Graduation season reminds us that time moves forward inexorably. Rabbi Cosgrove teaches that even though it is human nature to resist change, we live best when we move forward with openness to becoming our best selves in whatever circumstances the future brings.
The story of Ruth, read on Shavuot, demonstrates the value of putting others’ needs above our own. Rabbi Cosgrove reminds us that our Jewish tradition teaches that we are not free to do whatever we please, but that living in society requires us to accept limits on our freedom.
What can the Torah teach us about facing the horrors and hatred we see in Buffalo and the world around us? Rabbi Witkovsky explores the injunction in Leviticus, “Do not wrong one another,” and implores us to stand up against hate wherever it is found.
What defines a life of k’dushah, of holiness? Responding to that ages-old question, Rabbi Cosgrove finds that a life of holiness includes both observance of ritual detail and commitment to ethical behavior, pride in the distinctions that set Jews apart and responsibility to all humanity.
How shall we remember the Holocaust? Rabbi Cosgrove teaches us both the pitfalls of remembrance and that memory should inspire us to live meaningful Jewish lives and to respond compassionately to present-day suffering of others.
The Passover seder asks us to not only think of the lives of our ancestors in Egypt, but to see ourselves “as if” we were there. So too when we recall the loved ones we have lost: We can think of them and their lives, reflecting on what they taught us and left for us. Rabbi Witkovsky introduces Yizkor with a memory of his beloved cousin Fran and asks us to examine how we recall our loved ones.
How do we show our loyalty to the Jewish state? Rabbi Cosgrove explores the reasons to sign or not to sign a recent rabbinic letter regarding the question of funding right-wing Israeli organizations.
The future of the Jewish community is threatened by a shortage of clergy, with not enough people choosing to become rabbis and too few rabbis choosing to serve congregations. We all have a role in addressing this pipeline problem.
Rabbi Cosgrove describes the heartbreaking, inspiring, and complicated moments of his recent trip to the Poland-Ukraine border. While acknowledging the complexity of the situation, he reminds us that we must also do whatever we can to provide relief.
The story of Esther hangs on the question of whether to reveal one’s identity in public no matter the consequences. In light of current events, Rabbi Cosgrove urges us to stand up for our values and to commemorate Purim with heroic generosity to aid the Jews, and all the people, of Ukraine.