Celebrating 130 years of Jewish life and learning!

Blog

Keep up with KTI. . . Read our blogs and news stories here:

Blog

Mas'ei 5779: Cities of Refuge

Aug 09, 2019

This week, the attorney general announced a change in the interpretation in US asylum law. As you may know, under federal law, someone seeking asylum must prove a credible fear of persecution in his or her home country based on religion, race, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a specific social group. Since 1985, immigration courts, which are part of the Department of Justice, have interpreted “specific social group” to include specific families, if membership in that family is the cause of the persecution.

Blog

Mattot 5779: Family Ties

Aug 09, 2019

I had the great pleasure a few months ago of reading this recent book, The Soul of the Stranger, by Joy Ladin. Joy Ladin is transgender; she was raised as a boy and as an adult came to realize and express her true identity as a woman, an excruciating process that upended her life and that of her family. Nonetheless, she was able to keep her job as an English professor at Stern College of Yeshiva University, making her the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox institution.

Blog

Balak 5779: Good Tents, Good Neighbors

Jul 23, 2019

In our Torah portion this week, Balak, we read of the blessings conveyed by the prophet Balaam. Among the poetic verses with which he blesses Israel is the line mah tovu ohalecha ya’akov, mishkanotecha yisrael: How fair are your tents, O Jacob, Your dwellings, O Israel. This line eventually was incorporated into the prayer book, to be said upon entering a synagogue.

But tonight I want to focus on this line in the context of Balaam’s blessing. Of all the things about Israel he might have praised, why the tents? And why refer to the people by the name of their ancestor Jacob?

Blog

Sh'lah L'kha 5779: True Colors

Jul 16, 2019

If you’ve made it in to the city at all in recent weeks, surely you noticed that many places have been festooned with rainbow flags, as was the lawn of our synagogue. June, as you may know, is Pride month, which celebrates the resilience of the LGBTQ community. This pride month is particularly important, as it commemorates 50 years since the Stonewall Riot. This event is widely considered as the catalyst of the gay rights movement. People from all over the world have come to New York this weekend to participate in the World Pride parade through lower Manhattan on Sunday.

Blog

Hukkat 5779: Resisting Temptation

Jul 16, 2019

This week, the news was dominated by the arrest of money manager Jeffrey Epstein on charges of sex trafficking. Epstein, who had previously faced and settled similar charges in Florida, has now been indicted by federal prosecutors in New York. They allege that he arranged for dozens of underage women to be brought to his homes, where he then alleged sexually assaulted them. Epstein was known for his connections to wealthy and powerful friends and for his mysterious, luxurious lifestyle.

Blog

Shavuot II/ Yizkor 5779: Past and Present

Jun 12, 2019

While the holiday of Shavuot in Jewish tradition is associated with the giving of the Torah, the initial meaning of the holiday was connected to the agricultural cycle in the land of Israel. In particular, Shavuot was associated with the beginning of the wheat harvest and the practice of bringing the first fruits from any field of wheat as an offering to the Temple.

Blog

Shavuot I 5779: Grandparents

Jun 12, 2019

What a great blessing it is to be here today in celebration of the grandparents in our community and of the new grandparents in particular. We did this today because we wanted to recognize becoming a grandparent as a distinct moment in life, and a distinct role in a family and in society. Just this week I heard someone say, “If I knew how good being a grandparent was, I would have skipped having kids and gone straight to that!” Of course, it doesn’t work that way, but being a grandparent can come with its particular pleasures and joys.

Pages