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Learning Before Shavuot

May 31, 2022


Rabbi Nathan Martin

Friends, at our community seder this year right before we counted the Omer, the period that marks our transition from the liberation of Pesah to the receiving of Torah on Shavuot, I asked each participant to consider one piece of learning they wanted to take on in the next 49 days, a way of learning Torah to be ready to receive Torah. I also offer this as a blessing to you all and invite you to consider taking on a practice or learning a new...Read more...

Ending Our Spiritual Drought

September 1, 2021


Rabbi Nathan Martin

"Our Creator, Our Sovereign"

In studying the High Holiday liturgy with Rabbi Elie Kaunfer last year, I explored the origin of the Avinu Malkeinu prayer, one of the highlights of the High Holiday liturgy. The final verse of the prayer reads, “Our Creator, our sovereign, be gracious with us and respond to us, for we have no deeds to justify us; deal with us in righteousness and love, and save us now (Kol Haneshama Mahzor...Read more...

The Torah of Transitions

July 1, 2021


I recently listened to a fascinating radio program that focused on a person who was able to listen to and follow four symphonies playing at the same time! This carries multi‐tasking to a new extreme!

This idea of holding and following multiple pushes and pulls at the same time also reflects a bit of our current reality. On the one hand we are still in the midst of a pandemic in our country and are still contending with systematic...Read more...

A Teaching From Dr. King

July 1, 2020


At this moment of vulnerability and dislocation and time when racism and other oppressions are more apparent in our country, I offer this brief teaching by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, "Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never...Read more...

Joseph's journey: Reflecting on our core values during Hanukkah

December 1, 2019


Rabbi Nathan Martin

This month we begin the Joseph saga at the end of Genesis. Joseph, forced by unforeseen circumstances, immigrates to a new land where he starts off at the very bottom of the socio-economic ladder (as a slave) and manages with unseen Divine intervention and some of his own gumption to wend his way into the halls of power. A quintessential “court Jew” (before that term existed) Joseph both mediates and enforces Pharaoh’s power and...Read more...

Opening Our Eyes on Rosh Hashanah

October 15, 2019


Rabbi Nathan Martin

This is Rabbi Nathan's Rosh Hashanah sermon (day 1).  May you appreciate it as much as our congregation did. 
-Webmaster, Congregation Beth Israel of Media

Shanah Tovah,

In the center of the unsettling Torah reading we read today we find the character of Hagar. Subject to Sarah’s capriciousness she is unceremoniously cast out in the desert. Hagar - whose name literally means “migrant” Hebrew - is only...Read more...

A Time of New Beginnings

October 1, 2019


Rabbi Nathan Martin

This year, October is our time of new beginnings. We immerse ourselves in the holidays and begin the new year. We begin a new cycle of Torah reading. We have spent many hours together in community, working hard to create a spiritual container for both more somber reflection and active joy. And we emerge, hopefully, refreshed - albeit a bit more tired - ready to start anew with a fresh slate.

As we prepare ourselves to move through...

Intentions for 5780

August 30, 2019


I write this note as we emerge from the sadness of the 9th of Av to the weeks of consolation as we move toward the new year. This year on 9 Av I joined hundreds of other Jews from Philadelphia to stand vigil against the treatment of immigrants and people seeking asylum from violence in their home country.

My hope for the coming year is that we begin the new year with an intention to:

• Stay deeply connected to each other, to...

Bringing Our Moral Voice Into the Public Square

July 1, 2019


Rabbi Nathan Martin

When King David had Uriah the Hittite killed on the battlefield so that David could take Bathsheva to be his wife, the prophet Nathan told the king a parable of a rich man who takes a poor man’s only sheep and slaughters it to entertain his guests. After hearing the story “David burned with anger against the man” and said “the man who did this deserves to die!” Nathan the prophet responds, “You are the man!”

The...

Uplifted and excited about the future

January 1, 2019


Rabbi Nathan Martin

I still can feel the joyful energy as I joined a chain of a hundred other smiling dancers while we snaked our way through the aisles of the Double Tree hotel conference room and belted out Lekha Dodi along with the 500+ Reconstructionist davveners for the Friday night service. This is one image I will hold onto from the Reconstructing Judaism convention - an image that helps me to remember that we are indeed part of a larger...Read more...

Fri, June 21 2024 15 Sivan 5784