The words I am about to share will be riddled with controversy. Some will squirm in their seats and I will squirm here on the bima but they are words I must express. I have never shied away from the truth, even if disturbing, even if risky, even if politically incorrect. Jeremiah many years ago lamented his prophetic appointment by crying out, “Vehaya b’libi ke’ish bo’eret atzur be’atzmotai. … V’niglayti kalcheil, v’lo uchal.” (“God’s word was like a raging fire in my heart, shut up in my bones. … I could not hold it in. I was helpless.”) Jeremiah’s messages were blunt and harsh. He was beaten up by our ancestors and repeated attempts on his life were made but his words remain. Though no Jeremiah, I share his irrepressible passion for saying what needs to be said. I am also confident that you will be kinder to me then were the hostile and homicidal Jews of old to Jeremiah. I made a commitment to myself when I began the rabbinate that I would never talk down to my congregation, nor patronize them, nor treat them with disrespect from the bima. You have heard over the years sermons that many thought were hyperbolic, over the top, but we at Etz Chaim have always been ahead of the curve. I am proud of that. So please understand, it is the respect I have for you that compels me to say what must be said and what must be heard.