Israel, Us and the Rest of the World

Rosh Hashana Day 2 September 26, 2014   The Yiddish language, rich in so many expressions and nuances, makes an interesting distinction between different kinds of sighs. A wordless expression of sadness is called a “krech.”  A krech comes from deep inside the kishke. Although it usually is just a sound, it may or may …

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The Heart of the Nation is Broken

The heart of the nation is broken.  A country all too familiar with tragedy once again is mourning the loss of three of its sons.  Three beautiful, innocent children whose short lives were filled with mitzvot.  Who cannot feel the pain and anguish of the grieving parents whose children were murdered? Their cries pierce the …

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Not Forgetting What We are Supposed to Remember

Shabbat Zachor March 15, 2014   I have always felt that Zachor, the name associated with this shabbat captures in a single word the essential moral imperative of what it means to be a Jew. We are commanded Zachor:  Remember.   But what are we commanded to remember?   On Passover and at other times we …

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What will Hindsight Tell us about Our Negotiations with Iran?

November 16, 2013   The saying that hindsight is 20/20 can refer to a wide variety of situations. It can pertain to historical events, to making tough personal decisions, financial investments, or career choices.  The phrase applies to almost any situation.  It means:  if only we would know after a decision has been made what …

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Ambassador Michael Oren

You may recall the old Superman comic that used to open with the words, “It’s a bird.  It’s a plane. No, It’s Superman!” The description could aptly be used to describe Michael Oren.  Although he is not Superman, it could be said of him, “He’s a scholar.  He’s a television star.  No, He’s an ambassador.”  …

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A Plea To Rabbis: Be Positive

The stakes are high.   Let’s be honest. For most of the people who attend High Holidays services this is the only time they will be in shul the whole year.  It might be the only sermon they will hear.   It is our chance to inspire and uplift them.  It is our chance to …

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Looking Back at Auschwitz and Forward to Israel

April 13, 2013   Walking through Auschwitz a few weeks ago with members of our synagogue I came face to face for the first time in my life with the place that has become a synonym for the Holocaust. The German form of the word for the nearby Polish town, Oswiecim has become a metaphor …

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Pillar of Defense

December 15, 2012   The term used by the IDF, the Israel Defense Forces for its recent campaign in Gaza was Amud Anan, which was translated into English as “Pillar of Defense.”  The translation is not accurate, and although I wish the translation would have been more faithful to the original Hebrew, I can understand …

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Report from Israel

I arrived in Israel yesterday, Monday as a member of a delegation of conservative rabbis and lay leaders from the US.  I had not planned to be a part of this trip, sponsored by Masorti, the conservative movement in Israel.  However after the shellings in Israel and the Pillar of Defense campaign by the IDF, …

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Christians in Israel

In 2012 I wrote letters objecting to the CBS 60 Minutes story about Christians in Israel and a column by Fareed Zakaria.  My response and letters follow:      I am writing to express my outrage over the extremely biased reporting in the recent story by Bob Simon on 60 Minutes about the status of …

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