On Kol Nidre, Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch reflected on his 30 years as a rabbi and how we come to develop wisdom and faith: “The world is bigger than any one of us. This realization that so much of what I do cannot be brought under my full control is the beginning of wisdom. And only after we have failed over and over again can we life's successes. This is when we develop that thing called faith. Not a rote recitation of religious doctrine – but a deeper devotion that seeks to affirm life despite its hardships, unfairness, injustice, and finality.”
“If what some people mean by ‘religion should stay out of politics’ is that we should never engage in the social challenges of our times – never speak about the here and now, but only the hereafter – then it is something that Judaism cannot accept. We have a moral obligation to speak about, and act within, the political process,” said Rabbi Hirsch, who, in his Rosh Hashanah sermon, discussed the moral role of religion in politics.
“Judaism survived because a privileged and comfortable adult – Pharaoh’s daughter – had compassion on a Jewish refugee child." Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch references the story of Moses and reminds us of the principles of our founding fathers in response to the humanitarian crisis on our border. “Everything we receive from Jewish tradition pleads with us to get involved."
“The very connectedness and shrinking of the world - that was supposed to bind us in a common thread of humanity – has isolated us.” Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch responds to an unprecedented mental health crisis in our country.
“It is one thing to point out – rightly – human suffering. But you cannot be neutral between liberal democracy and authoritarian coercion, between respect for human life and contempt for life, between dignity and cruelty, between self-defense and terror. To confuse democracies with autocracies, to confuse terrorists with their victims, is a moral disease.“ Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch responds to recent events by the Gaza border.