About Dr. Joel Roffman

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Dr. Joel Roffman has created 39 blog entries.

Re’eh 5778 – Judaism and the “Happiness Curve”

In the podcast “Hidden Brain,” psychologist Azim Sharif discussed how religion started, thousands of years ago, as a means of social cohesion. The early pagan religions relied on the threat of supernatural punishment as a means of inducing behavior that kept groups together.  As social groups enlarged from maybe one or two dozen people to […]

Chukkat 5778 – Roffman Goes Rogue: A Death Decree that Isn’t; A Mistake by the Sages, and More

Last Shabbat, I was having lunch with the Steiners right here. When I told Melsissa the title of my d’var for this week, “Roffman Goes Rogue,” she said, “Ha! Again?,” and Ron said, “Why am I not surprised?” Well, sometimes I do come at this from an unconventional direction. Many years of reading about decision-making, […]

Kehillah 5 Year Anniversary

Thank you for the honor of addressing you on this very special milestone in the life of our kehillah.

As you know by now, I always try to extract lessons from the Torah even though I don’t necessarily take the words literally. I don’t view the Torah as a history book, but rather, it is the […]

Kodoshim – 5778 – Leviticus 18:22 – Does the Conservative Movement Have it Right?

In the late 1990’s, I was teaching middle schoolers at Shearith’s religious school. Before class one Sunday morning, I stopped the rabbi in the hall and told him that the time had come – I was going to discuss a really big issue that day – the elephant in the room. The rabbi had a […]


Mishpatim 5778 – Nudging and Nagging: What to Make of all these Mishpatim?

There are many important items that we could discuss in today’s parashah, which is packed with laws. Today, I wish to discuss some overriding themes and some very specific laws or sets of laws, and how they apply today.

I have heard it said by non-Jews that Judaism in a religion of laws and rules, and […]


Re’eh 5777 – The Mitzvah of Finding Joy

Americans as a group tend to be an optimistic people. This has been a salient trait of Americans throughout our history. Heck, our founders and first citizens must have been incredibly optimistic to put up with what they had to put up with. Not only do Americans generally look forward to the future, but some […]


Bechuchotai 5777 – Reaping What We Sow – No Parsing of Words is Necessary

Some years back, I was riding in an organized bike ride in Waxahatchie. The ride had hundreds of riders, and it was a warm and windy day. I was going along with the wind at my back – at a really nice clip. The realization descended on me gradually that I was on the wrong […]


Re’eh 5775  – Sowing the seeds of happiness and enjoying its fruit

A month or so ago, I was riding my bike with Ephraim Weiss. Ephraim is the 11-year-old son of Simma and Shelley Weiss, friends of our congregation. As some of you know, I’m mentoring him so he can get his Boy Scout merit badge in cycling. As we took a break on that cloudy, drizzly […]


Five Seconds on My Bike. How Judaism Helped Me Cope with Cancer

Seven months ago, I stood before you at the end of Shabbat services and told you that I had cancer and that an MRI showed that it had spread to my bone marrow. A bone biopsy that Monday would define the exact type of cancer I had. The only group setting in which I made […]