My Talk at the JNF National Conference

I want to speak to you today about a love affair, a love affair that may very well be the longest, most continuous love affair in history.  Like most love stories, it entails a pledge to be loyal to each other forever, through good times and bad.   Only it is the story, not of …

Continue reading

The Tragedy in Orlando

I turn to our tradition for guidance, comfort and wisdom when looking for answers and trying to make some semblance of sense of some senseless act. The Torah’s assertion that each and every human being is created b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God is a clarion call to treat people, all people, regardless of …

Continue reading

“Everyone Has a Name”

June 11, 2016   This morning’s Torah reading contains the census and includes names of the leaders and members of tribes in the wilderness. Hearing the recitation of names reminds me of the poem by one of Israel’s most popular and beloved poets, Zelda Schneurson Mishkovksy, known simply as Zelda. She wrote a poem widely …

Continue reading

Confirmation Class Message

June 4, 2016   In October of this past year I led a delegation of rabbis who are the heads of the various movements of Judaism for a series of meetings in Israel with top Israeli government officials. In a span of just two days we held 14 meetings, culminating with our last one, with …

Continue reading

Yiddish Scores Again!

May 28, 2016   It happened again. Just this week. The final round of the annual Scripps National Spelling bee required contestants to be able to spell a Yiddish word for a traditional Jewish food. Jairam Hathwar, (not a “member of the tribe”), a 13-year-old from Corning, New York, was asked in one of the …

Continue reading

Aharei Mot: After the Holocaust

May 7, 2016   In the Jewish tradition names are given by parents to perpetuate the memory of a loved one, or to convey some kind of meaning and connection to loved ones. But the name for each week’s Torah portion is somewhat happenstance.  It is derived from the first significant words of the parasha.  …

Continue reading

Shalom Auslander’s “Fallen Jew”

Shalom Auslander’s column, “A ‘fallen Jew’ on what to read this Passover” is so full of mistakes and misconceptions it more properly should have appeared in the column on the same page of the Outlook section entitled “myths.” It could have been called “Auslander’s myths about Passover,” and refuted his points.   Contrary to what …

Continue reading

Shabbat HaGadol: To Kitniyot or Not?

April 16, 2016   Today is known as “Shabbat HaGadol” because it is the Sabbath before Passover. Because Passover is such an important holiday, with so many regulations and restrictions, and it is so widely celebrated by Jews the world over, the Sabbath preceding it gets special recognition. Unlike the other special shabbatot of the …

Continue reading

How Can We Forget When We Are Commanded to Remember

Shabbat Zachor March 19, 2016   A basic principle of both American and Jewish law is intent.   Take for example the story of the guy who called 911 while playing golf with his wife. He tells the police to come right away because he hit his wife in the head with a golf ball …

Continue reading