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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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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The Next Right Thing

I bet a lot of you have never seen Frozen II, the hit sequel to the Disney animated movie about two sisters, Elsa and Anna. But I have three granddaughters and I have seen the film and listened to the score many, many times.
Towards the end of the movie, Anna is desperate with grief: She thinks that her beloved sister Elsa is dead and now her best friend Olaf the Snowman has literally melted away in her arms. She curls up in a cave and almost succumbs to the grief and sadness she feels over the deaths of her two loved ones. It is the darkest moment of the movie. (more…)

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Your Money Or Your Life! Or Essential Services

Have you ever heard of Benjamin Kubelsky? If not, you may have heard of him by his show business name, Jack Benny. He was one of the most famous comedians of the 20th century.
In the most famous skit he ever did, a robber threatens him:
“This is a stickup: Your money or your life!”
Benny is silent.
“Look Bud, I said, “Your money or your life.””
Benny says, “I’m thinking it over.” (more…)

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