These High Holiday sermons were delivered at Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in September/Tishrei 2021/5782. You can see video of these presentations on this playlist, or listen to audio at The Kol Hadash Podcast (on major podcast platforms). For on Kol Hadash, please contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We respond to tragedy through mourning and learning. After what seemed like disaster after disaster over the past year, how best to move forward?
Rosh Hashana Evening – September 6, 2021, 7:30pm
While the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, most of us have re-emerged from fear and isolation. What have we learned about ourselves and our society from this stress test of ethics and institutions? We must discover what failed, what succeeded, and what we need today. Past Jewish experiences rebuilding after disaster may offer lessons for our future.
Rosh Hashana Morning – September 7, 2021, 10:30am
Hatred and Indifference
Are we really “all in this together?” As active personal prejudice recedes, structural inequality has been revealed. Racism and antisemitism are both officially rejected and more complex than ever to understand and address. Our challenge remains choosing active empathy when indifference is easier. The Jewish New Year invites self-examination and self-correction.
Yom Kippur Evening – September 15, 2021, 7:30pm
The Jewish House Divided
Last century’s American Jewish unity faces multiple fractures in 2021. Diaspora Jewish responses to Israel range from support to frustration to anger to disengagement – sometimes within the same person. Divisions between the Orthodox and everyone else now extend to politics, lifestyle, and cultural values. As the Jewish family becomes ever more diverse, will we stay one people?
Yom Kippur Morning – September 16, 2021, 10:30am
The American House Divided
“The People’s House” was torn apart on January 6, making angry divisions in America impossible to ignore. As we learn more about dark sides of our history, the depth of our current divisions and radically different visions for our shared future, what can we do to bind up our nation’s wounds and steer our ship towards light and truth?
Yom Kippur Memorial – September 16, 2021, 3:30pm
The Many and The One
The reality of over 600,000 American COVID-19 deaths is overwhelming enough. Each individual loss was a world of relations, connections, and love. During the Jewish year just ended, any loss was made more challenging by distance and isolation. This year, as we gradually reunite, we feel the full weight of the many and the one.