Rabbi Scolnic shares his favorite sermons.

My Song At My Roast

We recently had an event called Roast the Rabbi. I hope that it will not sound bad if I say that it was a great night in every way. We had nearly 300 people and they were all smiling and laughing. The committee worked very hard for a long time and every detail was perfect. At the end of the evening, I never said a word, but my grandson Avi, in a tuxedo that matched mine, responded for me, rebutting his brother Alexander’s biting indictment of my humor. I sang this song to him, but really to thank everyone who was there:

G-d Bless America or Is Our Flag Still There?

God bless America, land that I love
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with the light from above

From the mountains to the prairies
To the oceans white with foam
God bless America, my home sweet home

Lox and The Meaning of Jewish Identity, or Off On The Road To Morroco

Do you know what the oldest word is?

I mean the oldest word in any language known to humankind.

You might guess “Mama,” or “Dada,” or “Baba,” but you’d be wrong.

The answer is a word that would not have been in my first thousand guesses. I ask you again: What is the oldest word in any language known to us that has continued to be used with the same pronunciation and meaning for 8000 years straight? Are you ready?

Thy Sea Is So Great And My Boat Is So Small

I’m visiting someone who’s in a rehab facility because she’s addicted to a prescription drug. She tells me that she’s doing a little better, and she’s thinking about a prayer that they gave her in one of the groups. She reads me a few lines:

Thy sea, O G-d, so great,
My boat so small.

Thy winds, O G-d, so strong,
So slight my sail.

Thy world, O G-d, so fierce,
And I so frail.

How Are You Feeling, Oceans?

When Jewish people have happy festivals, we sing the Hallel, a group of psalms of thanksgiving. And one of those psalms begins: Mah Lecha Hayam, which means, “What’s going on with you, Sea? How are you feeling, Sea?

How is the sea feeling these days? How are our oceans doing?

The Top-rated Restaurant in London or Whatever Happened To The Truth?

This is the 37th year that I’ve spoken with you on the High Holidays, and over the years, I’ve talked a lot about the dangers of anti-Semitism. And every time, at least some of you have let me have it. Just last year, when I warned you that things were getting worse, I was told that I was paranoid because there is no anti-Semitism in America. I just kept saying: “There is a lot of hatred out there.” But of course, I wanted to be wrong about my fears.

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