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 …

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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 …

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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.  …

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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 …

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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 …

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MLK Shabbat 2016

Tonight we welcome our friends from the People’s Community Baptist Church of Silver Spring.  In August my wife and I were welcomed by Pastor Robinson and the members of his church and it is now our pleasure to have the privilege of reciprocating your gracious hospitality.   I went there after the shootings in Charleston, …

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Does God Have a Favorite in the Belmont Stakes?

Chanukah December 12, 2015   I want to share with you an explanation I wrote of the Chanukah story which puts it in contemporary terms.   When the Macabees, or as they were called by some, the HUCKABEES, came marching into Jerusalem they went up the HILARY to the temple, and found that the SANTORUM …

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Jacob: The First Syrian Refugee

November 21, 2015   We read today about the heart wrenching story of a family of Syrian refugees. Escaping from their oppressive environment, from the deceit and deception that they have been subjected to, they decide to leave the dangerous country where they live. They set out across treacherous terrain seeking a better life, risking …

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Nature vs. Nurture

November 14, 2015   Today’s Torah portion offers a fascinating insight into the age old question: nature vs. nurture. One of the oldest ongoing arguments in the history of psychology, each side in the debate raises equally valid points about which is more significant in explaining and determining a person’s personality and actions. Despite numerous …

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Why Sandy Koufax Still Matters

November 7, 2015   This week marks the 20th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.   The anniversary was the source of much speculation about lu yehi – “what if”, or “if only.”  People wonder what would have happened had Rabin not been shot, especially in terms of relations with the Palestinians.  The conversation …

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