Author Archives: Rabbi Joshua

About Rabbi Joshua

I'm a Rabbi, writer, thinker, mountain biker, father and husband ... not necessarily in that order. According to my wife, however, I'm just a big nerd. I have degrees in dead languages and ancient stuff. I have studied in various Jewish institutions, including an Orthodox yeshiva in Europe. I get in trouble for making friends with perfect strangers, and for standing on chairs to sing during Shabbos dinner. In addition to being the Senior Rabbi of Ahavat Zion Synagogue in Santa Monica, CA, I write regularly for several publications and speak widely in congregations and conferences. My wife is a Southern-fried Jewish Beltway bandit and a smokin' hot human rights attorney... and please don’t take offense if I dump Tabasco sauce on your cooking.

Changes Ahead

For those who have not yet heard … after seven years at Ahavat Zion Synagogue I will be leaving at the end of this month to become the rabbi of Beth Emunah in Agoura Hills beginning June 30th. We will also be moving … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Passover: Redemption Draws Nigh

Passover begins tonight (Friday, March 30, 2018). While living in Budapest, Hungary, I had the amazing opportunity to participate in a Passover Seder with a large group of Holocaust survivors. This special group opened my eyes to a deeper message of freedom and … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Passover, Elijah, and Shabbat HaGadol

Shabbat HaGadol This week is Shabbat HaGadol, the Great Shabbat that occurs at the beginning of the week in which Passover will be observed (Passover begins next Friday evening). There are five special shabbatot leading up to Passover. Each special … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Purim: A Sudden Reversal

Shabbat Zachor The Shabbat that precedes Purim is called Shabbat Zachor – the Shabbat of Remembrance. For on this Shabbat, there is an added maftir (a different concluding reading) and a different Haftarah reading because we are to recall the Torah command to blot … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Sukkot: A Festival of Joy, Gladness and Redemption

The festival of Sukkot begins tonight, Wednesday, October 4th. Sukkot is one of the most joyous occasions on the Jewish calendar. It is deeply connected to the earlier High Holidays of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, and is the culmination … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Kol Nidrei: Tensions and Paradoxes of Yom Kippur

“All vows, obligations, oaths, and anathemas, whether called ‘ḳonam,’ ‘ḳonas,’ or by any other name, which we may vow, or swear, or pledge, or whereby we may be bound, from this Day of Atonement until the next (whose happy coming … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Holiness, Justice and Reaching Out to Others

Parashat Mishpatim What can this week’s parasha, and the Torah as a whole, teach us about reaching out to others and drawing them close? Our Torah portion begins: Exodus 21:1 א  וְאֵלֶּה הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים, אֲשֶׁר תָּשִׂים לִפְנֵיהֶם. 1 These are the ordinances which … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

“Get Out!”

Parashat Lekh Lekha “GET OUT!” – G-d makes it very clear to Avram that only through self-imposed exile can he attain his ultimate spiritual potential. Parashat Lekh Lekha, unlike our first two portions in Genesis, emphasizes this convergence between G-d … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Veterans Day

My paternal grandfather (pictured at left with my grandmother) served during WWII in the South Pacific in the Army’s searchlight and radar units. My maternal grandfather served in the Army in the Pacific during the Korean War. My Dad also … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 3 Comments

Kristallnacht

Tonight, November 9-10, marks the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht – the Night of Broken Glass. It is called the “Night of Broken Glass” because on this night, in 1938, thousands of rioters stormed Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues causing enormous … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments