Monthly Archives: November 2016

Giving Tuesday- The day-after Challenge

givetuesday_700xOn Giving Tuesday, almost everyone in the philanthropic world asked for your financial support. Giving money is extremely important, but enduring change requires great effort we cannot relegate only to others. Permanent change requires each of us to roll up our sleeves and get involved.

I remember when I decided to get back into shape; buying the treadmill was not enough, working out on the treadmill created the change I sought. Learning the piano required time at the keyboard learning and practicing, not merely buying the instrument. Dieting required a fundamental change in how I approach food, not simply a weeklong restriction on the intake. Philanthropy is likewise.

To create real change in the world, we need to give money to the causes we believe in but also help to implement the changes we hope to see. For too long we have sloughed off the real work of change to the professionals. By providing the financial support we thought we had fulfilled our responsibility. However, there is more to do. Success comes when change becomes the new normal. This is an organic process, from the bottom up. Change is rarely sustainable when it is imposed from the outside. The new normal only happens when we all embrace it as our own.

So I hope you gave generously on Giving Tuesday because your financial support makes the work possible. Now commit to giving of yourself as well to that cause you believe in so the work becomes a reality. We are the change we want to see. It cannot happen without each of us.

 

Shabbat Shalom on a special Shabbat

 Shabbat gefilte

This Shabbat is a specially designated Shabbat. On the Jewish calendar it is Shabbat Mevorach, the Shabbat preceding Rosh Chodesh. For American Jews this is also Shabbat Gefilte (stuffed), the Shabbat after Thanksgiving.

Last night Naomi and I had the great joy of being with my sister’s family and friends. The company was wonderful; I do not get to see her or her great family nearly enough and her friends were lovely. We gathered around a festive table and feasted on all kinds of delicious food. Great conversation great food. It was a Thanksgiving filled with blessings.

Today I am hitting the exercise room hard. And tonight I will welcome Shabbat. I hope that each of you were able to have a meaningful Thanksgiving.  Wishing everyone Shabbat Shalom.

Happy Thanksgiving

thanksgiv-dayA simple Thanksgiving message

I invite us all to take a moment to express gratitude this Thanksgiving Day for the blessings we share.

Eat a lot, watch the parades, watch football, and be with family and friends.

Our country remains among the greatest on earth. We still have much work to do to bring the full blessings of America to all Americans. Now is the time for each of us to figure out what we need to do to make this a reality, to roll up our sleeves and rededicate ourselves to the values that make America great. Perhaps, Black Friday is the day for us to do that. But on Thursday, take the time to enjoy and share with others.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Constancy in the face of Change

safetypinThe election has many of us anxious, unsure of what will happen to us next, fearful that strides we have made will be stripped away.

The ground did shift underneath us all last week. But the tremble did not cause us to fall. I am no different from who I was last week in the matters that count. Last week I stood tall, aspiring to create a nation of dignity, equality, opportunity, safety and security for all our citizens. This week I stand perhaps taller and more firmly in those ideals and values. There is a greater sense of urgency in my posture today, but this is a good thing. Our movement forward has never been easy. The fight for human rights and inclusion, a nation freer from prejudice, hatred and fear have been an ongoing struggle. But our commitment remains, our resolve undiminished even if the challenge might be greater.

Today I wear a safety-pin on my lapel to let people who are fearful know that they are not alone. As an American, a Jew, and a Rabbi, I stand with them and I will continue to do my part as an advocate, and that we continue to stand side by side. We march forward dedicated to bringing America’s blessings to all.

Joining hands we move forward together toward a brighter future. We are the change we envision.

 

An Open Letter to Jared Kushner

An Open Letter to Jared Kushner

Mr. Jared Kushner

Publisher

The Observer

1 Whitehall St.

New York, NY 10004

November 11, 2016

Dear Mr. Kushner:

Congratulations to you on the victory of your father-in-law becoming the President-Elect. The election was fair and the people have spoken. However, this election has left a deeply divided country, many of us fearful because of things Mr. Trump has said and the groups that allied with him. We must see the repudiation of racism and bigotry, and Donald Trump must extend the hand of peace and wholeness.

You have claimed that Donald Trump is not an Anti-Semite. However, his words of divisiveness preyed on the fearful and the hate mongers. Groups including the Alt-Right, White Supremacists, and the Ku Klux Klan have rallied to your father-in-law finding permission to boldly and blatantly express their despicable views. This cannot be abided.

You uniquely have the president-elect’s ear as a confidante and advisor. You must use your position to speak on behalf of those genuinely fearful of persecution and loss of civil rights under the protection of a Trump Administration. The values you hold as an American and a Jew are antithetical to hatred and bigotry. Your full-throated voice must be raised to help heal and bring our country together, re-assuring all our citizens they are safe, their civil rights intact and sure, that all of us enjoy the full protection of law and dignity.

Sincerely,

Rabbi David Levin

Shabbat Shalom-

This past week we lost an extraordinary poet and musician, Leonard Cohen.  Let us welcome this Shabbat with his incomparable “Hallelujah” The beautiful melody is joined with Lecha Dodi and performed by the Maccabeats.

Zichrono Livracha- thank you for your gifts to us, may your memory be a blessing and an inspiration.

Canadian singer and poet Leonard Cohen is pictured on January 16, 2012 in Paris. Leonard Cohen's new album "Old Ideas" will be released in France on January 30. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

Leonard Cohen (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

Shabbat Shalom