FLORIDA KEYS RABBI FLORIDA KEYS RABBI FLORIDA KEYS RABB
March 7, 2018
February 18, 2019
In memoriam: Al Vorspan, a GIANT of Social Justice. See this article by Jeffrey K. Salkin in the Religion News Service. (And thanks, Jeff, for the shout-out 😉 )
December 3, 2018
Thanks to one and all who have caused the first shipment of The Tragedy Test to be sold out!
As a first-time book author, I really had no idea how these things worked. but needless to say, I am most grateful for the initial reception. Stay tuned as we continue to roll out the launch over the coming weeks.
You can go to tragedytest.com and place an order, which will be filled as soon as the next shipment is delivered (expected Dec. 14.) A generous contribution from the proceeds of all orders filled through tragedytest.com will be donated to the Tali Fund.
Again, many thanks, warm regards and a Happy Chanukah to all.
November 26, 2018
Please join me at the Keys Jewish Community Center, MM 93.1 O/S, on Thursday evening, November 29, at 7:30 p.m. for the “Keys Launch” of The Tragedy Test.
I’ll be introducing the book, will open up for questions and discussion and of course, have copies available for sale and signing.
Bring your friends! All who come in the spirit of peace are welcome.
November 1, 2018
The Keys Jewish Community Center hosted an overflow, SRO crowd last night, for a gathering titled Prayers for America: A Memorial Service for those Massacred in Pittsburgh. It was especially heartening that it was attended by members representing every segment of our community. Here is some of what I had to say
October 10, 2018
Exciting news from the Tali Fund! See it here!
September 20, 2018
Shana tovah to one and all. Links to the speaking notes for the three formal talks I offered this year at the Keys Jewish Community Center in Tavernier, Florida are posted below. Thank you for reading!
Rosh Hashanah: Our Values–Clarifying Them
Kol Nidre: Our Values–Holding Onto Them
Yom Kippur: Our Values–Fighting for Them
September 12, 2018
As you may have noticed, This site has not been active for some time. The main reason is that I have been completing arrangements for publication of the book I have been working on for the past five years.
I am happy to be able to report that if all goes well, the book should be in print before the end of the calendar year. The current (and likely final) title is:
The Tragedy Test: Making Sense of Life-Changing Loss
It carries an endorsement from Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People. It is being published by Wipf and Stock, a noted publisher of both academic and religious texts (although the book is written for a general audience) on the west coast. It will be available wherever books are sold, online and through stores. I will be sure to let you know when it becomes available.
I expect to be much more active online as the launch approaches so watch this space (and @rabbiagler on Twitter) for news! In the meantime, deepest gratitude to one and all who have been journeying with us.
January 17, 2018
Speaking this Shabbat evening, Jan. 19 at 7:30 and teaching the following morning at 10 in honor of the installation of Rabbi Marci Bloch as Rabbi of Temple Beth Orr in Coral Springs, FL. All who come in peace are welcome. Would love to see you there!
October 3, 2017
All High Holyday speaking notes are now on the Talks, Writings and Sermons page. Focusing this year on overcoming tribal differences and making peace. Shana Tovah to one and all!
September 19, 2017
I’ll be leading High Holiday services at the Keys Jewish Community Center once again this year. Our themes will include recovering from the hurricane, overcoming tribal differences and making peace.
Things will be a little different post-Irma but the community is resilient and we will welcome the new year with new strength, new spirit and new grounding. As per usual, all who come in the spirit of peace are welcome.
Shanah tovah to one and all.
August 21, 2017
Part 3 of our Africa Trip Report is now posted on the Tali page. Thank you for taking the time to read and support.
In related news, Mindy and I spoke last week with the medical, outreach and administrative staff at the Miami Transplant Institute. They are affiliated with Jackson Health System and UM (University of Miami) Health. It was a privilege to be with the professionals who make organ donation and transplantation a reality in South Florida.
If there is even a chance that you might be eligible to be a donor and have not yet registered to do so, what are you waiting for? Head over to organdonor.gov and make the arrangement today!
July 21, 2017
Part 2 of our Africa trip report is now posted on the Tali page.
NEWS: The Talia Agler Girls Shelter and its parent organization CDTD are proud to announce a sponsoring partnership with One World Children’s Fund. TAGS is one of the first forty organizations in the world to be so designated! This partnership also allows TAGS’ supporters to make automatic monthly recurring donations. Details on the Tali page.
Thank you one and all!
June 20, 2017
Sorry haven’t been posting much lately. Busy writing a book. Look forward to sharing the info when ready.
Meanwhile, just back from Africa with lots new to share from the Talia Agler Girls Shelter! See the Tali page for the updates.
Also, speaking on the subject of the Holocaust at St. James the Fisherman Episcopal Church in Islamorada on Wednesday, June 28 at 6 p.m. All welcome!
December 12, 2016
New on the Tali page–A first person account by one of Tali’s successor interns from American University describing her work at the TAGS in Nairobi. Also story, pix and video of a community of expat Indian women doing their seva work with girls from the TAGS. to Click right here to read all about it.
And of course, if you are making contributions at this time of year, I can promise you that the Tali Fund will put them to very good use!
Warm wishes to one and all,
October 14, 2016
Congratulations to Bob Dylan on his latest triumph, the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature. As everyone knows, many of Bob’s songs have great spiritual and Jewish content. Here is a small collection of them that I have been teaching over the years. They and others, are worthwhile spending time with. Special thanks to my buddy Rabbi Larry Schlesinger for help with this compilation.
October 13, 2016
Now on the Talks, Writings and Sermons page, speaking notes from all of this year’s High Holiday talks. It is a three part series that I hope you find worthwhile.
I will be speaking this Sunday morning at Spirit and Truth Ministries, led by my friend Pastor Marlin Simon, in Islamorada, FL at services beginning at 10 a.m. The theme will be “The Biblical Roots of the Fall Jewish Holidays.” All who come in peace are welcome.
September 18, 2016
New on the Tali page, how day care can mean the difference between an independent successful life and a collapsed one–and how inexpensive it can be to make that difference for a mother and her child!
September 2, 2016
How’s this for a prominent Midwestern Lutheran’s thoughts on New York Jews–and related matters. From Wednesday’s Chicago Tribune: http://fw.to/OX8ARve
Torah Learning at the Keys Jewish Community Center resumes next Shabbat, September 10, at 10 a.m. All who come in the spirit of peace are welcome.
And yes, I am scheduled to lead High Holyday services at the KJCC once again this year, beginning on Erev Rosh Hashanah Sunday evening Oct. 2 and continuing through Yom Kippur ten days later. Let me take this opportunity to wish one and all a Shana Tovah!
June 15, 2016
Speaking notes of my talk at the Keys’ Community Memorial Service for the victims of the Orlando massacre on the RDA Blog.
June 9, 2016
How many students could you support in boarding school for $1600? The answer in Nairobi, as well as a deeply personal and moving story, is new at the Tali page.
I participated with the Miami delegation on the March of the Living to Poland and Israel last month. You can see a small snapshot from that journey in the story referenced above on the Tali page. Or, you can come to the KJCC on Wednesday, June 22 at 7:30 p.m. and hear a full report from me and my fellow Keys participant, Dr. Bernie Ginsberg. All are welcome.
April 9, 2016
Today is the anniversary of Talia Agler’s birth. See the Tali page to learn what she continues to accomplish. May her life and light continue to inspire us all.
I will be teaching Torah at the KJCC on Saturday morning 4/16 at 10 a.m. Our theme will be Passover and all are welcome.
February 5, 2016
See the tribute to Dr. Eugene B. Borowitz, z”l on the RDA Blog.
Teaching Torah this month at the KJCC on Saturday morning 2/27 at 10 a.m. All are welcome.
Thanks to all who have contributed to The Tali Fund to get it to such a wonderful start. Watch this space for further developments!
December 23, 2015
We are honored to announce the creation of The Tali Fund. It is a family foundation with 501(c)(3) status that will enable one and all to support the causes that were vital to Talia as she lived. The website is partially under construction but please visit talifund.org. Even better, at this giving season of the year, make a contribution to support Talia’s ongoing work, life and legacy. Also see the Tali page for an update on our recent trip to the Talia Agler Girls Shelter in Nairobi and a report published by Global Giving on the work being done there.
May the holidays be blessed, joyous and meaningful for all.
December 9, 2015
Sorry for the late notice but I will be teaching this Shabbat morning at the Keys Jewish Community Center in Tavernier, FL. Come at 10 a.m. and learn things about the origins of Chanukah you likely did not know! Next month’s session is scheduled for January 23 so you can mark your calendars now. All are welcome.
Also, many thanks to the Board of the KJCC for designating me as the Resident Scholar of the congregation. It is a great honor and I will do my best to remain worthy of it.
A joyous Chanukah to one and all!
December 1, 2015
We’ve recently returned from a trip to the Talia Agler Girls Shelter in Nairobi. See the Tali page for an account of the visit and an update of the inspirational work being done there. (If you’d like to see and hear more, invite me to your place for a slideshow that I promise will be moving: “How One Life–Maybe Yours–Can Change the World.”)
“Giving Tuesday” is upon us. So is the month of December. Both are occasions for making contributions that help make the world a better place. However and whenever you choose to do so, may your efforts be fruitful and blessed.
Also, we are proud to announce the launching of “The Tali Fund, Inc.” It is a 501 (c) (3) corporation established to support the work and dreams of the late Talia Agler. It is registered in the State of Florida and with the IRS. You can send a tax deductible contribution by check to 168 Sunset Gardens Drive, Tavernier, FL 33070. Online donations will be accepted shortly. Many thanks!
September 29, 2015
I spoke at George Washington University Hospital in Washington over the weekend for the dedication of their “Tree of Life” in honor of organ donors and their families. This was where Tali died and donated her organs. I also spoke to the staff at the Washington Regional Transplant Community which is the organization that facilitates all of the transplant activity in the Greater Washington region. See the speaking notes from the hospital and a TV piece by NBC Channel 4 in Washington on Tali’s lung recipient. All on the Tali page.
September 24, 2015
Now at the Talks, Writings and Sermons page, the speaking notes from this year’s major High Holyday talks. Enjoy and l’shana tovah!
September 8, 2015
See the this link for a new nationally syndicated article on the “Sandy Koufax didn’t pitch on Yom Kippur“ story. Jesse Agler is in the lead. (I am an unattributed source.) Correction to article: Jesse is currently a TV and radio announcer for the San Diego Padres. Enjoy.
August 31, 2015
It has been a busy summer. Instead of blogging, I have been continuing to write on the subject of life after loss. It seems to be shaping up and I hope to complete it within the next twelve months, most likely in book form. Watch this space for further details.
In the meantime, let’s do a little catching up. If you have not seen the entirety of President Obama’s speech in the Emanuel AME Charleston church after the tragic shooting this summer, please take the time to watch it. I thought it was as important and powerful an address as any President has made in recent memory. Here is the link.
Since people have asked, my answer is that I am, with reservations of course, supporting the Iran deal. It is a complex issue to be sure. Let’s start by saying that no one can predict the future with certainty. Given that, my judgment, as succinctly as I can make it is:
1) It is worth the risks to disarm Iran’s nuclear program for the next fifteen years. That is a very long time in geopolitics and no one knows what the world will look like at the end of it.
2) Even if the U.S. Congress overrides the President’s veto, our partner nations will not enforce the sanctions. That means there is no viable or effective alternative to the agreement at this time.
3) There is no question that the US will continue to support Israel foursquare militarily and with shared intelligence through the remainder of this Administration and the next. (This in spite of the fact that PM Netanyahu’s conduct has crossed lines viz. a viz. the American Presidency that no Israeli leader ever has before.)
You are free to disagree of course but I encourage everyone to write their congressional representatives and senators to let them know that the lobbyists are not the only ones with opinions on this issue—or for that matter on any other.
On a related note, I’d like to recommend Arthur Schopenhauer’s “The Art of Being Right: 38 Subtle Ways to Win an Argument.” Despite its “made for the internet” sounding title, it was written in 1831 by the noted German philosopher. Here is a link to the bulletin board version. See how many of Schopenhauer’s arguments your opponents are making–and maybe which ones you are too. 😉
I promise more and exciting news soon but finally for the moment, I will be leading services this High Holidays at the Keys Jewish Community Center in Tavernier, Florida once again. Rosh Hashanah begins on Sunday evening, September 13 at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome and l’shana tovah!
Thoughts on a great teacher–fifty years later–on the RDA Blog. Enjoy!
Talia Agler would have been 30 years old today. See the Tali page for an update on some of what is happening in her memory.
Torah Study this Shabbat at the KJCC at 10 a.m. All are welcome.
Some changes in schedule–here is the updated:
I will be speaking at Temple Bat Yam in Sanibel, FL on Friday night, March 20 and Saturday morning, March 21 on the themes of “One Life Can Make a Difference” and “Why You Should Become an Organ Donor.” All are welcome.
My next scheduled Torah learning sessions at the KJCC are April 11 and May 9. Join us on those Shabbat mornings at 10 a.m. In conjunction with Yom HaShoah I will also be conducting a book discussion on “The Sunflower” by Simon Wiesenthal on Sunday evening April 12 at 7 p.m.
Teaching Torah this Shabbat at the Keys Jewish Community Center. All invited at 10 a.m. Next scheduled dates for this are Feb. 28 and March 21.
See the Tali page for an update on the Boca Raton Mitzvah Lunch Club–and how you can set one up in your community.
See the Tali page for a report on a visit to the TAGS by dear friends of ours. (How could they not be dear friends if they visited the TAGS?!) Edina and Alan Lessack spent a day that can be an inspiration to us all. Who’s next?
Now at the Talks, Writings and Sermons page, speaking notes from all of my High Holyday talks. Enjoy and l‘shana tovah!
I will be posting the texts of my Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur addresses here as the holidays unfold. If you are unable to join us in person at the Keys Jewish Community Center I invite you to click, read, contemplate and share the holidays with us in this manner. The themes of this year’s three-part series are “Empathy,” “Courage,” and “Comfort.” May it be a year of peace, health and honor for us all.
The founding meeting of the Treasure Coast Jewish Center to be led by Rabbi Arthur Rutberg has been rescheduled for October 19 at 10 a.m. at 440 Northwest Peacock Boulevard in Port St Lucie, FL. I’ve been invited to give the keynote address and am honored to do so. If you are able to attend you are welcome!
Finally, thanks Rabbi Mark Mahler and everyone at Temple Emanuel of Pittsburgh for the beautiful hosting of our just concluded weekend of learning. Special thanks to the members of the Schwartz family and the Temple’s Social Action Committee who committed themselves to continuing the work that Talia Agler z”l lived for.
A stunning article on AIPAC from the New Yorker. Long but a must read! Link on the RDA Blog.
New on the RDA Blog: The Hamas Charter. Very much worth reading–especially after the events of this summer.
On Sept. 19-20 I will be speaking at Temple Emanuel of Pittsburgh. I am scheduled to discuss organ donation at services on Friday night, to teach Torah on Shabbat morning and address the issue of human trafficking at Slichot services Saturday night. If you are in the South Hills, come by!
And once again I will be leading High Holyday services at the Keys Jewish Community Center in Tavernier, FL beginning Erev Rosh Hashanah, Wednesday, Sept. 24 and continuing through the conclusion of Yom Kippur. See the KJCC website for details.
I have been invited to give the keynote address at the founding meeting of the Treasure Coast Jewish Center in Port St. Lucie, FL by their Rabbi, Arthur Rutberg. It will be POSTPONED until after the High Holydays. Further details to come–watch this space!
May it be a Shana Tovah for one and all.
I have no public schedule this summer. Time to go a bit deeper into writing and planning for the fall. Next major item on the list is the High Holydays. I will lead services once again this year at the Keys Jewish Community Center in Tavernier, FL. Erev Rosh Hashanah is Wednesday evening, Sept. 24. All are welcome of course.
In the meantime may the season bring one and all the opportunity for rest, re-creation, renewal and hope.
See the RDA Blog for some new quotes (at least for me) on dealing with life’s inevitable setbacks.
Mindy and I speaking on organ donation at the Key Largo Rotary Club on June 18. Once again, we encourage everyone we know to register to become a donor. Save a life–or several–at no cost or pain to you. Go to organdonor.gov to make it real.
Suffering, Happiness and the relationship between them. See the RDA Blog for a most thoughtful essay by Times columnist David Brooks on the subject.
I don’t usually post music here but I’m making an exception. See the RDA Blog for a powerful essay-video combination led by David Halivni Weiss from Israel.
You may remember an entry I wrote on celebrating the passage of the Affordable Care Act in March 22, 2011 (see RDA Blog for that date). In a related story, here’s an appearance I would have rather not made in the 3/30/14 Sunday NY Times–but which I am grateful for nonetheless.
Speaking of video (non-musical), here’s a treat of some new video from my favorite sports announcer, now working for the San Diego Padres: 1) With Exec Chairman and President 2) With General Manager 3) With Manager
Mindy and I have been speaking frequently this season telling our story and encouraging the life saving gift of organ donation. If you are not a registered donor, you can become one today at organdonor.gov. If you are already registered make sure your family knows your wishes. And don’t be shy about telling others about the great decision you have made.
New on the Tali page, an essay from her cousin Adam Agler, age 15. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Talia’s second yahrzeit is 3 Shevat according to the Hebrew calendar. The civil calendar anniversary of her death is January 27. Thanks and blessings to all who continue to honor her memory, through contributions to the Talia Agler Girls Shelter in Nairobi, via Organ Donation, through the Religious Action Center in Washington and through service to others with a hand, with a smile and with love. Her memory and her life remain very much for blessing.
Mindy and I will be speaking on Organ Donation at various venues in the Keys this month. This is part of a community initiative to sign up as many donors as possible. Tali saved five lives through her donations. Most all of us have the ability to save at least one through a donation of organ or tissue. Once again, if you are not a donor, don’t wait any longer to register. From anywhere in the U.S. go to http://organdonor.gov to give the greatest gift of all, the gift of life.
Now on the Tali page — an article from the Sunday South Florida Sun-Sentinel on the “Mitzvah Lunch Club”, which was inspired by Tali. Look to the 9/23/13 entry there and if you haven’t gotten to it yet, the 9/17/13 entry as well.
Now posted are the speaking notes of my High Holyday talks at the Keys Jewish Community Center here. I called this year’s series “Touching Holiness.” Click the link and enjoy. Thank you and shana tovah!
There are now pictures, videos and descriptions of the Talia Agler Girls Shelter in Nairobi, Kenya, all from our recent trip there on the Tali page. See the 7/18/13 entry.