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Today's mini-vlog: How this week's Torah portion is reminding us to return to society after a year of separation slooowwwllllyy.

Diane Rose

The first of (hopefully) many mini-vlogs...  Today, exploring Moses' speech challenge and how it could inspire us to find our voices.

On interfaith marriage (Hint! Rabbi Di loves doing them!)

Am I  a "Bad" Jew if I Eat Bacon?


Can I be Jewish AND Have a Christmas Tree?

The Events of Today - Storming of the Capitol

Diane Rose

Dear Cool Shul,

I am literally sitting in my car in the parking lot of my veterinarian’s office, awaiting the return of my sick dog as I write this. It has been four hours, and it’s now dark, and I am exhausted from the day’s events in D.C., and now a long haul with our pet. It didn’t occur to me to send anything to all of you about what took place today, probably because I’m too worried about too many things to think. But a...Read more...

Message From Rabbi Diane

A Blog for You Today...

Calm in the Presence of Coronavirus

I am not calm.  

Like all of you, I’m a mess... facing the possibility of school closures, trying to figure out what to do at Cool Shul, and trying to help my kids whose sports and speech and debate seasons are over, with a senior wondering if she is going to get to have a graduation.  I know some of you are planning Bar/Bat-Mitzvahs,...Read more...

MLK/New Year's Sermon - All about Hope

When we were in New York over the Winter Break, we stayed in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  If we hadn’t read the news while we were there, all we would have seen and experienced were trendy new restaurants, young couples, families pushing strollers and walking dogs, and the occasional Chasidic Jew asking me if I needed Shabbat candles for that night (I guess I look Jewish).  But since we DID read the news, we knew, day after day that...Read more...

Don't Let Them Win - Kol Nidre Sermon

Diane Rose

My husband, besides being a stunning musician, makes the perfect cup of coffee.  I don’t know if it’s the variety of coffee, our particular machine, or if he lovingly talks to the beans before grinding them, but there is little in this world that makes me smile more than when he appears in the bedroom with a cup of it, on a lazy weekend morning.

The day I started to write this sermon, I walked into my yard...Read more...

Rosh Hashanah Sermon - "Humbly Correcting Ourselves"

Diane Rose

I have noticed that in our current social/political climate, people seem a little on edge.  

When I was crossing the street on a green light recently, but had not pushed the button to turn on the walk symbol, a man in his truck chose to lean out the window and scream at me that I didn’t have the right of way.  He’s correct I should have pushed the button, but his reaction was mildly...Read more...


POSTED ON MAY 21, 2019

by "Rantor" (Rabbi/Cantor) Diane

As I walked toward the Federal building on Wilshire today to join the Pro-Choice rally, I started to have what I have rarely ever experienced… a panic attack.  And I didn’t know why.

As I approached the protest alone, no sign in my hand, just hoping to be counted as someone who showed up, my heart started to pound. I wandered the length...Read more...

Reflections After Holocaust Remembrance Day

Diane Rose

Me: “So, tell me what you have already learned about the Holocaust?”

My class: yawn.

With yesterday being Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), I had the challenge of figuring out how to talk about the Holocaust with my 5th-7th grade students at Cool Shul.  One wouldn’t think it would be a challenge, but it is. Now that in many schools a study of the Holocaust is part of the curriculum, some of my students seem almost “over it.” 

It’s odd to think of anyone (even a pre-teen) being “over” learning about the Holocaust, but it’s true.  We are so grateful that such an education is no longer kept to the synagogue or the dinner table. We want generation after generation to be well-educated on the subject and to make sure that not just Jews, but all people, understand what took place so they can lead us into a future without such atrocities.   And yet, once it is part of the curriculum, it isn’t “special” anymore within a Jewish education context, and sometimes kids have a Been-There-Done-That feeling… probably because at some point they had to take a test on the subject rather than just experience it.

This is where art comes in.

What captures the joy and agony of the human spirit better than art?  As I became frustrated that my students weren’t glued to every word during my lesson about the quality of life for children in the Ghettos, I realized that what did move them was the poetry and art works left behind by those children.  It was the stories, the sounds, the music, the paintings, the written words that finally moved them and took them out of their hormonal slumber and into engagement (if you want to check out the website we used, go to and be patient, it takes awhile to load).

Another artful moment was the evening before when I attended a Yom HaShoah event at the synagogue where I used to be the Cantor.  Once again, it was music and poetry and stories that lifted us out of ourselves and transported us through time. The Rabbi (and one of my mentors), Neil Comess-Daniels, asked a minister to read the following poem that Rabbi wrote back in 1996:

Twelve is a small number.

We purchase items in increments of twelve.

Twelve million of anything is unfathomable.

How much the more so twelve million murderers?

Six million Jews and six million others…

Gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally and physically “imperfect”,

The politically and/or morally abhorrent.

Twelve million is as unknowable as one dozen is certain.

Yet, we must know this number, this twelve million, for this number knows us.

This number has shaped us.

Everything we are and can be will be measured in increments of



It left me and everyone else in the room speechless.

I was honored to sing during that event, and one of my offerings was a stripped down version of one of my most favorite choral pieces, written by Michael Horvit in honor of the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht.  It is the setting of a poem found written on the walls of a basement in Cologne, Germany, left there by someone hiding from the Gestapo (you can hear me sing it by clicking the poem or the picture at the bottom of this post [and yes, that’s my dog jingling in the background]):

I believe in the sun even when it is not shining.

I believe in love even when feeling it not.

I believe in God even when God is silent.

I can’t sing this piece without feeling the tears start to swell.  How can three sentences pack so much emotional depth and complexity?

Perhaps the most interesting art piece for Yom HaShoah this year is an unbelievably creative project by @eva.stories.  This Instagram account is following the true story of a young girl with the premise of: what if a Jewish girl living during the Holocaust had Instagram?  No, it isn’t a piece of music or a poem or a novel, but it is an attempt to reach today’s teens with a thoughtful, artful, contemporary look.  Although it has drawn some criticism, I totally appreciate this attempt at a modern take on Holocaust education and art.  As an educator, I love the audacity to try a new “art” form.

So, what does this all mean?  It means…

Create art.  

Whether you are a choreographer, songwriter, composer, painter, storyteller, photographer or film maker (and ya don’t have to be a pro, a dabble will do!), keep documenting our times so we can express what is happening today to future generations. We may not be facing anything like a Holocaust in the U.S., but we are facing historic and troubling times. Many of us don’t know what more to do than what we are already doing to bring more compassion to our nation and the world.  Many of us fear that most of our efforts are demonstration rather than action. But when we feel that way, let’s turn to our imaginations. Let’s create, and create, and create to capture our thoughts and experiences and the stories we are told.  As we know, sometimes it is just one image, one lyric, one frame that can change the hearts and minds of America.

It may be a splatter on a canvas, a turn of a phrase, or even a bit of comedy that will alter the course of history.  Why not from your hand?

Shabbat Shalom

“Rantor” Diane

Diane's Passover Vlog

Find meaning in Passover even if you eat pizza during it! wink

What is Cool Shul?

Diane Rose

What is Cool Shul?


We are outside the box, and

We are inside the box.

We are traditional, and

We are innovative.




Since Cool Shul hosts a Shabbat service only once per month, last Friday was our “New Year’s” Shabbat.  For those of you who missed it, I hope you enjoy my talk for that Shabbat. 

Love, Rabbi...

100 Things to be Thankful For – A Thanksgiving Post

Diane Rose

Judaism is a tradition of gratitude.

It is said, in Jewish practice, that we should say 100 blessings each day.  Jewish structure helps us reach that goal by providing blessings for when we wake, when we eat, when we pray, when we see beauty, light candles, wash our hands, drink wine... just about everything. Any child who gets a little Jewish education learns at least a few of these blessings, but rarely is it...Read more...


Rabbi Diane

In the Jewish prayer book, morning and evening, we have a love trio.  The first part — Ahavat Olam or Ahavah Rabah — is about an everlasting and abundant love that surrounds us and is ours to access.  The last statement— the V’ahavta— reminds us to teach and act with love in all we do and see, when we are home and when we are away.  Sandwiched in between those two elements is the Shema. The Shema is open to lots of...Read more...

Thoughts on the Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting, Welcoming the Stranger, and Voting for Peace

Last weekend in Pittsburgh, people entered the Tree of Life synagogue to hear Parshat Vayera: the portion in which Abraham teaches us to welcome the stranger. The Torah portion in which Abraham is prepared to sacrifice his son, and an angel of God stops him.

This Torah portion tells us that life is above all. No murder. No sacrificing. Break all the rules, every rule, in order to save a life, even if the “voices” you hear...Read more...

Newton's Law and the Binding of Isaac

Diane Rose

The story we read on Rosh Hashanah morning, the story of the binding of Isaac, just came and went in our annual Torah cycle, so I wanted to share the sermon I gave Rosh Hashanah morning for those that missed it. After all, isn’t every day a potential New Year? It’s up to us to choose today as the first day of the rest of our lives and call it day 1.


It was supposed to be an ideal trip. 10 days, mostly unplugged and...Read more...


Diane Rose



There has been a fair amount of heat surrounding a recent cover article of the Jewish Journal, “Why Tikkun Olam Can’t Fix American Judaism,” and with good reason. Its author Gil Troy attacks liberal Judaism in which community is often based around tikkun olam action rather than around (as he describes them) “red lines.” He says, referring to the acceptance of...Read more...

Pass the Quinoa and Save the World

Diane Rose

With the recent dire news about the delicate balance of our planet’s ecosystem and the human impact upon it, many of us (including me) are in a bit of a panic. I keep looking at my children, ages 10 and 16, and wondering if I have brought them into a doomed world. If you are like me, you feel like you have to do something… anything… to start helping this planet, even if it seems like a small gesture. We all already know we can buy...Read more...

Light My Fire


Sharing my sermon from last Shabbat…

If his book The Sabbath is a window into Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s thinking, I believe that if he were commenting on Parshat Emor (the portion for last Shabbat), he would say that it deals a lot with time and not so much with space.  In his book, he emphasizes Shabbat as a way to reflect on time, and worry less (or theoretically not at all) about our space...Read more...


Diane Rose

With my students, we often talk about the possibilities of and many forms there are to what we might call prayer.  For most teens, there is no point to any of it, and we have extremely interesting conversations about whether or not there IS a point to prayer.

To give my students an example of when and why prayer can be important, I often tell them about when my father was dying.  Yes, I prayed, but what does one pray for...Read more...

Below are Rabbi Di's past blog posts.

You can see them all at





by "Rantor" (Rabbi/Cantor) Diane

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Rabbi Diane Rose

Originally posted on the UJUC website at:

Those of us who are part of progressive spiritual groups and participate in...Read more...


Diane Rose

POSTED ON JULY 13, 2017 by "Rantor" (Rabbi/Cantor) Diane


Hello readers!

First an apology for being gone for so long… end of year madness turned into a much needed vacation which turned into blogs written but not posted.  So, here is my first of three vacation inspired blogs. :)

Miserable in Paradise

Ok, I wasn’t really miserable, but “Kind of Down in Paradise”...Read more...





So sorry I disappeared for awhile.  You’ll see why when you read this sermon which I shared at our Shabbat celebration Friday night…


I’m not going to give a Torah talk tonight, especially since many of you will be hearing a gorgeous sermon from our Bat-Mitzvah tomorrow.  I’m going to leave the Torah to her. But there is something that has been on my mind lately, and I thought I...Read more...


Life is like bread.

Sometimes our lives feel like a crusty loaf of French baguette right out of the oven from a tiny bakery on the Ile Saint Louis…  inviting, warm, delicious, and just slightly exotic.  Maybe those baguette days take place at weddings or during vacations or even when we decide to spend the whole day in our pajamas watching movies and eating pizza.  Those are good days.

Sometimes...


A great Torah scholar was sitting in his home study, deeply engrossed in the portion of the week.  He was concentrating so completely, he didn’t hear the knock on his study door and didn’t notice that his father, another great Torah scholar, had entered the room. “Don’t you hear that the baby is crying?” asked the elder man.  His son, startled because he hadn’t heard him enter said, “I’m sorry,...Read more...

Mon, October 25 2021 19 Cheshvan 5782