The Jewish Roots of Kehilla’s Values: Martin Buber, Part 1

by Rabbi Burt Jacobson In this series of articles I offer readers some background history on the Jewish sources of the values and ideals that motivated me to develop the vision that became Kehilla Community Synagogue. Past installments focused on the life and thought of Abraham Joshua Heschel. In this four-part series, I turn to […]

Epiphany on the San Rafael Bridge

by Rabbi Burt Jacobson For the last few years my wife Diane and I have lived in El Sobrante, California, about eight miles north of Berkeley. I was recently asked to give a presentation about the teachings of the Ba’al Shem Tov at a synagogue in Marin county on a particular Shabbat afternoon. I was excited by the […]

The Jewish Roots of Kehilla’s Values: Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Part 4

by Rabbi Burt Jacobson When Abraham Joshua Heschel arrived in the U.S. in 1940 from war-torn Europe, he was determined to write a book on the Ba’al Shem Tov. My teacher had lost most of his family in Poland and during that bleak time he deeply needed to connect with the hopeful spirit of the […]

Hope in a Challenging Time

by Rabbi Burt Jacobson I offered the following message about hope at this year’s community seder, and I wanted to share it with the entire community. Having grown up during the Holocaust I tend to be pessimistic. Had I been one of the Israelite slaves in ancient Egypt, I probably would have despaired at ever […]

The Jewish Roots of Kehilla’s Values: Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Part 2

Posted by on Mar 30, 2018 in Announcements, Rabbi Burt's Blog | No Comments

by Rabbi Burt Jacobson What were the Jewish origins of the spiritual and moral values that guided the fashioning of my vision of Kehilla Community Synagogue? Four prominent modern Jewish teachers influenced my life at crucial times during the 1960s, and the values I learned from them became vital to the founding of Kehilla. These […]

Jewish Roots of Kehilla’s Values: Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Part 3

Posted by on Feb 28, 2018 in Announcements, Rabbi Burt's Blog | No Comments

by Rabbi Burt Jacobson As important as social justice was to my teacher, Abraham Joshua Heschel, he would not have labeled himself a “political activist.” He saw his activism as spiritual practice: He wrote that . . . for many of us the march from Selma to Montgomery was about protest and prayer. Legs are […]

A Universal Embrace: The Faith Trio’s Interfaith Art Show

Posted by on Jan 31, 2018 in Announcements, Rabbi Burt's Blog | No Comments

by Rabbi Burt Jacobson A version of the talk below was delivered by Rabbi Burt at the opening of the Interfaith Art Show at the Northern California Islamic Cultural Center on December 3rd, 2017. The great mystics of the world’s spiritual traditions testified that during their mystical experiences the boundaries that circumscribed their everyday identities […]

Jewish Roots of Kehilla’s Values Abraham Joshua Heschel – Part 1

Posted by on Jan 31, 2018 in Rabbi Burt's Blog | No Comments

by Rabbi Burt Jacobson What were the Jewish origins of the spiritual and moral values that guided the fashioning of my vision of Kehilla Community Synagogue? Four prominent modern Jewish teachers influenced my life at crucial times during the 1960s, and the values I learned from them became vital to the founding of Kehilla. These […]

Transforming the Fear of Death

Posted by on Oct 29, 2017 in Rabbi Burt's Blog | No Comments

by Rabbi Burt Jacobson These last years have been immensely challenging for me as my body has been experiencing its inevitable decline and I feel myself moving inexorably toward death. At times I have been wrapped in fear. What will become of this person I am? Will my “I” continue in some other form? Or […]

Mending Our Souls

Posted by on Aug 1, 2017 in Rabbi Burt's Blog | No Comments

by Rabbi Burt Jacobson The Ba’al Shem Tov was a mystic who was able to ascend to higher spiritual realms through ecstatic worship, experiencing the underlying radiance, mystery and oneness of reality. His disciples were drawn to him, in large part, because of the promise that they could learn from him the way to enter […]