“Behold days are coming, says the Lord…and they shall rebuild.” From our Haftarah this Shabbat Amos 9:13
One night some years ago, two powerful Jewish men in media, one from New York and one from Los Angeles, were walking together through the streets of Jerusalem when they hatched a little idea.
I grew up in a home filled with food and love and laughter and music and Yiddishkayt and stories. I was the youngest of four kids and we were part of a tribe in Boro Park, Brooklyn, with my uncle Nat’s family living on the floor above us, my uncle Ruby’s family living next door to us, and my grandparents living above them. Nobody ever knocked on the door and nobody ever needed a key, everybody was always barging into everybody else’s home.
Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple is officially the top rabbi in America, according to Newsweek and the Daily Beast. The sixth annual installment of the “Top 50 Rabbis” list, published on April 2, included rabbis who head religious movements, rabbis who lead political and community organizations, and rabbis known for their scholarship and teaching.
Rabbi Naomi Levy has been hearing people speak variations of this phrase for years. Whether she met them at Nashuva, the Westside spiritual community she founded in 2004, at one of her many speaking engagements or just somewhere in her travels, Levy kept finding people who seemed to be enduring the day-to-day, waiting for something to happen so that their lives could begin.
Chasidic reggae and rap singer Matisyahu just released his fourth album, “Light” — his first full-length work in three years. He discussed his new music, God, spirituality, sex, drugs and Israel in a phone interview with Rabbi Naomi Levy, spiritual leader of Nashuva and author of “Talking to God” (Knopf, 2002) and “To Begin Again” (Ballantine Books, 1999).
But as much as she loves the pulpit, Naomi, like me, finds the modern synagogue problematic. She believes that Judaism offers people a sense of purpose, a mission to heal society and a fulfilling spiritual path, but that too often standard synagogue services don't attract or inspire Jews, much less compel them to commit to a community.
Reaching unaffiliated Boomers who begin to ponder midlife.