Rabbi Steven Schwartz's blog

May 9, 2013

Thu, 05/09/2013 - 2:05pm -- Rabbi Steven Sc...

Jewish Math

With the High Holy Days coming in ‘early’ this year (Rosh Hashanah begins the evening of September 4th!) we are already beginning our billing cycle at the synagogue.  This always reminds me of how expensive it is to belong to a shul.  For a membership that includes High Holy Day seats for two it is not uncommon that a family is asked to pay somewhere in the area of $2,000 dollars - not chump change by any means, and a serious financial consideration for many families.

March 15, 2013

Fri, 03/15/2013 - 11:33am -- Rabbi Steven Sc...

My Crazy Jobs

Before I was a rabbi, I worked as a counselor in a mental health organization that helped people transition from the State Hospital environment back out into the community. When I tell people that they often jokingly say ‘that must have been good preparation for the rabbinate!’ There is some truth to that idea, because at the end of the day the counselor business and the rabbinate are both focused on people, and being sensitive to their needs, hopes, and dreams.

January 21, 2013

Mon, 01/21/2013 - 4:07pm -- Rabbi Steven Sc...
Ravens Fever

I always say that when the Ravens are doing well, it is good for the synagogue business, and right now the Ravens are doing about as well as any team could possibly do. We are in the two week wait period between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl, and Baltimoreans are beyond excited that the Ravens will be playing in their first Super Bowl since they won the championship in the 2000 season.

November 27, 2012

Tue, 11/27/2012 - 2:54pm -- Rabbi Steven Sc...

Recent discussions about prayer in the Conservative Movement have revolved around four ‘pillars’ as suggested by JTS Chancellor Arnie Eisen: community, study, music, and silence. From the pulpit side of this discussion, I would like to add two pragmatic pieces to the discussion, namely time and space.

November 16, 2012

Fri, 11/16/2012 - 2:50pm -- Rabbi Steven Sc...

The 2012 election was an interesting one from a Jewish perspective. Traditionally (at least over the last half century or so) the Jewish community votes the Democratic ticket at a rate of %70 or higher, with a few exceptions here and there. When President Obama was elected the first time around, the Jewish vote for him was right around %80. The question about the 2012 election was would his support in the Jewish community erode given some of the rhetoric about his administration’s stance on Israel and Israel related issues.

November 8, 2012

Thu, 11/08/2012 - 12:00am -- Rabbi Steven Sc...

The best known prayer in Judaism is the Shema Yisrael, the one sentence statement of monotheistic faith and its accompanying paragraphs. The Shema is probably the oldest and arguably the greatest of all Jewish prayers. Many Jews know the first line and the following paragraph by heart, and it is the Shema that we recite with our children before they go to bed at night. 

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