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07/01/2022 11:43:34 AM


Join Rabbi Goldberg for a study session on Aug. 6

Before I go on sabbatical in July, I wanted to ask that you consider attending an 8 pm study session on August 6 (Saturday night) in the Moadon (in the Social Hall Building) at CBSW. There will not be any food or drink served, as this is a fast day in memory of the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. Many other tragic events occurred on the ninth of Av (Tisha b’Av), such as the...Read more...

06/21/2022 12:50:18 PM


A deeper purpose for sabbaticals

Last year the congregational leadership generously offered me to take this coming month of July as a sabbatical. I graciously accepted even though I don’t like sabbaticals. I enjoy working! Nevertheless, I know some time to read, think, and reflect is important. First, it brings perspective. Second, some deeper study can occur. And third, it prepares one for the day when there will not be any work to do. We rabbis are especially sensitive...Read more...

06/16/2022 09:18:51 AM


Pride Shabbat

This Saturday we will have a minyan service from 9 - 10 am in the sanctuary. I know the schedule changes each week, but this is by design as we are trying to find out what people want for Shabbat observance. The service this week will feature informal singing, prayers, Torah reading, and Torah study. Please consider joining!

Additionally, this Friday night, as I mentioned last week, will be a pride Shabbat as we mark how much the...Read more...

06/07/2022 09:55:21 AM


“Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore!”

Being from Kansas, I have always identified myself with the 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz. I grew up watching it on TV and was extremely frightened by the witches. I then loved the musical Wicked and in general, the story continues to enchant me. The Jewish summer camp I attended as staff and faculty is in the small town of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. I was surprised to learn that the world premiere of the film, The Wizard of Oz, was held in the...Read more...

05/31/2022 02:53:22 PM


Celebrating Shavuot

Three years in as your rabbi, I am still enjoying some experiences in person with you for the first time. For instance, this Saturday night, June 4, will be the first in-person-gathering for the holiday of Shavuot. We will meet from 8-9:30 pm in the Moadon (Social Hall Building) for an informal study of the holiday and some delicious desserts. It is one of my favorite holiday activities of the year and I hope it will become one of yours as...Read more...

05/17/2022 04:16:23 PM


Jewish views on abortion and reproductive choice

This year the focus of these articles and our Tuesday Lunch and Learn events has been how the headlines and our ancient tradition meet. Today (Tuesday, May 17) will be the last Lunch and Learn until the fall. We will speak about Jewish views on abortion/reproductive choice. Please join us in the Moadon at noon. Here is a quick view:
The main statement of Rabbinic Judaism on the subject occurs in the Mishnah (Oholot 7:6). It is from ca....Read more...

05/10/2022 11:46:54 AM


The world asks a lot of us: Honest self-reflection

In Akron, Ohio, recently, a driver apparently decided that a "road closed" sign didn't apply to him (or her; news reports did not identify the motorist) and drove around the barriers only to end up stuck in a large patch of freshly poured concrete. Workers were able to extract the car and repair the roadway, but they advised the driver to get the concrete off the wheels and the underside of the car before it hardened. Police responded to the...Read more...

05/05/2022 04:15:37 PM


Israel's birthday

This week we celebrate the 74th birthday of Israel (on May 5). Israel is a place with many challenges but also many enchantments. Its importance to the Jewish people is growing, if not everywhere in the Jewish world, then at least in most places. I love Israel and I relish sharing it with others. This February, please consider joining me and Melanie, and Pastor Ed and Bev Robb of The Woodlands Methodist Church, as we travel together to...Read more...

04/26/2022 10:52:20 AM


Life can be heartbreaking as well as healing

Jon Batiste, the bandleader of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, won five 2022 Grammy Awards recently, more than any other artist, including one for album of the year (for We Are) and others for best American roots performance and song, best music video and best original score for visual media. 

In his acceptance speeches, Batiste said, "God gave us 12 notes [on the musical scale]. It's the same 12 notes that...Read more...

04/19/2022 01:03:28 PM


Our embrace of the past and our anxious awareness of the future

This Friday morning, we will conclude Passover with a festival service and Yizkor prayers. Memory is always associated with the holiday of Passover. Memory and death are part of a holiday in part because it is during holidays when we remember those no longer with us.
Malachy McCourt, the brother of the now more famous Frank, wrote in his own bestselling book, Monk Swimming, of a time he picked up an old man on the road during a...Read more...

04/12/2022 12:20:27 PM


Celebrating Passover

This week we celebrate Pesach, Passover. It will be my first in-person since moving to The Woodlands. How much we took for granted before March 2022! The Passover story reminds us that we should not take for granted many blessings, including freedom. Egypt is not only a political place. It is also a symbol of the enslavements that still bind us: fear, anxiety, and a general tendency toward cynicism. The antidote to such things is belonging to...Read more...

04/05/2022 01:38:41 PM


The question of how to live a good life

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. (The Book of Proverbs, 18:21)
The question of how to live a good life is at the heart of the book of Proverbs, a collection of timeless sayings. (Our final class this year on Proverbs is on April 12.)  One of the themes that runs throughout the book is the challenge of choosing our words wisely, such as the proverbs: "A soft answer...Read more...

03/29/2022 01:14:30 PM


Moving from burnout to hope

Greetings from California.

I am attending the first in-person meeting of Reform rabbis in three years. As with anything connected to the pandemic, the ability to be together as colleagues will never be taken for granted again! A general theme of the convention is helping rabbis deal with the stress these past two years have produced. We are far from the only group with such stress, and our issues are not nearly as bad as those in the...Read more...

03/22/2022 10:28:31 AM


How do we continue to live with faith

Thus the Eternal saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great work that the Eternal did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Eternal and believed in the Eternal and in his servant Moses. 

The Book of Exodus verses above, especially with the mention of "Egyptians dead on the seashore," show that the slavery in Egypt tragedy did not end slowly but...Read more...

03/15/2022 11:59:19 AM


Why is Purim so important to the Rabbis of old?

Soon it will be the holiday of Purim. We celebrated it early at CBSW due to spring break, but the actual date is Wednesday evening through Thursday. Purim is a strange holiday. It is considered “minor” in that it is not a pilgrimage festival like Passover. The book on which it is based, the Scroll of Esther, was almost omitted from the Jewish Bible. The story itself is problematic. God is never...Read more...

03/08/2022 03:38:38 PM


What might help to overcome hostility?

Genesis 27:46

Then Rebekah said to Isaac, "I am weary of my life because of the Hittite women. If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women such as these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be to me?" 

In the Bible, we know that Rebekah had planned to gain her husband Isaac's blessing for her favorite son, Jacob, but in so...Read more...

03/01/2022 05:42:01 PM


Are we doing enough to share our blessings with others?

Amos 6:4-6
Alas for those who lie on beds of ivory,
    and lounge on their couches,
and eat lambs from the flock,
    and calves from the stall;
who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp,
    and like David improvise on instruments of music;
who drink wine from...

01/25/2022 05:25:08 PM


What does it take to build a world with love?

The Hebrew word Chesed is notoriously difficult to translate. Dissertations have been written on it. The word is related to Chasid (disciple) but only tangentially. It is often translated as lovingkindness. But what exactly does that mean? We are told in the Talmud that the world in part exists because of Gemilut Chasadim, surely a related term. But, again, what is it to say, “acts of lovingkindness?” Who gets to define what acts? The...Read more...

01/11/2022 05:23:22 PM


Promoting the values of mutual respect and kindness: Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This week we celebrate Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. An important and very timely lesson we can learn from Dr. King was his commitment to civility toward all. Dr. King taught us that violence should never be the means used to establish the ends of peaceful coexistence. Not only is violence and incivility harmful to society. It also defeats the purpose of our collective efforts.  As he himself...Read more...

11/23/2021 05:22:11 PM


Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving season

You may remember that early in the pandemic (on March 10, 2020, to be more specific), members of a chorale in Washington state, in a county where Covid-19 had not yet reared its ugly head, decided to have their usual practice even though the virus was killing people in Seattle, about an hour away. Most people, including medical professionals, were not yet aware that Covid was spread easily by aerosols, which includes microscopic...Read more...

11/02/2021 05:21:03 PM


This Friday night (November 5) at our 7:30 p.m. worship service (in the sanctuary) we will observe our annual recognition of Kristallnacht and the Torah scroll we have the honor to use and cherish. By gathering to pray we make a statement that the Jewish people and Judaism itself survives and thrives. I will be speaking about Dara Horn’s controversial new book: PEOPLE LOVE DEAD JEWS: Reports from a Haunted Present. Horn is unstinting in her...Read more...

10/26/2021 05:20:17 PM


November is National Jewish Book Month. As a congregation I am asking that we read the following book and meet to discuss it in person on November 17, at 730 pm at the CBSW Social Hall. The book is Micah Goodman’s The Wondering Jew: Israel and the Search for Jewish Identity. This recent book is already considered a masterpiece. Goodman tackles the religious-secular divide in Israel (and the world), showing how different Jewish denominations...Read more...

10/19/2021 05:19:08 PM


Occasionally this column will offer reflections on the ways that ancient biblical insights offer perspective on current events. In the news these days is the attempt of three Supreme Court justices to argue that, irrespective of opinion polls, they are not making decisions based on political opinions.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer and Amy Coney Barrett recently argued...Read more...

10/08/2021 05:17:50 PM


Here’s hoping that the Covid numbers continue to go down and our opportunities to restore our community ascend! To that end, we have some upcoming – but safe – events planned. They include of course our Friday night 730 pm worship but also tonight’s 730 pm monthly class on the wisdom of the biblical book Proverbs. You will be amazed at how relevant this 3,000-year-old advice is for us today. On November 2 we will have our next...Read more...

10/05/2021 05:16:02 PM


Dear CBSW Members:

I am hoping that the year ahead will be a great and healthier one for us all. Of the many regrets I have had during this pandemic one has been the lack of ability for us to get to know each other better. I know we cannot make up for lost time, but I do hope that going forward we can begin to correct this misfortune. To that end, I am offering in the weeks ahead to buy you coffee (or tea). The usual place will be the...Read more...

01/26/2021 05:14:21 PM


A Lesson from Mt. Everest

At 29,028 feet high, Mt. Everest’s weather is seldom ideal for long, but the longest windows for ascent normally occur in the spring, from late March to the first week in June. This means that all those who want to climb the highest real estate on earth need to make their attempts within that timeframe. The extended time near the summit also increases the likelihood that people will succumb to other...Read more...

01/19/2021 05:13:24 PM


A few months ago there was a certain airplane flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles.  Like many flights these days, there was a delay.  To make matters worse, after the flight took off there was an unexpected stop in Sacramento.  The flight attendant told the passengers they were permitted to exit the plane for thirty minutes.  Everybody left the plane except one blind man.  He patiently...Read more...

01/18/2021 05:24:13 PM


Shaphan the secretary informed the king, "The priest Hilkiah has given me a book." Shaphan then read it aloud to the king. When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes. 2 Kings 22:10-11

In the Bible there is a dramatic tale of the King of Judah being presented with a scroll that had been hidden for many years and was now discovered. Although the term "time capsule" doesn't appear anywhere in the...Read more...

11/17/2020 05:12:31 PM


During a Thanksgiving season many years ago, a certain general of the Salvation Army decided to send greetings to every unit scattered across the world. Since cable rates were very expensive, the general was forced to confine his message to a single word. The general spent many minutes deciding which word to send. What would best express the spirit and challenge of Thanksgiving? Finally, after deep thought, he made...Read more...

11/10/2020 05:10:40 PM


Georgene Johnson lived in Cleveland, Ohio.  She was 42 years old and she was trying to have a good attitude about being 42 years old.  And so she started running and exercising to keep in shape. She said, “I’m not going to look like I am 42, or at least I am going to look like a good 42.”

She did well in her running. She was running farther every day. She thought...Read more...

Fri, August 19 2022 22 Av 5782