November 1st: A New Perspective

When I started blogging, it was to hone my skills as a writer and wordsmith. As I’ve grown into my profession, it has proved a valuable skill. But the opportunity to write an extra 500, 600, 700 words each week on any given week doesn’t match my needs as a blogger anymore. Frankly, this blog…

October 18th: The Emptiness of “Thoughts and Prayers”

Visiting my student pulpit this weekend, I introduced the mourner’s kaddish, the prayer for those thinking about the death of a loved one, by bringing my congregation’s attention to those who have lost their lives to natural disasters in recent weeks. Fires have ravaged the west coast, while the memories of those lost to hurricanes…

October 3rd: Best MLB Cap Logos, Ranked

Over the course of the baseball season, Todd Radom, a graphic artist and sports fan, ranked the top 30 MLB logos of all time on Buster Olney’s Baseball Tonight podcast. After every pick, there was, of course, plenty of discussion and debate about whether or not the logo selected was a good call or a…

Rosh Hashanah Morning Sermon 2017

Below is a transcript of the sermon given by Austin Zoot at Temple Oheb Shalom in Sandusky, Ohio on September 21st, 2017. When the year 5776 began two years ago, I was living in Israel, beginning my rabbinical school journey. During that year, I was learning about the basics of our faith, the history of our…

September 14th: Queen of the Hill

I’ve never liked Jemele Hill very much. She likes to talk about basketball and football, while I’m much more of a baseball and hockey fan. She and her co-host, Michael Smith, have taken up the mantel of discussing race as a lens for sports, and it just hasn’t been done as well as I would…

September 6th: True American Greatness

We were promised in 2016 that Donald Trump would “Make America Great Again.” At the time, plenty of people wanted to answer a few questions. During which period was the greatness Trump wanted to return to? What is it that makes America less than great right now? How do we do this exactly? It is…

September 5th: What is a “Traditional Family” Anyway?

This weekend, I took the bait, and clicked on a link for a political personality test. It was a 70 question quiz that was going to show me how my political beliefs fit onto a spectrum of ideology. One of the questions stopped me in my tracks. I was asked whether or not I believe…

September 3rd: What Lakewood Wouldn’t Do, We Have To Do

Religion can be a way for the world to use a set of morals and ethics to right the wrongs that plague us as a society. Religion can also  be one of the dividing facts that forces us to confront our different identities and struggle between people. When religious institutions interact with the world around…

August 23rd: Football Can’t be Football Anymore

During a preseason football game last week, two of the game’s most exciting young players made a powerful statement. While teammate Khalil Mack kneeled for the national anthem, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr placed a hand on his shoulder, a symbolic gesture of support. This week, about a dozen Cleveland Browns kneeled in a prayer circle…

August 17th: Is This REALLY Necessary?

I never thought I would have to write a blog post condemning Nazis. If I had, I never thought it would be quite as hard as it is right now. What really is there to say? You type a sentence like “Nazis are bad,” and you think it sounds so ridiculous. OF COURSE Nazis are…