Showing posts from July, 2014

Throwing the Moon a Party

(This is a reworking of a midrash as a children's story written for 'Shabbatots', Sinai Synagogue's Early Years Education) 
Throwing the Moon a Party – a Short Story Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz 
Long, long ago, when God created the Sun and the Moon on the fourth day of Creation, God made them both very, very beautiful. Both were very round, very bright and very, very large. The Sun and Moon lived in the sky and they worked together very well and were best friends. 
The Sun worked hard to shine on the earth by day. Because of him, plants and crops could grow so people could eat and the Earth was bright and warm. People loved the sun. Who doesn’t love a warm summer day? (Especially in Winter!) 
The Moon also worked very hard to shine on the Earth by night. Because of her, people could find their way in the dark to go home to sleep. No-one bumped into each other and no-one got lost in the middle of the night! People felt safe. The night is a special time to share stories …

Holding onto Humanity

Parashat Mattot  Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz 
Holding onto Humanity
I knew that this day would come: the day that I would have to give a sermon that I dread giving. A sermon that is uncomfortable, difficult, confrontational. And not just in a theoretical but in a very real way, through polarizing opinion and lived experience. 
It would be tempting to hide from the stuff that provokes strong emotions: anger, hopeless, judgment, helplessness, revenge, nihilism, perhaps even hate. It certainly is tempting to focus on the innocuous parts of this week’s reading, or go straight to the Haftarah. Just like it is tempting to switch off the TV and the computer and to bin the newspaper.  Although that would be the safe choice, it may not be the appropriate one. Sometimes we have to dive into the painful conversations. When the world around us is in turmoil, silence fails to show the moral courage that our tradition demands of us. 
I came home Thursday night from teaching the Intro to Judaism programme…