Welcome! I am Rabbi Jonathan Biatch of Madison, Wisconsin. "Pulpit Perspectives: My Observations as a Congregational Rabbi" is published every two weeks to reflect my observations about life in my congregation and with my members. The opinions expressed here are solely my own. I invite you to join the dialogue!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Rules of the Spiritual Road: My Sabbatical and Yours

As I depart on my sabbatical, remember that our community remains strong by virtue of the support and loving care of its members.  Those who undertake certain rabbinic responsibilities in my absence are brave volunteers who have stepped forward to lead in synagogue life, so I ask you to support them in the ways that they have chosen to lead.

Encourage those who will be leading services, giving divrei torah, and making pastoral calls as volunteers by being present for all those who are participating; don’t stay away from services simply because your traditional leadership team is not fully present.

Those on the bimah, from Cantor Martin to our volunteers, need your support, and those in the hospital should know that our volunteers who will visit them are their because they truly care about other members of the congregation.

Remember that our community is a holy place, and that sacred things take place here.

Be gentle with one another, always.

Use direct and humane communication if things don’t always go in the way you’d like.

Don’t sit and stew, and don’t make too much of a fuss.

We’re only human, like that insurance commercial reminds us.

Remember the words of Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav: The whole world is only a narrow bridge, and the main thing to remember is never to be afraid.

--Rabbi Jonathan Biatch

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hunger Gains from the SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge

Can we truly gain something from hunger?  Perhaps we gain an appreciation or an understanding of the situation of those who do not get enough to eat.  Perhaps we acquire sensitivity to those who live at or below the poverty level.  Perhaps we learn how best to relate to our impoverished neighbors and fellow human beings.

For the week of February 10 - 17, 2013, join me at my Hunger Gains website (click here or go to http://www.rabbijonathanshungergains.blogspot.com/), for responses to my experiences on the SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge.  (SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.)  It will be a week to raise awareness and build mindfulness about the needs of impoverished US citizens.  Please click here to come and read!

And may our hunger gains be for good!