My friend Danny asked me this morning if I would give a sermon about drumming. That is sort of an unusual request but intriguing, nevertheless, so here is what I assume is the first sermon in history on drumming. (more…)
Labor Day is a time when people say, “The summer’s over. We have to go back to our schedules.” And so Labor Day is something that a lot of people dread. Labor Day is also a nice weekend for people, so for other people it’s something that they like and look forward to. But just about no one really thinks about what Labor Day means. What I’d like to do tonight, and what I’d like to do next Friday night, is to take the idea of Labor Day seriously and to talk about Judaism and the concept of labor and of respecting those who labor for us. (more…)
The nomination of Senator Joseph Lieberman for Vice-President was one of the most important moments in American Jewish history. For the New Haven Jewish community, it was an incredible moment. This is a man whom a lot of us know personally. We see him at the Kosher Deli. For those of us who have been his supporters for years when he ran for offices including Congress, Attorney General and then Senator, well, we were busting with pride and personal excitement. (more…)
The scariest moment that I ever spent in a movie theater was when I realized that the main character in The Sixth Sense had been dead for most of the movie. What scared me was not the movie itself, but the idea that dead people don’t know that they’re dead. I was terrified because I knew, from my experiences with so many people, that I talk to dead people all the time. (more…)
So I’m fifteen years old and I’m in the car with my father and I’m blaring mad. I can still feel it: We’re on Greentree Road in Bethesda, Maryland and my father is driving me against my will to get a haircut. It’s 1968 and I don’t want a haircut. The Beatles are playing on the radio, singing the song “Help!” My father shuts off the radio, claiming that all this long hair nonsense began with those beach boys and so it was their fault to begin with. (more…)
A man who has always been a smart dresser wears a tie that doesn’t match his suit.
A woman who would never go outside without her hair done and her face looking just right walks into a store without make-up.
An aunt who was always fastidious about financial matters sends you a birthday check written in pencil. (more…)
We are in a high school class in U.S. History, somewhere in Connecticut, 2007. A student says, “The slave trade of Africans to America never really happened.” Other students look at him with curiosity. “Yes,” he says, “this whole subject has been grossly exaggerated by American blacks to explain their difficult experience in this country and to win compassion. Africans really wanted to come to America, eagerly and voluntarily got on ships, and came over here, hiring themselves out on plantations for fair wages and good treatment and better lives.”
So here I am in Israel, at a Karaoke pub inside a hotel, drinking my Pepsi Max, standing outside the window, looking in because I can’t stand all of the cigarette smoke. And these beautiful Israeli kids are having a blast, singing all of the hit songs. I know a lot of prayers in Hebrew and a lot of traditional Hebrew songs but I don’t know any of these Israeli hits. (more…)