Praying for Peace, But Who Will Stand With Us?

Rabbi Olitzky reflects on the Priestly Benediction in the Torah Portion and the recent violent antisemitic events that have occurred in this country, asking our neighbors to stand with us in order to achieve peace.

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Remembering for Joy

Rabbi Olitzky introduces Yizkor for Shavuot by focusing on the juxtaposition between mourning and grief as we remember our loved ones and the commandment to be joyful on the holiday.

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When You Don’t Know What to Say

Rabbi Olitzky reflects on struggling to find the right words to say following the escalating violence in Israel and Gaza, between Jewish and Arab Israeli citizens, between Israelis and Palestinians, wrestling with a deep connection to the idea of Israel and a commitment to justice.

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Perfection Means Striving for Justice

Rabbi Jesse Olitzky delivers a sermon for Parashat Emor reflecting on Essex County ending its contract with ICE and Rambam’s teaching that to build a perfect society, we must build a just society.

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There was Nothing Normal about Life Before

Rabbi Jesse Olitzky delivers a sermon for Parashat Tazria-Metzora, reflecting on the death of Daunte Wright, the Mass Shooting at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis, and how when we say that we yearn it return to normal, it speaks volumes about our privilege.

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Mourning in Silence

Rabbi Jesse Olitzky delivers a sermon for Parashat Shemini, reflecting on the recent loss of his grandfather, and why Aaron was silent when he heard of the tragic death of his sons.

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Remembering and Re-experiencing

Rabbi Jesse Olitzky delivers a Yizkor sermon on the final day of Passover, reflecting on the command that “in every generation we should see ourselves as if we left Egypt” and what that means for a mourner.

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Is a child wise or wicked? It depends on the Parents

Rabbi Jesse Olitzky delivers a Passover sermon examining the four children in the Haggadah and the responses that parents give them.

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Seeking Elijah; Becoming Elijah

Rabbi Jesse Olitzky delivers a sermon for Shabbat Hagadol about Elijah in the special Haftarah reading and why we invite Elijah to our seder tables and call on the prophet each and every Saturday night when Shabbat concludes

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Finding God Wherever You Let God In

Rabbi Jesse Olitzky delivers a sermon for Shabbat HaChodesh and Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei, reflecting on the themes of putting blood on our doorposts in the Maftir reading and Haftarah, and building a sanctuary to worship God, highlighting his experience staffing USY on Wheels.

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