What Mystical Theology Teaches Us About Politics and Relationships

Israel will hold new elections on April 9th, and it promises to be one of the most interesting and potentially important referendums there in quite some time. Some new variables are the reason for this. The Israeli attorney general, after a year long investigation by the police, is moving forward with corruption charges against Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu.

Report from the Streets and the Flattery of Imitation

This is our third year running our Soup to the Streets program, originally called Guerrilla Compassion (Next month we will wrap up our services until Autumn 2020.). For three years, people have gathered in my home as we made a few hundred sandwiches and simmered ten gallons of soup. Over that time, we have distributed thousands of meals to our city’s unhoused one sandwich and one cup of a soup at a time.

Why My Cat Loves That I Am Jewish and Other Habits

Growing up, we always had to feed our dog before we could sit down to dinner. I thought it was just our family practice. One day when the family hound had turned five or so, and I was particularly hungry, I tried to eat something first. My mom stopped me and said that in Judaism, we are required to feed our animals before ourselves.

Jews on Mars! And why curiosity matters

Rabbi Kosak reflects on some scientific advances and space travel and ties those back to some interesting Jewish legal papers that address the ramifications of these new technologies and the possibility of humans living on other planets.

Good News

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been sharing my thoughts about what Conservative Judaism is, and how a fundamental feature of Jewish culture is our embrace of change. This week, I want to look at the movement through a sociological lens. After all, for more than a decade, pundits have spoken about the death of the Conservative movement.

The Secret of Jewish Survival

At a recent dinner I attended, our two rabbis emeritus discussed what Jewish life in Oregon was like 150 years ago. Those early settlers were courageous pioneers, and rabbis were hard to come by for a new congregation. Despite difficult beginnings, our ancestors built a home for future generations of Portland Jews.

On the Beat: My Day as a Cop

This past Wednesday, I spent the day at Portland’s police academy. This six hour simulation placed senior clergy in the police training facility located in northeast Portland. This day of training that I attended was part of a program entitled “One Cop” which is short for “one congregation, one precinct.”