Judith Edidin Scolnic

This is my eulogy for my mother, Judith Edidin Scolnic, given at Beth El of Montgomery County on Jan. 13, 2022

In one of the most popular movies of all time, half the population of the universe disappears in what is called “The Snap.” Thanos, the personification of death, snaps his fingers. The people are there, and then in a flash, they’re gone. (more…)

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(Sermon given on the 75th Anniversary Shabbat)

It’s a famous story in the Torah. There are two brothers, twins, Esau and Jacob.

Esau goes out hunting and he doesn’t kill anything,

and he’s really tired, and really hungry, and when he comes back to the camp,

he sees his brother Jacob cooking something. He wants what’s in the pot,

and Jacob offers to give it to him in exchange for the birthright. (more…)

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Cancel Culture

There was a special gift that G-d gave us at the dawn of creation. It was the gift of speech. Speaking is an important part of being human.

There is a famous story in the Torah that tells us how we almost lost that Divine gift. The people after the Flood built the Tower of Babel. And they were punished. We know the generation of the Flood sinned and was therefore punished. (more…)

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The TBS Book Club

When bad things happen, you must try to turn them into good things. So our shul took the terrible, lonely, bizarre months of the pandemic and came up with programs that promoted togetherness. (more…)

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Rosh Hashanah

“Let the old year end and the new year and its blessings begin!” Certainly, this year, these words resonate for us.

In the last year, some of us suffered and recovered from COVID, while others sadly lost loved ones. Many of us have stayed physically well but have had to deal with anxiety or depression. Some of us have lost jobs or economic security. Others were worried about their kids, their young adult children or the elders they could not even visit in person. There is a sense of collective grief over all that has been and may be lost, as well as anxiety over the divisions in our society. (more…)

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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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