Clergy Sermons

At Central Synagogue

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Peter J. Rubinstein
Building a Bridge (Yom Kippur 5758)

Peter J. Rubinstein  |  October 11, 1997

It is a miracle, one that defies probabilities, repudiates the percentages. Consider this: each generation in your family line has had the power to guarantee the survival of Judaism for only one generation after them. On the other hand, each generation has had the power and the ability to terminate Judaism forever in their family. What an irony! You can guarantee the survival of Judaism for only one generation after you. You can end it forever.

Peter J. Rubinstein
On Being a Religious Jew, a Reform Jew (Rosh HaShanah 5757)

Peter J. Rubinstein  |  September 14, 1996

I constantly hear Reform Jews who have profound and passionate feelings about being Jewish, who are deeply involved with Jewish organizational and charitable life, who give tirelessly of their time and money to support Israel, education, and synagogues, who privately admit they feel less authentic and valid as Jews than those who by their dress publicly identify themselves. In fact, we have come to accept Reform as an adjective that can be qualified by “more” or “less” as though it is possible to be “more” or “less” Reform. The battle that is ripping the Jewish people apart today is exactly that, about more or less… more or less Jewish, more or less religious, more or less authentic.

Peter J. Rubinstein
One Step at a Time (Yom Kippur 5754)

Peter J. Rubinstein  |  September 25, 1993

At first, there was only an agreement to meet, then an agreement on where, then a conclusion on what had to be withheld from discussion, then consensus about what they would continue to disagree on, then principles, then statements, then a letter, and only then a signing. One simple step after another, described as, “Thunder built gradually… there was no startling pronouncement that suddenly made it happen.” The Oslo meetings had high hopes but no expectations. Every small accomplishment was a victory. Therein was the key. The process reflected the way each of us lives and the only way we grow. Our life happens in small steps.

Peter J. Rubinstein
The Point of Decision (Rosh HaShanah 5754)

Peter J. Rubinstein  |  September 16, 1993

What if the story ended that way? What if the Jewish people ended with Abraham? How would history have been remarkably different? What if there had been a world without Judaism, a world without Jews? What if the fragile thread of Jewish existence had been cut back then at the beginning, as it is apparently being cut now?

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