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From Rabbi Justin David: Letter Regarding Events in the Middle East

05/11/2021 11:10:49 PM


“Sha’alu Shalom Yerushalayim, Seek the Peace of Jerusalem…”

Psalms, 123: 6


Dear Friends,


My most basic, human response to the violence in Jerusalem, in Gaza, and numerous cities within Israel  is heartbreak.  In the face of lives lost, pervasive fear, dreams broken and rage unleashed, a...Read more...

From Rabbi David: Supporting Irida

03/31/2021 09:44:04 PM


Dear Friends, 


In the midst of Passover, we hope that the connections you were able to make and the discussions you were able to have at your seders turned your attention to how we bring healing to the world and make z'man cherutenu, the Season of our Freedom, a daily practice and living reality. 


Today we learned that after nearly three years since Irida Kakhtiranova sought and received sanctuary at...Read more...

From Rabbi David: Study the Torah of Reparations

03/31/2021 11:00:14 AM


Dear Friends,


I am very excited to share that I will be teaching a 5-session series on Reparations and Jewish Tradition, Sundays at 10:00 AM, April 11 - May 9.  


These sessions will explore the sources that people are look to for guidance in response to the call from the Black community and communities of color generally to compensate victims of slavery and systemic racism in our society.  Drawing on...Read more...

From Rabbi David - Passover Resources for You

03/18/2021 06:36:35 PM


Dear Friends,

Here we are, in the first week of Nisan, and so it’s time to take those first steps toward Z’man Cherutenu, the Season of Liberation.  I hope by now you have seen our set of programs for Passover, including pre-Seder workshops as well as a range of programming on and around the days of Passover.  This letter is more about preparing, with some resources to help you set the stage for this deeply meaningful...Read more...

From Rabbi David - Stop Asian Hate

03/17/2021 06:17:35 PM


Rabbi Justin David

Dear Friends,

I know you join me in the sense of horror over the murders in Atlanta that left 8 people dead, 6 of whom were of Asian descent.  If you have read about this tragedy, you have also read how this incident reflects an alarming rise against Asian-Americans generally.

According to Stop AAPI Hate, there have been nearly 3800 incidents against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in the past year. ...Read more...

From Rabbi David - Thoughts on Sacred and Enduring Justice

01/07/2021 03:32:29 PM


Dear Friends,

This morning, I was moved by a Facebook post by Sheryl Gay Stolberg, a longtime Washington correspondent for the Times, who spoke of yesterday’s violence as trampling on the “sacred space” of our Capitol.  Stolberg didn’t specify how or why the Capitol is sacred, but she enumerated her closeness to the grandeur of the building itself, the dramatic moments she has spent there, and perhaps most...Read more...

From Rabbi David - Supporting Martin Luther King Community Presbyterian Church

12/29/2020 04:25:51 PM


Dear Friends,

By now, you may have heard of the devastating fire at the Martin Luther King Community Presbyterian Church in Springfield.  The church is a predominantly Black church, and the fire is being investigated by city, state and federal agencies.  According to several news reports, it has not yet been determined whether this fire was an act of arson or a hate crime.

I have reached out to the church directly as well as...Read more...

From Rabbi David - Study Economic Inequality in the Bible with Professor Joel Kaminsky

12/16/2020 04:42:33 PM


Dear Friends,

I am very excited that Professor Joel Kaminsky will teach a 4-session series beginning January 12 on Wealth and Poverty in the Hebrew Bible.  This mini-course will focus on both legal and prophetic texts that explore the creation of wealth, inequities between rich and poor and visions of a just society.  Joel is the Morningstar Professor of Bible at Smith College, and as anyone who has taken his courses will tell you,...Read more...

From Rabbi David - Talmud Text for Shabbat Study - Tamar's Revelation and Hanukkah

12/11/2020 03:33:29 PM


Shalom Friends,

Here is the link to tomorrow's Talmud study.  Tomorrow is Hanukkah, so in addition to our usual morning prayers beginning at 9:30, we'll also chant Hallel as part of the holiday.  That means our study will begin a little bit later - closer to 10:15 than our usual 10:00.

Also, I apologize for no video d'var Torah...yet!  Hopefully, I'll be able to record and send something after Shabbat.

Finally,...

From Rabbi David - Thoughts on Hanukkah and Community

12/10/2020 01:07:59 PM


Dear Friends,

This year, I am thinking about how Hanukkah reckons with the past to guide us toward a future shaped by our yearnings for justice, wonder, and the depth of human connection.

It seems that the Rabbis knew that the original story of Hanukkah was too fraught to stand on its own as the foundation for a sacred and celebratory holiday. The triumph of the Maccabees in the original text in the Aprocrypha, while...Read more...

From Rabbi David - Video D'var Torah - From Enemy to Friend

12/04/2020 01:59:03 PM


Dear Friends,

Here is my video d'var Torah for this week, inspired by Rabbi Amy Eilberg and her book, From Enemy to Friend: Jewish Wisdom and the Pursuit of Peace.  A few of us at CBI have the great privilege of calling Rabbi Amy Eilberg our friend, and she actually visited CBI about 6 years ago and shared her Torah of peacebuilding over Shabbat and during our first season of CBI Cafe.

If you're intrigued by something in...

Talmud Texts for Tomorrow - De-Othering Esau

11/20/2020 02:20:50 PM


Shalom Hevre,

Rabbi Jacob and I are switching off week to week now so that we both have the great privilege of teaching and connecting through these conversations.

Here are tomorrow's sources.  They are a piece of Talmud and a midrash on "De-Othering" Ishmael and Esau.  When such marginzalization lives on and flourishes in our tradition, it creates all kinds of disturbing moral consequences, which is why finding examples of...Read more...

Latest Video D'var Torah - Chayyei Sarah

11/17/2020 05:54:42 PM


Shalom Friends,

Here is last week's video d'var Torah.  Sorry it's several days late - I found it a little challenging to get it out before Shabbat, but here's hoping I can get them to you earlier in these winter months especially.

Chodesh Tov - it's Rosh Chodesh Kislev and we had a lovely, if chilly, minyan in person this morning, along with about another 9-10 people streming in.  Hanukkah of course is in a little more than...Read more...

This Week's Video D'var Torah

11/06/2020 04:24:07 PM


Shalom Friends,

Getting this just under the wire - this week's video D'var Torah - hope it gets to you in time.  

The basic idea: the Torah ushers in a social revolution that says the "Other" is Us!

Shabbat Shalom,


Rabbi Justin David


Important Message from Rabbi Justin David and Rabbi Riqi Kosovske

11/06/2020 01:28:53 PM


Rabbi Justin David

Dear Friends,

This morning, we learned from the Northampton Police Department that three stickers were placed on a building in downtown Northampton.  All stickers had the tag “NSC 131 Zone,” which is code for the...Read more...

From Rabbi David - Join us Tonight for Erev Election Gathering - Prayer, Reflection, Song

11/02/2020 11:43:14 AM


Dear Friends,

Join us tonight for an Erev Election Gathering tonight at 7:00 to remind us of the inherent hope of human solidarity in community.

We'll pray a little (simple Ma'ariv with Sh'ma and Amidah), reflect a little (on a text TBD), and sing a bunch.  The entire gathering should be an hour or so. 

Absolutely all are welcome and look forward to seeing you there!  


Rabbi Justin...

From Rabbi David - Erev Election Gathering; D'var Torah; Reflections on Hope and Community

10/30/2020 04:23:11 PM


Dear Friends,

A couple of days ago, the New York Times ran over two pages “The Anxious Person’s Guide to the 2020 Election.”  Whatever any of us is feeling in the moment, and however much we are working to get out the vote or making efforts to vote ourselves, I imagine that each of us has had our difficult moments.  

At different times in my life when I have experienced the kind of anxiety that has affected...Read more...

From Rabbi David - Turning to Transformative Thinkers, D'var Torah for Noah, Looking to Tikva Frymer-Kensky

10/23/2020 05:37:26 PM


Shabbat Shalom Friends,

Here is my video d'var Torah for this week, Noah: Revolution and Moral Vision, In Honor of Tikva Frymer-Kensky, z"l.  Frymer-Kensky, who died in 2006, was a towering scholar of the Bible and the Ancient Near East, and I draw from her book, In the Wake of the Goddesses.  I also highly recommend her book, Reading the Women of the Bible, which I will draw on again in a couple of weeks.

For more...

From Rabbi David - Taking Care: Learning, Reflecting, Discussion and Planning for End of Life

10/22/2020 08:37:45 PM


Dear Friends,

I am very much looking forward to the deeply meaningful learning and conversations we will have with our 6-week program beginning this Sunday, “Taking Care: Learning, Reflecting, Discussion and Planning for End of Life.”  I am especially grateful to Rabbi Nancy Flam for conceiving and designing this program, which we both hope provides a needed and helpful service to our community.

The first three...

From Rabbi David - Turning to Transformative Thinkers, D'var Torah for a New Year

10/16/2020 02:51:18 PM


Dear Friends,

As we begin Parashat Beresheet, the beginning of Genesis, I am committing to a year of teaching in which I center the voices of thinkers who, in the words of the groundbreaking feminist Judith Plaskow, mine texts and ideas to bring about transformative change.  Most of these thinkers will be Jewish feminists, while some may not necessarily identify themselves as feminists or as Jewish.  But all will share a vision that...Read more...

Thu, May 13 2021 2 Sivan 5781