Good evening. It is truly an honor to attend TSTI’s Annual Meeting for the 27th time. I first attended as a rabbinic intern in 1992 and it has been and continues to be a privilege to serve this sacred community.

Most years I use my time during this meeting to talk about the state of the congregation from my perspective. And I could easily do so this year, particularly considering how much is going on.

But tonight, I want to take a slightly different approach. I want to talk about why we do what we do. And I want to do so through the lens of a few experiences I have had this year.


It is a quiet Shabbat afternoon in October. Suddenly my phone starts buzzing with reports of the synagogue shooting in Squirrel Hill. Within minutes I’m on the phone with my colleagues and a number …