Category Archives: Gratitude

A year-end message from Rabbi David Levin

Thank you for your support. Since our launch, Jewish Relationships Initiative has connected with thousands. It is an astounding number and I am deeply gratified that our message of Helping Seekers find Meaning using Jewish Wisdom has been successful for so many. But we have so much more to do. It is an ongoing process. New people are always welcome to connect so they can continue on their journey. Veterans of our site come and go as they find the need. Jewish Relationships Initiative is committed to the personal connections we make and the connections we make to community.

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Todah M’rosh,

Rabbi David

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving.

This is an interesting year indeed. It seems that each day brings new issues testing us in new and often uncomfortable ways. However, this Thursday is Thanksgiving. Let us take time to celebrate our many blessings. For many of us enjoy a bounty. Try to use this time to gather loved ones, families and friends, and recognize the many reasons you have to be grateful.

Let us also use the time to acknowledge we have a long way to go on the journey to fully realize the values that guide us. For there are too many in our country who do not fully enjoy all of its blessings. This is the time to rededicate our efforts to make this a kinder, gentler and fairer place for all.



Happy Fourth of July

Celebrate the 4th of July!

Today is a celebration. Barbecues, Beaches (even in NJ) and Booms (I mean fireworks, but I was going for alliteration). Enjoy this day. It is more than a tribute to our independence, it is a proclamation of values that have made this country the envy of people throughout the world.

So as you consume the food and participate in the festivities of the day, remember that we are a nation founded upon extraordinary principles. We have so much more work to do both here and in the world to extend those principles to everyone yearning to breathe free. So today let us rededicate ourselves to the amazing idea this nation represents.

Happy Fourth of July!

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!

Daylight Savings Shabbat

Persistence of Memory-Dali

Persistence of Memory-Dali

We turn back the clock this weekend. The extra one hour of sleep isn’t such a big deal, I thought I would be much more excited if we were turning it back by about 20 years. But that is not the case. In fact, trading the past twenty years for the experiences during that time is not something I would do. I like who I have been becoming (I am still a work in progress) and the past twenty years have been an integral part of getting here.

Without those twenty, I likely would not be a rabbi nor would I be married to my wife Naomi, to name just two wonderful things that help define me now. The period was not without struggle and real challenges in all aspects of life, but these challenges also helped to shape me into the person that I am today. Today, I wish perhaps that the ground was not so far away when I drop things, or my arms did not have to be so much longer to read things, or that there was more hair to comb. But the blessings I enjoy I wouldn’t trade for any of those (although the hair makes me briefly pause).

So I come to this Shabbat with a sense of gratitude for what I have and I will use that extra hour to catch up on some sleep after a long workweek and a Saturday night spent with my wife.

Shabbat Shalom!

Remembering our Teacher Dr. Borowitz

rabbi-eugene-b-borowitz-dhl-eddLike so many other of his students, I mourn the loss of our teacher Rabbi Dr. Eugene Borowitz. An extraordinary thinker, he pressed all of us to critically examine modern Judaism. His moving eulogy by Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Ph.D., is an eloquent tribute.

We all have stories about our interactions with Dr. Borowitz and his influence upon us. I am no exception. One of the great gifts he has left me was the moment when he stood up among us a few short years ago and reversed his position on gays in the rabbinate. He had long-held fast to his considered and principled position, but after continued reflection, that day he rose from his chair and said simply, “I was wrong.”

The ability of a man of such stature to publicly recant his position was a testament to him and an extraordinary lesson for us. I was deeply moved by his change of heart. I also learned profound lessons that day on humility and our ability to continue to grow and push boundaries and not rest on laurels or reputation.

We will all miss Dr. Borowitz greatly.

Zichrono Livrachah, May his memory be for a blessing.

Thanksgiving Gratitude

thanksgiv-dayHappy Thanksgiving.

With all the troubling things out there, let us all take a moment to recognize the many blessings we have. On this wonderful day that celebrates our bounty let’s find room to be thankful for what we have and resolve to share with those less fortunate in the year ahead.

The gift of our presence to another person is among the greatest presents we can share. Give to the cause that supports others and makes your heart feel gladness and deepen relationships with those around you.

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!