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Members' Teachings

We believe that every person has torah inside of them. SAJ members inspire us on the High Holidays and throughout the year with their wisdom, wit, and passion. We hope you find these talks as inspiring as we do.

Radical Love, Rosh HaShanah Day 2

Michael Davidson Much of what I am going to say was captured long ago by a sage of the Ewe people of Ghana. When night or day approach, do we know what is going to happen to us on either occasion? But whether we are in a stream or whether it is night, we are everywhere still in the world.  This is why we say that God is the world. Everything in the world is…

Radical Love, Rosh Hashanah Talk 2018

Donna Katzin Seventeen years ago today – 9-11-2001 – I wake up at 6:30 a.m. in Tucson to participate in a socially responsible investment conference.  As I get dressed, I turn on the TV, and see the image of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. A terrible movie to start the day, I say to myself…and then, soon after, another. I am jolted into horror.  It is true. And I cannot imagine the…

Whispers of Kadosh: Listening for the Holy A Kavanah for Rosh Hashanah

Liz Emens A friend I admire once told me that, when she goes through her days, she can hear a whisper that says “kadosh, kadosh, kadosh”—holy, holy, holy—in the everyday sounds around her. On a good day, I can hear this whisper too: in the slushing of tires through puddles in these city streets; in my children’s laughter; even in tiny sounds of my own breath when it’s quiet. I hear it more this time…

Malchuyot (Kingship) 2017

Written and presented by Lester Shane There is a moment in the theatre that always thrills me. The house lights go down. It is completely dark and absolutely silent. It is a moment of infinite possibility. Then the curtain goes up and standing in the light are actors. In the light they begin to reveal the truth of the text. I think God lives there. The play continues in dialogue with the audience. I think…

Rosh Hashanah: 2nd Day Talk

Rabbi Steve Gutow I was honored when Lauren asked me to give one of the three talks today—talks I have enjoyed greatly over the years given by others on Day 2. Part of the enjoyment was the fact that many of the speakers had not spoken much. When Lauren asked me to talk, she knew I had spoken in this shul as a rabbi. She said, “Steve, you are giving this not so much as…

Finding Hope and Inspiration: Rosh Hashanah Talk 2017

Jennifer Gerber Where do we find hope and inspiration? Our daughter Julianna is a 10-year-old cutie-pie with dark hair, bright grey-green eyes, and the softest fair skin. She does not walk or talk, she eats though a tube in her tummy, and breathes through a small hole in her neck. Our reality for the last ten years has been filled with multiple hospitalizations, medications, and surgeries for a condition that looks a lot like cerebral…

SAJ Rosh Hashanah Thoughts

Claire Ullman I don’t mean to brag, but I now have my own personal shofar. It lives inside my head. It took up residence inside me at the time of the presidential election. The actual shofar of the high holiday services rouses us to awareness and greater responsibility when we are here together, and then it leaves us alone. This other shofar – my personal shofar -- demands my attention every time there is breaking…

Hattan Torah Speech: Dan’s Crazy Judaism

Dan Woods, November 11, 2018 The title of this talk is “Dan’s Crazy Judaism.” My goal is to explain how my journey to greater participation and engagement in Judaism has progressed. In short, I simply want to tell you what Judaism means to me and what I am doing with it. The last time I was able to speak to SAJ as a whole was during the Rosh HaShanah talks a few years ago. At…

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