.  All are welcome and encouraged to participate—even if you are not a regular Torah study participant.

Second, as I continue to wrestle with how to make tefillah (prayer) in general and Shabbat services in particular more engaging and meaningful in this very secular culture in which we live, I’m going to experiment with some different structures and approaches during our Shabbat gatherings.  These will take place primarily on Saturday mornings, but also occasionally on Friday evenings.  I hope that you will come and consider staying until the conclusion of the service so we can enjoy Kiddush and Motzi together following services.  We will be done by 12:30 p.m.

Please let me know if you have questions, ideas, or thoughts.

And . . . Happy Secular New Year!

Rabbi Zari

Torah Study:  Seeking Moral Clarity in Turbulent Times

Saturday, January 5th:             Va’era:  “In Every Generation:  The Obligations of our Exodus”

(Drawing on chapter by Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner)

Saturday, January 19th:          Beshallach:  “Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, and Gender Power Balance

(Drawing on chapter by Rabbi Jill L. Maderer)

Saturday, February 2nd:         Mishpatim:  Mass Incarceration through a Jewish Lens”

(Drawing on the chapter by Hilly Haber)

Saturday, February 16th:       Tetzaveh:  Global Jewish Responsibility:  Putting the Olam in Tikkun Olam

(Drawing on the chapter by Ruth W. Messinger and Rabbi Rick Jacobs)

Saturday, March 2nd:               Vayakel:  “Economic Justice and the Social Safety Net”

(Drawing on the chapter by Rabbi Marla J. Feldman)

Saturday, March 16th:             Vayikra:  “Do Not Separate Yourself from the Community”

(Drawing on the chapter by Rabbi Lynne F. Landsberg, z”l)


Mishkan HaNefesh Machzorim set is available for purchase. Please fill out the Mishkan HaNefesh Machzor Order Form 2018 #1.


Some Jewish Journeys and presentations from our 5779 High Holy Day Services:

Rabbi Zari’s Rosh Hashanah sermon: Living with Integrity pdf_

Rabbi Zari’s Yom Kippur sermon: Dear God Yom Kippur

Charles and Jonis Davis Jewish Journey: Charles and Jonis Davis- Jewish Journey

Michael Seidel’s D’var Yom Kippur Afternoon : Leḥ-Lḥa 2018 Dvar Torah

Some older Jewish Journeys  and sermons:

From Richard Curtis :  Jewish Journey RC      Reflections on Ki Teitzei (002)
Mark Lembersky Jewish Journey (presented 2005): Mark Lembersky’s Jewish Journey
From Phil Bereano: