“Your Thoughts: The Cringe”

I’ve been re-listening to This American Life episodes lately, mostly to pass the time while my son naps in the car.  One of my favorite episodes of all time is called “Cringe.”  In between some hilarious stories that make you cringe, Ira Glass says the following: “You cringe in that moment of revelation, when you…

“In the Wilderness”

This past week I was in New York City at a conference called “The First 100 Days: All Rabbis in Transition.”  This was a conference for rabbis, like myself, who are departing a congregation, and beginning at a new one.  Each of us were in a period of transition, as a rabbi of two congregations…

“Your Thoughts: The Israelite Sabbath”

I have discussed in writings and teaching sessions the notion that Shabbat in the Torah has multiple re-interpretations throughout the Canon; some verses attributing the reason for the Sabbath as a way to remember creation, others stating it as a way to remember the redemption from Egypt, and still others in reference to a secular…

“Your Thoughts: Deuteronomy”

Martin Noth, as well as Philip R. Davies (two brilliant biblical scholars), discuss the idea that Deuteronomy was not composed together with the other books of Moses (Genesis-Numbers), but rather that it was written separately and attached to the canon at a very late stage. Davies argues, “Hence the account of the death of Moses…originally stood…

“Do Not Wrong Another”

This week’s parsha is Behar, meaning “on the mountain,” and features the laws and precepts for the Israelites during the time of the Jubilee years.  Every seventh year, the land will observe a Shabbat, a Sabbath of rest; you’re not to work that year, not on your field or on your vines.  And after 49…

“Your Thoughts: The Afterlife”

What would humanity do if we learned there was proof of an afterlife?  The Netflix original “The Discovery” seems to speculate that people would commit suicide en masse, trying to “get there.” Death, after the discovery of overwhelming proof of an afterlife, becomes nothing to fear, but rather a convenient escape from pain, and the chance…

“The Dream of Israel”

“I believe that a wondrous generation of Jews will spring into existence. The Maccabeans will rise again. Let me repeat once more my opening words: The Jews who wish for a State will have it. We shall live at last as free men on our own soil, and die peacefully in our own homes.  The…

“Your Thoughts: In the Face of Evil”

When I was ordained as a rabbi, I was handed a piece of paper with 13 things for a rabbi to embody, by Moses Cardover. They are the following: Forbearance in the face of insult. Patience in enduring evil. Pardon, even to the point of erasing the evil suffered. Total identification with one’s neighbor. Complete…

“Out of Context”

This week our parsha, “K’doshim,” contains a series of mitzvoth aptly named “The Holiness Code;” these mitzvoth begin with the charge by God for we as Jews to seek holiness as a people, as God states, “You shall be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am Holy.”  These are the laws of Leviticus and…

Rabbi’s Corner – Monthly Newsletter – May 2017

It was my duty at this year’s annual meeting, as instructed by the President, to speak to the congregation, outlining our accomplishments of the past year. I am happy to reiterate the points spoken about in this month’s newsletter. We have, this past year, secured almost $50,000 in individual donations, which have been allocated to…

“Your Thoughts: The Killing Fields”

This month I was reading about something or other, following down the “google hole” and I came upon the Cambodian Genocide.  Don’t ask how.  But, genocide is a topic of which I have been fascinated with for many years.  I have served as an intern at Holocaust museums multiple times in my life, studied and…