JTS Ordination/Investiture Address 22 Iyar 5777 / 5.8.2017

In April of 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick published an article in the journal Nature describing the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA. This molecule of life was arranged in a double helix structure comprised of four nucleotides symbolized by the letters A, T, C and G. Aided by the photographs and analysis of…

Emor 5777: Do Kabbalistic Intentions Add or Detract from the Omer?

The Mishnah famously proclaims that one must not stand to pray unless they have first focused their mind (M. Brakhot 5:1). Curiously, the Talmud pairs this instruction with a similar rule not to separate from a friend except with the proper focus of mind (B. Brakhot 31a). The Sages daringly compare the encounter of a…

Aharei Mot-Kedoshim 5777: Loving all Life, from Humans to Plants

If you want my nomination for the top phrase of the Torah, it would clearly be Leviticus 19:18b, “Love your neighbor as yourself, I am the Lord.” The Torah’s core message is that we are responsible for one another because we share one Creator. God brings us into being, and God demands that we take…