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Reflections on our Interfaith Partnership

04/11/2022 04:50:49 PM


To view the dialogue shared from the bimah last Friday, April 8, on the long and fruitful interfaith partnership between Rabbi Gordon and...Read more...

Zionism and Zelensky

03/28/2022 01:47:43 PM


Rabbi Samuel Gordon

Rabbi Sam Gordon Headshot

Once again during this week, I have been drawn to the war in Ukraine and the personality and leadership of Volodymyr Zelensky.

What I try to do, as best as possible, is not repeat what you can get at PBS or NPR or The New...Read more...

Volodymyr Zelenski and Leadership Lessons from our Tradition

03/23/2022 08:34:20 AM


Rabbi Samuel Gordon

Rabbi Sam Gordon Headshot

Shabbat Shalom! This week, when President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke before Congress, as he sat there in his army fatigue t-shirt, speaking in simple words with no histrionics, I was struck by his courage and his ability to truly lead...Read more...

President’s Message

11/03/2021 09:41:14 AM


Lisa Fingerhut Carlton







I’ve been reading a lot about leadership lately. While scrolling through
social media, I serendipitously came across Lessons in Leadership: Insights on Leadership Throughout the Weekly Torah...Read more...

Fact, Truth, & Lies; Yom Kippur Morning Sermon

09/16/2021 11:57:24 AM


Rabbi Samuel Gordon

Rabbi Sam Gordon Headshot

In my teaching, I’ve often tried to navigate the distinction between fact and truth. Often, particularly in teaching Torah, someone will ask me: Did it happen? Is it true? Did this person live? Was there an Abraham? Were we in...Read more...

What I Believe; Rabbi Gordon's Kol Nidre Sermon

09/15/2021 08:05:51 PM


Rabbi Samuel Gordon

Rabbi Sam Gordon Headshot

Last week on Rosh Hashanah, as we turned in our prayer book to Unetaneh tokef, I shared with you my own thoughts and interpretations of that very challenging prayer.

It is a prayer that imagines a supernatural God sitting...Read more...

Rosh Hashanah Sermon

09/07/2021 11:27:28 AM


Rabbi Samuel Gordon

Rabbi Sam Gordon Headshot

As you all know, this is the last time officially, formally, I will be speaking to all of you on Rosh Hashanah morning. So, I thought you would indulge me in a little bit of nostalgia as I look back at my own experiences as a rabbi...Read more...

Unetaneh Tokef

09/07/2021 10:42:53 AM


Rabbi Samuel Gordon

Rabbi Sam Gordon Headshot

“On Rosh Hashanah, it is written; on the Fast of Yom Kippur it is sealed, who shall live, and who shall die.”

Unetaneh Tokef, a medieval prayer, premodern in its thinking, assuming a supernatural God and ascribing to God...Read more...

Our Journey to a “Virtual” High Holy Days

01/20/2021 02:02:03 PM


John Kupper

It wasn’t long after the coronavirus struck with full force last March that the clergy and staff of Sukkat Shalom realized that High Holy Day services would be very different this year.  It was clear that hundreds of congregants wouldn’t be able to gather as usual at the Church of Latter-Day Saints in Wilmette.  Neither would members of the congregational choir be able to sing together.

What to do?

Fortunately,...

Zooming to Family School During the Pandemic

01/12/2021 11:42:19 AM


Olivia Chiss

Almost every other Sunday from September to May we dash out the door trying to make it to Family School by 10 a.m. -- grabbing our name tags, parents getting their coffee, and seeing all the smiling faces. Because of COVID, however, this Family School year looks a lot...Read more...

Virtual Learning Succeeds at Family School Thanks to Students and Parents

01/12/2021 11:29:07 AM


Stacia Goldstein and Alyce Lang

For the past 15 years, we have been co-teaching the Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten class at Sukkat Shalom’s Family School. The two of us connected immediately and became a team from Day One, sharing similar values and teaching philosophies. 

This history has made it easier for us to collaborate in creating interesting and fun lessons for our students during the challenging times of this pandemic. “Virtual” teaching has...Read more...

Lending My Voice to Our Virtual Choir

01/12/2021 11:10:06 AM


Lorraine Kaplan

Our lives have been changed in so many ways by the pandemic. The loss of theater and live music performances has been heartbreaking to many of us. Like many others, we have been relying on home viewing of movies and TV series. The few live performances – like “Hamilton” on...Read more...

Healing America

01/08/2021 09:51:47 AM


Rabbi Samuel Gordon

Rabbi Sam Gordon Headshot

Charles Dickens wrote: “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”

I had hoped on this Shabbat to comment on the results of Tuesday night’s Georgia election and its meaning in history. It was the best of...Read more...

A Message from the Clergy of Congregation Sukkat Shalom and First Congregational Church of Wilmette

01/06/2021 09:20:25 PM


Rabbi Samuel N. Gordon and Rev. Dr. Stephanie Perdew

Rabbi Sam Gordon Headshot

Tonight, we write to members and friends of both of our congregations as people...Read more...

The High Holy Day of Election Day

10/23/2020 06:00:20 PM


Rabbi Samuel Gordon

Rabbi Sam Gordon Headshot

We are in the Hebrew month of Heshvan. Traditionally this month is seen as different from all the other months of the year because, unlike all the other months, there are no festivals, holidays, or observances that occur in Heshvan....Read more...

Yom Kippur Sermon

09/28/2020 10:40:12 AM


Rabbi Samuel Gordon

This past January, I was honored to be asked to deliver the keynote address at the Rainbow Push Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Breakfast at the Hyatt Regency downtown. I was truly grateful for the invitation and more than a little surprised. I shared my...Read more...

Kol Nidre Sermon

09/27/2020 08:00:43 PM


Rabbi Samuel Gordon

Rabbi Gordon speaks at Ruth Bader Ginsburg vigil, Federal Plaza, Chicago, 9/19/20

Ten days ago, we were profoundly saddened by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. It was not a...Read more...

Taking the Long View - Rosh Hashanah Sermon

09/19/2020 10:48:42 AM


Rabbi Samuel Gordon

In the months since John Lewis’ funeral, I have thought a great deal about one particular comment from President Barack Obama. President Obama asked those in attendance to imagine what the Alabama State Troopers would have said the evening of Bloody...Read more...

Finding Comfort Amid the Storm - Erev Rosh Hashanah Sermon

09/18/2020 04:30:42 PM


Rabbi Carlie Weisbrod Daniels

Well, here we are. I don’t think anyone could have imagined just six months ago that the High Holy Days would look like this. Our lives have been turned upside down. The sense of safety and security that I know I took for granted before the pandemic, has come crashing down around us, leaving...Read more...

Finding Sacred Time in the Midst of Chaos

08/06/2020 08:15:45 PM


Rabbi Samuel Gordon

We are now in the first week of August. In normal times, we might be thinking about these final weeks of summer and anticipating the upcoming fall season. For many families, this time would usually mean shopping for the new...Read more...

Creating New Realities After Crises

07/24/2020 11:09:55 AM


Rabbi Samuel Gordon

About a half-hour before Rosh Hashanah services of 2002 were to begin, a mini-tornado ripped through Wilmette, largely along Lake Avenue. Trees were down, roads were blocked, and power was out. A hailstorm brought a covering of...Read more...

Commanded to Choose Life - For Ourselves and for Others

07/10/2020 09:12:47 AM


Rabbi Samuel Gordon

In the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 22, we are taught:

When you build a new house you shall make a parapet (a guardrail) for your roof, so that you do not bring blood guilt on your house if anyone should fall from...Read more...

4th of July

07/03/2020 07:35:17 AM


Rabbi Samuel Gordon

We are living in a turbulent time. Long-held beliefs and assumptions are being questioned. Certainly, White America is being confronted with the reality of systemic racism that has been ignored for far too long. It is fitting that we are beginning to...Read more...

The Battle of 16th and H

06/11/2020 11:19:00 AM


Rabbi Samuel Gordon

The prophet Jeremiah wrote:

“Seek the well-being of the city to which I have sent you, and pray to the Eternal on its behalf; for in its prosperity, you shall prosper.” (29:7)

American Jews have always found in these words of Jeremiah...Read more...

A Challenge for This Time

06/03/2020 12:42:32 PM


Rabbi Samuel Gordon

I am struggling to articulate a path through the pain and worry I feel. I truly fear for our nation. Ever since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, I have worried about our physical, psychological, and economic health. I have wondered how we would emerge...Read more...

Our Synagogue is Open; Our Building is Closed

05/28/2020 11:51:17 AM


Rabbi Samuel Gordon

We are Congregation Sukkat Shalom, a shelter of peace. A sukkah is a simple structure, impermanent, fragile, and open. The imagery of a sukkah was central to the message we were trying to send in the early years after the founding of our congregation. For...Read more...

No Rush to Return to "Normal"

04/26/2020 03:53:46 PM


Rabbi Samuel Gordon

These are truly challenging times. Due to the current pandemic, we have had to shelter at home, avoid human contact with those outside our immediate family, and close our...Read more...

How Jewish History Helps Us Understand These Current Times

04/20/2020 10:11:58 AM


by Rabbi Samuel Gordon

The story is told about an encounter between Henry Kissinger and Chou En Lai. Kissinger, knowing Chou was a student of history, asked him about the impact of the French Revolution. Chou answered: “Too soon to...Read more...

Covid 19 Letter

03/12/2020 12:20:35 PM


by Rabbi Samuel Gordon

We find ourselves in uncharted waters. It is far too early to know the long term impact of this Coronavirus pandemic. We pray for the health and wellbeing of all of you, your families, and dear ones. At Sukkat Shalom we are taking every precautionary...Read more...

Dr. Martin Luther King Day, Rainbow Push Chicago Breakfast, Keynote Address

01/20/2020 03:23:46 PM


by Rabbi Samuel Gordon

January 20, 2020

I ask you to imagine for a moment that Dr. King is with us this morning. It is not so impossible a thought. He would have been 91. Now imagine the breakfast is over, and Dr. King goes upstairs out the front door of this hotel and walks onto Wacker Drive. If he looks to the north, he...Read more...

Wed, November 29 2023 16 Kislev 5784