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Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater
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RABBI JOSHUA LEVINE GRATER has been the spiritual leader of the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center in Pasadena, California, since 2003. He was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1999 and served 2 years as a Marshall T. Meyer Rabbinic Fellow at Congregation B'nai Jeshurun.

He serves on the advisory board of J-Street and is one of the co-chairs of the Los Angeles J-Street Rabbinic Cabinet. He is on the board of Jewish World Watch and the advisory committee for Just Vision. He is a co-founder and currently a co-chair of Abrahamic Faiths Peacemaking Initiative (AFPI), an interfaith working group based in Los Angeles.

He is involved in social justice causes, often as part of interfaith coalitions, at the local, national, and international level. He teaches Yoga and Torah, is trained as a Jewish meditation teacher, plays percussion, and once worked as a producer for a hard rock radio station in Los Angeles. He lives happily in Pasadena with his wife, Franci, and two children.

Entries by Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater

Learning From Abraham: Why I Stand With the Nurses

(6) Comments | Posted November 10, 2014 | 3:46 PM

Yesterday I visited the hospital. While this is not remarkable in and of itself, as I visit people in the hospital all of the time as part of my job, yesterday I went for a different reason. I was invited to stand with the nurses of Huntington Memorial Hospital, in...

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J Street: Why Nuance and Complexity is Breeding Success

(2) Comments | Posted October 6, 2013 | 9:27 PM

I am back from J Street's fourth national conference in Washington, DC, attended by over 2800 people, including 900 college students, from around the United States, Israel and other parts of the world. If there is one thing that J Street's success has contributed to the conversation in the American...

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Do Not Squander Your Life: Gun Reform Now!

(86) Comments | Posted September 18, 2013 | 1:58 PM

(Like many of my colleagues, in Los Angeles and around the nation, I incorporated gun-control issues into one of my High Holy Day sermons. This is an edited excerpt from my Yom Kippur sermon.)

"May I respectfully remind you, life and death are of supreme importance, time passes quickly and...

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Isaiah Calling: A Fresh Take on Israeli-Palestinian Peacemaking

(33) Comments | Posted May 31, 2013 | 12:47 PM

Something is not working. The impasse that faces us in trying to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict needs a fresh approach. After being involved with Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking efforts for the past 18 years, and after four months of living in Jerusalem seeing the current situation up close, I am feeling called...

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What I Learned About Social Justice From the Higgs Boson

(5) Comments | Posted September 27, 2012 | 5:24 PM

A version of this piece was delivered as my Yom Kippur sermon.

A famous story in the Talmud (Menachot 29b) recounts the following: Moses once went up on high and saw God embellishing the letters of the Torah with fancy crowns. Moses asked, "What is with the crowns, Holy One?"...

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A Sacred Duty: Ending the Injustice of Gun Violence

(50) Comments | Posted August 1, 2012 | 11:37 AM

In a thoughtful Los Angeles Times op-ed published earlier this month, Michael Kinsley asked readers to consider which of the injustices we accept today will seem utterly and unthinkably outrageous to people living 20 years from now.

We are convinced that today's too-easy access to lethal weapons...

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The End of the World As We Know It, See Pg. 3

(3) Comments | Posted June 27, 2012 | 2:17 PM

This piece was adapted from a recent sermon delivered in services.

On our recent synagogue camping trip, I posed the issue, from a spiritual perspective, that on page 3 of the LA Times Extra section a few weeks ago, below the fold, was a story about how a large group...

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Speaking Consciously in the Age of Twitter

(0) Comments | Posted May 14, 2012 | 6:20 PM

My birthday is next weekend. I will be 42. Relatively speaking, that is young, I know, but it is still always getting further and further away from the age of the high schoolers I teach every Sunday, and the b'nai mitzvah kids I help train each week. To them, 42...

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Israel at 64: Love is Complex

(255) Comments | Posted April 26, 2012 | 11:36 PM

Paul McCartney worried for all us when he famously sang, "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64?" When we love someone deeply, of course age doesn't matter, but there is a fear, when we are younger, that love can wear off, that the feelings...

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What 'The Artist' Can Teach Us About Prayer

(7) Comments | Posted April 16, 2012 | 12:02 PM

Since "The Artist" recently won big at the Oscars, I have been intrigued by the notion of silent film. To be sure, I am no movie buff or even an appreciator of fine films, but trends interest me and how a movie with no words won the biggest awards in...

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Top 10 List of Enslavements

(6) Comments | Posted April 4, 2012 | 5:42 PM

David Letterman has his Top 10, Sports Center has its Top 10, Time has its Top 100 and lots of others have lists too. So, rather than write another article on slavery and the serious issues facing our world, as the Jewish community approaches Passover and as the Christian community...

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Managing the Clock: What Sports Can Teach Us About Life

(1) Comments | Posted February 5, 2012 | 8:04 AM

With Super Bowl Sunday this weekend, I have the opportunity to talk about two of my favorite things and tie them together: sports and prayer. Having once wanted to be a sports broadcaster and news anchor, as well as a radio disc jockey, my family, especially my kids, have come...

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Loving the Occupiers and the Bankers in Our Midst

(2) Comments | Posted January 13, 2012 | 3:45 PM

The names in these scenarios have been changed for the sake of the people's privacy.

Martin worked for 30 years for a local electrical company, made a good living, saved some money, was able to buy a house, send his kids to college. When it came time to retire,...

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Put a Little Love in Your Heart: Jewish Wisdom for Global Healing

(1) Comments | Posted December 15, 2011 | 10:13 PM

When my kids were in kindergarten, they sang the song, "Put a Little Love in Your Heart," and it has became a family song ever since. We usually do it as a joke, as they were quite cute and had some fun dance moves to go with it, but as...

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Occupy Thanksgiving

(2) Comments | Posted November 22, 2011 | 2:31 PM

Peter Holden is a 92-year-old African American man who grew up in the Jim Crow South, raised in North Carolina. I saw a video recently on the New York Times where he talked about how in the time of the depression blacks and whites came together to help one another,...

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The Torah, The Constitution, and the 4th of July

(16) Comments | Posted July 2, 2011 | 10:00 AM

In his speech that became known as "The Spirit of Liberty," delivered in New York City's Central Library, in the midst of World War II, the preeminent judge and judicial philosopher, Learned Hand, asked, "What do we mean when we say that first of all we seek liberty? I often...

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President Obama: Don't Just Talk Peace, Make Peace

(14) Comments | Posted May 20, 2011 | 3:03 PM

There is an idea in my life as a rabbi that seems to always apply whenever I give a challenging, controversial or "political" sermon: I know I have succeeded when folks on both the left and right sides of the spectrum are upset! I always attempt to provide balance, even...

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Repairing Relations and Reflecting on the Death of our Enemies

(1) Comments | Posted May 8, 2011 | 4:20 PM

I thought I had my ideas in order for what I wanted to say on bin Laden, and then I heard Father Greg Boyle at the Pasadena Mayor's Prayer Breakfast yesterday. He got me believing that hope in this world is possible when we love one another, when we build...

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Prime Minister Netanyahu: Be Serious in Embarrassing Times

(9) Comments | Posted April 28, 2011 | 9:08 PM

We live in embarrassingly serious times. Embarrassing because we are forced to deal with the idiocy of such nonsense as the "birth certificate" crowd, serious because it is distracting us from the direly important work that needs to be done. Embarrassing because more people will care about the royal...

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Remembering the Triangle Fire 100 Years Later

(4) Comments | Posted March 25, 2011 | 4:10 PM

I grew up in the garment industry. For most of my childhood, my father was a clothing salesman and later, had a small manufacturing business too. He started his career at Macy's in NYC, later working for Wrangler, Levi, Summit Sportswear and finally, opening his own business, The Grater...

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