What Is God?
Saturday April 24th 2010, 2:22 pm
Filed under: Slices of Life

Recently received the following request on a rabbis’ listserv:

If you’d like to be included in the book, I’d invite you to submit an essay of up to 500 words explaining your God concept.

I am especially interested in the following: (Don’t feel you have to answer them all)
– Do you believe God either intervenes or intercedes in our lives?
– Do you believe that we can interact with God through prayer, ritual, conversation or otherwise?
– If there is a well known theologian with whom you align or disagree, feel free to reference them.
– Are you comfortable sharing your God concept with congregants or do you tend to keep quiet about it?

So. Here’s mine:

G*d is the power that moves and animates the universe.

The Big Bang occurred 13.9 billion years ago; the Bet that begins the Torah. At that moment everything was an undifferentiated colloid of infinite density and temperature. (more…)

Barukh Ata Adonai
Saturday January 27th 2007, 3:21 pm
Filed under: Slices of Life

The English translation of practically every Jewish liturgy ever published renders “Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheynu, melekh ha-olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav, v’tzvivanu” as “Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who sanctifies us with his commandments and commands us…” Then as feminist conscious and women rabbis and teachers emerged, we emended that a bit, changing King to Ruler or Sovereign and circumlocuting around the masculine pronouns. It seems to me that we ought to continue this thrust toward a full new translation of this translation.

Back when I was in rabbi school (I know, it’s called ‘yeshiva’), a grad-fellow instructor (who’s name I don’t recall) used to insist that “Barukh” should not be translated as “Blessed,” since the act of blessing implies that the bless-or has a higher status than the bless-ee. The most notable example of bestowing a blessing is a king blessing his subject; subjects never bless a king. (more…)

So What’s the Whole Story?
Friday August 11th 2006, 8:52 am
Filed under: Slices of Life

Back somewhere around 1996 or ’97 I wrote the story of how I went from being a functional working rabbi to my current “defrocked” state. (more…)

The Choreography of Davvenology
Friday May 26th 2006, 5:40 pm
Filed under: Slices of Life

Rabbi Bill BlankTraditional Jewish prayer — davennen — is done with a few dance steps. This bit of choreography involves certain place in the daily prayer where you bow, where you take a few baby steps forward or backward, where you rise on to your tiptoes. And a rhythmic swaying — shukkling — where the body joins in to the prayer. These dance moves punctuate the prayer and transform the prayer from a wooden recital of words from the book into an act of the whole body. (more…)

Dog Rabbis and Cat Rabbis
Tuesday May 09th 2006, 1:43 pm
Filed under: Slices of Life

Forget about Reform, Conservative or Orthodox. Rabbis really come in two flavors: dog and cat.

Both dogs and cats are wonderful pets. But they differ from one another.

Dogs are loving and loyal. When you return home, your dog does not care if you are Charles Manson or Mahatma Gandi. (more…)

So Where Has Defrocked Rabbi Been and What Happened with the Haggadah?
Thursday May 04th 2006, 2:15 pm
Filed under: Slices of Life

It has been six months since this space has changed. Back then the energy and creativity that might have gone to keep this space fresh and worth returning to was focused onto Internet Haggadah. In case you haven’t yet read the posts below, this was a project I began several years ago: creating a Passover Haggadah that was clear, concise, direct to the point, (more…)

Will You Need a New Haggadah Next Passover?
Saturday November 05th 2005, 12:56 pm
Filed under: Slices of Life

Defrocked Rabbi
If you’ve been reading this space, you’ve seen the email from my friend r., urging me to “re-frocked just a bit” by creating something rabbinic and literary.

So I have. If you want to see it, just go to www.hagada.com.

But wouldn’t you rather read the backstory first:

Maybe r. is just a little bit psychic.

I’ve been leading Passover Seders (I know, “Sederim” is the correct form) for almost 40 years. With few exceptions, I’ve used the traditional hagada. The traditional hagada is somewhat obtuse. It benefits greatly with a brief but pointed running commentary, (more…)

Ready for Prime Time??
Wednesday October 19th 2005, 9:44 pm
Filed under: Slices of Life

So, up to this point, I’ve considered this site a work in progress. Now it’s ready for prime time. Such as it is. I mean, people are not sitting on street corners with baited breath, awaiting the latest rants and ramblings from Defrocked Rabbi, now are they?

But, I did send a note to two “not-defrocked” rabbi friends whose replies told me that this is now a real blog.

So here’s a bit of the back story:

I had been thinking of creating Defrocked Rabbi for several years. I have a first draft all laid out in lovely HTML in my “Old My Documents” folder somewhere. Somehow, the last kick to put it online never quite kicked in. I think I thought that once I put it up, what will I add? This was way before the big wave of blog-dom had crashed the proverbial information technology coast.

Then a few weeks ago (more…)