Like every other rabbi around the world I am currently hard at work on my sermons for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. I’ve always enjoyed writing and public speaking, so this exercise is enjoyable rather than stressful for me. However, finding the right words to inspire the congregation during this time of year can be challenging. The basic themes of the holiday haven’t changed in thousands of years: forgiveness, relationships, being charitable, and trying to become better people.
To what extent should sermons draw on the issues of the day? I’ve always tried to bring references to pop culture into my sermons, but I have traditionally shied away from getting into politics. Dennis Prager, a political pundit who moonlights as a High Holiday sermonizer, recently published an Op-Ed in the Jewish Journal of LA in which he rails against rabbis who preach about politics on the High Holy Days.
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