A Word of Torah - Parashat Balak

Those who misunderstand us are not wrong in seeing God’s arranging hand at work in our lives. But that Divine work is not in the orderly appearance of our tents and dwelling places. Rather it is in the possibility that such orderliness places in the Jewish soul. 

Read More
Bruce Alpert
Thoughts on Poway

How much easier is it to ignore another’s feelings, how much easier is it to reject someone when we never have to look them in the eye or hear the pain in their voice as we do so? That direct connection with others is one of the great moderating and civilizing forces that can shape our character. We are losing it. Our young people especially are losing it. And as they do, they grow more angry and more anxious.

Read More
Bruce Alpert
A Word of Torah - Parashat Shemot

It takes courage to defy authority and do the thing one thinks is right. So when Shiphrah and Puah disobey Pharaoh by not killing the Israelite newborns, God rewards them by making houses for them. But I think God’s greater reward is the preservation of their names. 

Read More
Bruce Alpert
A Word of Torah - Parashat Hayyei Sarah

My Jewish upbringing was entirely cultural, not religious. Yiddish aphorisms did more to shape my identity than any biblical story. For a long time I missed the irony that, though raised an atheist, I was taught to believe that certain things were basheyrt - meant to be. Certainly the Torah wants us to understand the marriage of Rebecca and Isaac as basheyrt.

Read More
Bruce Alpert
Further Thoughts On Pittsburgh

On Yom Kippur, I asked each of us to consider what we would do if the cost of becoming a Jew in American were to become more expensive.  I considered that cost in terms of money, inconvenience, and social isolation. I did not raise the issue of safety because I believe that America’s culture of pluralism and religious tolerance is such that the systematic demonizing of Jews is unlikely to occur here - at least in the next decade or so.  But I did not consider the impact a random act of anti-semitic violence might have on our perception of our safety here. Now we must consider that too.

Read More
Bruce Alpert
Some Thoughts On Pittsburgh

Terri and I both know that life is fragile and precious. It is the reason we pray: not as a way of protecting us from harm, but as a means of giving thanks for the gift of this day, this moment.

Read More
Bruce Alpert