Turn On The Lights

I would be willing to bet that most people, when asked what the symbol of the state of Israel is, would respond “the Magen David – the Star of David.” But while the Star of David adorns the flag of Israel, the fact is, it is not the symbol of the state of Israel! The symbol is found in the Book of Numbers, in the Torah portion, Behaalotecha – “to kindle,” kindling the menorah in the Tabernacle. (more…)

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The Message of the Pandemic

The earth does not belong to us. It belongs to G-d. This is what the Torah teaches us. We are but temporary sojourners on this earth.

Now think about the corona virus and the terrible pandemic that turned our lives upside down. People ask me on a regular basis, “Rabbi, why is this happening? Why is G-d doing this to us?. What is the message of the pandemic?” I have heard the same answer from numerous people. “G-d is trying to tell us something about our relationship to the earth, and our relationship to nature. Stop!” (more…)

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Muting and Unmuting

People ask me, every day, what were the hard parts of this last year for me as a rabbi. I have to tell you that while this has been a very difficult year for all of us, I have lot less to complain about than many others. But I do want to tell you about an issue that has affected me as a rabbi every single day and night of the last year, that continues to puzzle me: the issue of muting and unmuting. (more…)

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The Four Stages of One Child

Parents and children. If you’re a parent, you think all the time about your kid and your relationship with him or her. Parents and children work hard at getting along with each other and some times are better than others. But it’s always a big deal in our lives. (more…)

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Pride Goes Before The Fall

There is a Midrash about Pharaoh meeting Moses at the edge of the Nile River, before G-d
turned the water to blood. Why would Pharaoh, King of Egypt, be at the water’s edge at the crack of dawn? Kings like to sleep late. The Midrash explains that Pharaoh went early in the morning to meet his bodily needs, before other people awoke. He saw himself as a g-d, and he did not want people to see that he was merely human, with the same needs as every other human. (more…)

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Rabbi’s Message February 2021

I’m writing these words a few days after the horrible events at the Capitol. At this very moment, the House of Representatives is voting on a second impeachment of the President of the United States. I have no idea what will happen in the next few hours or days. By the time you read this, G-d willing, we will have inaugurated a new President without any further violence. (more…)

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Blur Day

A day during the pandemic is a different kind of day. You don’t know what day of the week it is because every day is Blurday.
How do we cope?
Let’s be very basic. How can I distinguish between the other days of the week? There is an old Yiddish song about differentiating days of the week: (more…)

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Goals

A recent Bat Mitzvah, Tema Caplan, is quite the athlete and asked me to give a sermon at her ceremony about “goals.” The goal, in athletics, seems to be winning. You want to win the game. Every sport has its goal and winners  have a plan to win.

But let’s talk about goals differently and think about our goals in life. (more…)

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Rocking in the Red Zone Or Dealing with Disruption

You’re walking home from school.

You’re coming home from work.

You’ve lived here since the day you were born.

This is where you grew up.

This is your community.

This is your home.

As you’re walking home, suddenly, you hear a siren. (more…)

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The Best Part of Waking Up, And the Worst:

Jewish People, Coffee, And The Rule Of Law

I drink a lot. I don’t drink alcohol of any kind, but I try to drink more water than ever. And every day, I drink coffee. I have long days and coffee really helps. Recently, I’ve even learned to distinguish good coffee from not so good coffee. (more…)

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