Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch Of Stephen Wise Free Synagogue



Podcast of sermons by Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, senior rabbi at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York City. Rabbi Hirsch is recognized internationally for his leadership in Jewish affairs and was named by the New York Observer among New Yorks Most Influential Religious Leaders. The coauthor of the acclaimed One People Two Worlds: A Reform Rabbi and an Orthodox Rabbi Explore the Issues that Divide Them, he previously served as executive director of the Association of Reform Zionists of America.


  • Predictions For 2021 (Audio)


    “It is not for human beings to predict the future. Only God knows what will happen tomorrow,” says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch on New Year’s Day. “Jewish tradition is emphatic: the future is not some static immovable state of affairs. So act as if you can...

  • A Holy Day (Audio)


    “I love when Christmas falls on Shabbat,” says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. “It gives me an opportunity to remind myself that Judaism is both universal and particular: that we unite with the world in fellowship — one human family. And still, we are a...

  • Dream On (Audio)


    In this week’s parasha, we learn that “not only does Joseph constantly dream big dreams, he also has a unique capacity to interpret dreams,” says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. “The Talmud contains this amazing thought: ‘Dreams are fulfilled according to their...

  • Unsettled (Audio)


    This week's parasha reminds us that it can all change in the blink of an eye, says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. “As you gaze into the lights of the menorah, feel the hope of renewal: that even in the darkest days, the earth will fill with light again.”

  • Holding On a Little Longer (Audio)


    “Sometimes, prevailing is just enduring,” says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. “That is the key lesson of this week’s Torah portion.” When wrestling with his unknown assailant, “Jacob does not relent, hoping that he can hold on long enough for the night to...

  • Giving Thanks in Hard Times (Audio)


    “Have you given thanks this week?” asks Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. “It’s challenging to express gratitude when we are enduring hardship. Take some time this Thanksgiving weekend just to be thankful. Consider the misery in this country... and be grateful...

  • Mourning Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (Audio)


    Mourning the passing of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks z’’l, our Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch said: “Blessed with dazzling brilliance, Rabbi Sacks helped millions answer life’s central questions and dilemmas. And in so doing, he bestowed incomparable honor on Judaism...

  • Jewish Wisdom for Anxious Times (Audio)


    In this week’s parashah, Abraham’s trusted servant devises a test to find a wife for Isaac. “Once Eliezer saw Rebecca, he relaxed his standards,” says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. “He realized that by setting the bar unrealistically high, people will...

  • The Nightmare Ends (Audio)


    “As the Trump presidency ends we must work to strengthen the institutions of democracy,” says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. “It turns out that the protecting walls of American democracy are more fragile than we imagined. In the coming years, we should seek to...

  • At the Crossroads (Audio)


    “I am deeply worried about our country,” says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch on the Shabbat before Election Day. “The American experiment rests on two central propositions that are under withering assault: the right to vote, and the peaceful transfer of power...

  • Gal Gadot As Cleopatra (Audio)


    Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch wades into the controversy surrounding the casting of Gal Gadot as Cleopatra that’s been roiling the Twitterverse: “Why shouldn’t an Israeli portray an ancient Middle Eastern queen? The subtlety and power of art are being lost in...

  • A Different Simchat Torah (Audio)


    “I love Simchat Torah at Stephen Wise. Our celebrations are different this year: we won’t be outside and we won't even do hakafot inside the sanctuary,” says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. “I hope that we remember this year for our success at adapting and...

  • Cave Dwellers (Audio)


    “On this Day of Atonement, we sense our human vulnerability as never before,” says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. “Remain steadfast. Even now, in the dimness of the cave — at this, the most isolated, dark and lonely time of our lives, keep the faith. You will...

  • Mourning Ruth Bader Ginsberg (Audio)


    "Justice was her first name," said our Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch on Rosh Hashanah, mourning the death yesterday of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "How fortunate to be able to devote one's entire professional life to the...

  • Petrified Man (Audio)


    On Rosh Hashanah, Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch delivered a message of hope and moral clarity: “We will never surmount the racial breach in our country without a willingness to step into and repair it. Judaism commands us to take sides. Stand on the right side...

  • When You Go Back Out (Audio)


    On the first Shabbat back in our sanctuary, Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch discusses this week’s parasha, “Ki Tetze” — “When You Go Out.”: “Perhaps because ‘Ki Tetze’ begins with going out to war, much of the rest of the parasha is about striving for peace...

  • The Long Walk to Freedom (Audio)


    “Today is an important day: June 19th, the day that the emancipation finally arrived to the slaves of Galveston. It wasn’t the exact day they were freed, recalled the descendants of the slaves, but that’s the day they told them that they were free,”...

  • George Floyd (Audio)


    Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch discusses George Floyd’s death and our country’s yearning for justice.

  • Moderation (Audio)


    “Judaism was never big on self-denial,” says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch discussing this week’s parashah. “Holiness is expressed through ethical actions. Fundamentalists and extremists distort the mainstream Jewish tradition of seeking moderation, logic and...

  • Freedom and Responsibility (Audio)


    “Passover and Shavuot are linked conceptually, which is why we count down the days,” says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. “You can’t have freedom — Passover — without law — Shavuot. If we do not embrace responsibility, we will not be able to sustain our liberty.”

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