Articles and Divrei Torah

Author: Rabbi Michael Strassfeld
Shabbat Parashat Lekh L’kha Shabbat Experiement - Week 3
Shabbat Parashat Ḥaye Sarah - November 14, 2009 Shabbat Experiment - Week 5
Shabbat Parashat Vayera - November 7, 2009 Shabbat Experiment - Week 4
Shabbat Parashat Bereshit - October 17, 2009 Shabbat Experiment Week 1
Shabbat Parashat Noaḥ - October 24, 2009 Shabbat Experiment - Week 2
Shabbat Parashat Toldot - November 21, 2009 Shabbat Experiment - Week 6
Shabbat Parashat Vayetze - November 28, 2009 Shabbat Experiment- Week 7
What I Did on My Summer Vacation... or Sabbatical Rosh Hashanah 2010

In this talk, Rabbi Strassfeld outlines his ideas for what a synagogue can look like at this turning point of congregational life.

A Brief Guide to Jewish Liturgy Learning Project- Liturgy

Adapted from A Book of Life by Rabbi Michael Strassfeld, this is a brief guide to the service liturgy.

Challenges Facing Jews in the 21st Century Yom Kippur 5771 (2010)

Rabbi Strassfeld discusses moving from rabbinic Judaism to community Judaism.

Choose Life Yom Kippur-2004

This sermon discusses the meaning of the phrase "choose life." It tells people to choose a good way to live life.

Choosing Life High Holidays 2013
Hope Ma'ariv Rosh Ha-Shanah-2005

This sermon is about Rabbi Strassfeld being inspired after hearing talks by King Abdullah and Doug Suissman on the possibility for peace in the Middle East. Rabbi Strassfeld encourages people to bring hope into their own lives this new year.

Is this the fast I have chosen? Yom Kippur-2005

This sermon tells how people need to do both social action and also focus on their own life, too, and that it is possible to do. It discusses how to avoid feeling overwhelmed by how much there is to in the world.

Jewtocracy 1st day of Rosh Ha-Shanah-2003

This sermon discusses intermarriage and how different people approach it. It also talks about how Rosh Ha-Shanah should be about the whole world, not just Jews.

Kol Nidre 2013 Sermon Yom Kippur 2013
Prayer Kol Nidre 2009

This is the sermon delivered by Rabbi Michael Strassfeld on Kol Nidre, 2009.

Re-Sanctifying the World 1st day of Rosh Ha-Shanah-2005

This sermon discusses the role of God within Judaism, and what it means to live in two civilizations; American and Jewish. It also talks about making the world today sacred, and to celebrate the birthday of the world by making it a better place.

Rosh Hashanah Sermon 2012
Shiva Learning Project - Shiva

This document describes customs and rituals for a mourner and visitors.

Text of Rabbi Strassfeld's Teaching for Shabbat ha-Gadol Last service in the SAJ Sanctuary before its reconstruction

This teaching discusses the Torah's laws and the importance of Jewish ritual.

The Meaning Of It All Yom Kippur-2003

This sermon discusses how to make one's life more holy, and the goodness that comes out of being holier. It also discusses what being holy means.

The Open Society 1st day of Rosh Ha-Shanah-2006 Sermon

This sermon discusses the ways to perform Jewish practice in modern society. It also discusses SAJ's policy regarding intermarriage.

Themes of the High Holy Days Excerpts from "A Book of Life"

Excerpts from Rabbi Strassfeld's A Book of Life: Embracing Judaism as a Spiritual Practice.

We hold these truths to be self evident Yom Kippur-2006

In this sermon, Rabbi Strassfeld discusses his obvious truths, mother's death, his mother's purpose in life, and death itself. He also discusses the importance of community in the midst of death.

Who Knows One? Passover-2006

This prayer, which riffs off the Passover Seder's "Who Knows One" is about the genocide in Darfur and urges people to take action.

Why I am not a Conservative Jew: Part 2

This sermon discusses how the Conservative movement tries to look pluralistic while also trying to be traditional. It also discusses how the Conservative movement decides what its policies are on issues such as kashrut, and gay and women rabbis, and how much of these decisions are based on halakha. It also shows that the majority of the Conservative movement does not follow halakha.

Why I am not a Conservative Jew: Part 3

Rabbi Strassfeld talks about the fact that halakha is not followed by most Jews today, and how to make our modern oral torah.

Yom Kippur Family Service Sermon, 2009 Yom Kippur Family Service

Sermon delivered by Rabbi Michael Strassfeld in the 2009 Yom Kippur Family Service.

Yom Kippur Sermon 2012 Yom Kippur 2012
Zionism The 60th anniversary of the State of Israel

This sermon reflects on Zionism in general terms from a contemporary perspective; how it was started, who the leaders were, and what they wanted the Jewish state to be like. It also tells how to incorporate both Zionism and Jewish practice into our lives today.

Rabbi Joy Levitt
Rabbi Michael Strassfeld
The Akeda 2nd day of Rosh Ha-Shanah-2003

This sermon discusses why the Binding of Isaac story (from Genesis 21) is read on Rosh Hashanah. It dsicusses the merits of studying challenging texts.

Author: Carol Chinn
The Importance of Change in the Themes of the High Holy Days 2006 Rosh Hashanah

Framing her talk with a quote from Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, Carol Chinn speaks of the importance change and our need to never fall into thinking we cannot achieve it.

Author: Dan Woods
A Nerd's Journey To Judaism Rosh Hashanah Talk 2012
Author: Diane Cole
Invented the Bat Mitzvah, Rejected a Supernatural God Article in The Wall Street Journal

Invented the Bat Mitzvah, Rejected a Supernatural God, an article in The Wall Street Journal on the reprinting of the foundation philosophies of Reconstructionism.

Author: Jack Litman
Rosh Hashanah Talk 2009 given by Jack Litman Rosh Hashanah 2009
Author: Jerome Lowenstein
Jerome Lowenstein Rosh Hashanah Talk 2013
Author: Joel Shapiro
A Caring Community Tish on Bikkur Cholim Shabbat, April 9, 2011

SAJ member, Joel Shapiro's thoughts on what a caring community looks like and how we can become one.

Author: Kathy King Wouk
Kathy King Wouk Rosh Hashanah Talk 2012
Author: Nancy Slotnick
Nancy Slotnick Rosh Hashanah Talk 2013
Author: Office
2014 Mishloach Manot Paper Form Purim 2014
What is Mishloach Manot? Purim 2014
Author: Rabbi Joy Levitt
Our World (Still) Rests on Three Pillars: Torah, Avodah, and G'meelut Chasadim - Study, Worship, and Acts of Caring 2004 Reconstructing our Jewish Futures Series

Using the traditional from of study, worship, and acts of kindness, Rabbi Levett frames a Reconstructionist future that is framed by traditional Jewish values.

Author: Sam Merrin
Appreciating Kids, the Present Moment, and Accepting Responsibility Keys to Grown Up Happiness 2006 Rosh Hashanah

Sam Merrin describes a growing up process and how in the wake of an accident he was able to live more in the present, take on responsibility, and experience joy.

Author: Sara Held
Sara Jane Held Rosh Hashanah Talk 2013
Author: Steve Teich
To Alter the Status Quo Requires Deliberation and Struggle 2006 Rosh Hashanah

"It’s much easier to keep doing what you’re doing. But the process of change, like the process of repentance that these high holy days represent, requires one to understand what is unsatisfactory now, what would be better and why that change would be an improvement."

Author: Thomas Hartman
Thomas Hartman Rosh Hashanah Talk 2012