Welcome to my new blog Divrei Hillel (“Words of Hillel”)!

My thought in starting this blog is to have a forum for an exchange of ideas between me as the rabbi of Congregation Or Hadash, and you, members and friends of Or Hadash.  I emphasize that I would like this to be an exchange of ideas, because I very much hope that you will share your views and questions, with me and with each other.  

If I can keep up with the schedule, my hope is to post to this blog twice a week:  every Thursday, I will try to post some thoughts about the week’s Torah portion; and early in the week, on Sunday or Monday, I want to share with you my views as a rabbi, a ‘recovering’ attorney, a citizen of the United States and of Israel, and a caring human being, about events and issues going on in the world.  I may post more often, as the spirit moves me; and I may occasionally have to miss a regular posting, because, as we all know, life happens.  When that occurs, I will try to post a sentence or two letting you know that I didn’t just forget, and when you might expect the next posting.

I know that all our email in-boxes are bursting at the seams, so I don’t want to add to the glut by sending this blog to you as an email.  Whenever I post to the blog, a link to it will appear on the Or Hadash website, Facebook page, and weekly calendar email sent out by Lenny Abels, enabling you to go to the blog if you choose.  If you want an email letting you know of each new blog posting, there will also be a way to subscribe to the blog.

I hope you will read these postings, and, when the spirit moves you, comment on what I have written, or what other readers have posted in their comments.  Likewise, if there is a particular topic or question you would like me to address, you can post it as a comment to the blog, or, if you prefer, send it to me in an email at rabbi@templeorhadash.org.

Let’s get a conversation going about the things that matter to us as Jews, as Coloradoans, as Americans, and as caring human beings!

On August 30, in the first of my monthly Sunday Chats, I plan to address the idea of God in Jewish tradition, prayer and thought.  I know this is an area that is a difficult for many of us, which is why I want to open the discussion before the High Holy Days, which are so filled with God language.

In order to give you time to prepare for that discussion, I would like to recommend some books that might help you understand that there is a very wide range of beliefs about God that are all acceptable in our Jewish tradition:

The God I Believe In:  Conversations on Religion with 14 Leading Jewish Intellectuals, by Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman

Finding God:  Ten Jewish Responses, by Rifat Sonsino and Daniel B. Syme

A third book, not specifically Jewish but it may as well be, is worth looking at.  It is a very small book, but written with much humor and wisdom:

Stupid Ways, Smart Ways, To Think About God, by Michael Shevack and Jack Bemporad

There are many other books out there about Jewish views of God, and I promise to provide you with a list of a few of them.  But either one (or even both!) of these two books will, I believe, be a good place to start.

I hope to see you at the Sunday Chat on August 30, when we begin our conversation about God.  And I hope you will read, and comment on, what appears on this blog.

Rabbi Hillel