Rabbi Dara Frimmer - Friday Night Shabbat Sermon 5780: Using the text of Chayyei Sarah, Rabbi Frimmer examines the ancient story of Abraham, Ephron the Hittite, and the first real estate transaction of the Torah. In light of Sec. of State Pompeo's announcement that Israeli settlements are not inconsistent with international law (and in a week in which PM Netanyahu was indicted and Benny Gantz announced he could not form a coalition gov't), our Torah and subsequent commentaries offer guidance as we prepare to engage with these issues in the week to come.
Rabbi Dara Frimmer - Rosh Hashana Day Sermon 5780: Noting historic tensions for the Jews as they move between strength and vulnerability, Rabbi Frimmer explores topics of antisemitism and immigration. “We are not stuck in a story of hate. We are the authors of the most ancient and inspiring story of liberation. A story that reminds us that transformation is possible. That slaves can become liberators. That weakness is a touchpoint for strength.”
Rabbi Dara Frimmer - Friday Night Shabbat Sermon 5779 - Each time the Jewish people have entered the land of Israel, from ancient times until now, there is a turning point in our collective history and identity. There is an unintended rupture within the community of Clal Yisrael: If Israel is now our home, what do we call the land outside of Israel in which Jews live? If Peoplehood is reborn in the land, by what name do we call our People who live outside her borders? On this Shabbat, Rabbi Frimmer examines the creation of the first Diaspora Jewish community as 2.5 tribes ask for permission to plant their roots on the West Side of the Jordan River while the rest of the Israelites prepare to enter the Promised Land.
Rabbi Dara Frimmer - Friday Night Shabbat Sermon 5779 - In the wake of missiles, op-eds, and Israel's Independence Day, Rabbi Frimmer asks us to turn away from the headlines and look to Torah as our guide. The Holiness code instructs us to rebuke that which is wrong and the wrongdoers. At the same time, we cannot take vengeance or bear a grudge.
"This is the Holiness Code. It’s not a mirror. It’s not who we are right now. It’s a window, asking us to look out and see what we might aspire to be. At times, we are so far from the society described in the Torah. Still, we keep these verses close at hand. We read them once a year on Shabbat. We return to them during the Mincha service of Yom Kippur. They are the guiding words as we consider the start of a New Year - how do we hope to live? What society do we hope to create?
And it doesn’t say: when under attack, discard the code."
Rabbi Frimmer - Friday Night Shabbat Sermon 5779 - During a Shabbat service with 2nd and 3rd grade families, the Pop-Up Choir, and Shabbat regulars, Rabbi Frimmer teaches on the "hidden" mitzvah of Purim tzedakah. How can the holiday of Purim move past cookies and costumes and teach us important lessons about generosity, dignity, and equality? Thanks to the congregants who shared answers and reflections to the following questions: What's Purim all about? How much tzedakah are we commanded to give? Why do we wear costumes?
Rabbi Frimmer - Friday Night Shabbat Sermon 5779 - This week’s Torah portion outlines the intricate designs of the Priestly garments, including golden bells along the hemline of the High Priest’s robe. Rabbi Frimmer explores ancient and modern examples of when/how alarm bells signal danger in the life of the Jewish people.
Rabbi Frimmer - Friday Night Shabbat Sermon 5779 - On Shabbat Va'era, Rabbi Frimmer examines Moses' struggle to lead the Israelites out of slavery, noting his early setbacks and deep disappointment. Drawing on the wisdom of Torah, Parker Palmer, Brene Brown, and popular advice for holding onto New Year's resolutions, this sermon connects the effort we all face to change and persevere, and offers the possibility that God and community may help us achieve all our goals, if only we would welcome them in.
Rabbi Frimmer - Friday Night Shabbat Sermon 5779 - Vayechi - he death of a loved one gives us a unique opportunity to do teshuvah -- a change in direction, a new behavior – an experience of forgiveness that was previously thought to be prohibited, unheard of, or unimaginable. But, death changes the rules.
Rabbi Frimmer - Friday Night Shabbat Sermon 5779 - Rashi, an 11th century Torah commentator, lays out the two sides of the Noah debate: There are those among the sages who view Noah positively. Certainly, had he been living in a generation of just individuals, he would have been more just. And, yet, others view him negatively. Had he been living in the generation of Abraham he would have been considered worthless.In other words, either we’re static in our growth, or we rise higher when those around us are reaching, as well. On this Shabbat of Parashat Noach, we need to refocus the story of Noah on the struggle *each one of us* encounters as we reach for righteousness, and not waste time on the question of whether we started out inherently virtuous. On this Shabbat, let us look to the possibility of newfound strength and capacity that can be discovered in community, rather than engage in the comparison and competition of who reaches higher.
Rabbi Frimmer - Friday Night Shabbat Sermon 5779 - In the emotional wake of the Ford-Kavanaugh hearings, Rabbi Frimmer shifts our focus from self to other, and offers the Lens of Sukkot to help us see those who live with impermanence, vulnerability, fragility, and exposure 24-7-365. Thanks to activist Dove Kent and congregant Jennifer Yashari for inspiring this post.
Rabbi Dara Frimmer - Rosh Hashanah Day 2 Sermon 5779 - Rabbi Dara Frimmer shares a provocative and timely teaching in the name of Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer, President of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, who first taught this idea during Hartman's Rabbinic Holiday Webinar, August 27, 2018. What if "sinners" are required for us to build 'true' community and to successfully elevate our prayers to God? Video of Dr. Kurtzer's full teaching for rabbis: www.youtube.com/watch?v=uda_blV0L…&feature=youtu.be
Sermon - Erev Rosh Hashanah 2018/5779
Rabbi Frimmer - Friday Night Shabbat Sermon 5778 - We need to reinvest ourselves in learning about Israel’s government, understanding who has power and how that power is sustained, and familiarizing ourselves with the non-profits that help to protect Israel’s democracy and create its democratic infrastructure. We need to pay closer attention to the struggles of non-Orthodox Jews in Israel, those looking for validation and legal permission to practice as they choose. It is unconscionable to tolerate a lack of tolerance for non-Orthodox Jewish identity in this supposed Jewish nation.
Rabbi Frimmer - Friday Night Shabbat Sermon 5778 - Parashat Pinchas - We’ve forgotten what it’s like to travel with allies without google maps calling out our next turn and giving us an estimated time for arrival. We’ve forgotten the importance of flexibility - being willing to use the tools and resources we have in the moment - the skills we are learning as we do the work -- and making decisions in real time as to what is required and how we want to act. The poet Audre Lorde’s wrote, “Sometimes we are blessed with being able to choose the time, and the arena, and the manner of our revolution, but more usually we must do battle where we are standing.” We must learn to do battle from the place we are in. Not the place we wish we were. Not the place we were in 2 years ago. Now. This place. This time. With these people. To show up and stand up and fight for more just and compassionate immigration policies...now. Even when we don’t know where we go next. The movement starts in the place where we stand.
Shabbat Chukat - 2018/5778