Talmud Torah

Rabbi, Is This Chicken Kosher? and Other Musings on Life and Death as We Prepare for Yom Kippur

I begin with one of my favorite stories: A Reform and an Orthodox Rabbi are walking down the street, deeply engaged in an animated discussion (already you know this is a tale of some vintage [Read more…]

London Underground, 2008. Copyright ©2008 Steve Lubetkin. Used by permission.
Talmud Torah

Mind Where You Step

I was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio. It was an extraordinarily diverse community with large Italian and African American populations. The Italians, mostly from Sicily and Calabria, were pretty nonchalant about Jews unless a [Read more…]

Rabbi Jonathan Kendall's daughter, right, with Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel
Talmud Torah

Good Night Sweet Prince

One inevitable and inescapable rabbinic responsibility is to write eulogies. In these days of multiple family members and acquaintances invited to speak at the levaya, the “pressure” is diluted. Once upon a time, only the [Read more…]

Talmud Torah

Talmud Torah: My Country, Right or Wrong

Editor’s note: Jewish Sacred Aging begins a new series of commentaries on Talmud Torah with this contribution by Rabbi Jonathan Kendall. I started religious school three years after Israel was declared a state. My first [Read more…]

D'vrei Torah

Rabbi Jonathan Kendall: Removing the Mezuzah from My Door

There is a little enclave of quaint early 20th century houses and buildings that improbably sits above the coastal road in the hills between Caesarea and Haifa. Once an Arab village abandoned in ’48, it [Read more…]

D'vrei Torah

Rabbi Jonathan Kendall: Empty Chairs

A Pesach anecdote: when I became the Senior Rabbi at a large Miami congregation, among my many meetings with the Founding Rabbi Emeritus, the issue of the community Seder (though months away) became the focus [Read more…]

Reflections on Aging

Dividends – Thoughts from Rabbi Jonathan Kendall

I retired from the rabbinate almost three years ago. (A terrible confession: I don’t attend worship services all that much.) I am a dinosaur, a Jurassic Rabbi, and the Reform Judaism of today has pretty [Read more…]

Agni by Bala Sivakumar. Used under Creative Commons License.
D'vrei Torah

The Eulogy

A long, long time ago, just on the edge of where memory meets embellishment, I was an Associate Rabbi in Hollywood – not Hollywood, FL, heaven forefend – but the real Hollywood, with swimming pools [Read more…]

Care-Giving Concerns

To Hospice or Not to Hospice?

I want to begin this essay with an acknowledgment: I believe hospice performs extraordinary work in life’s final stage. I know that hospice care varies from place to place, but I personally have never seen [Read more…]

Reflections on Aging

A Good Sense of Humor: Priceless

I have always felt that laughter – not to be trite – IS the best medicine. Knowing plenty of people who have no senses of humor – as is my lot – I find to [Read more…]