SERMON: The Situation …

There is one word – a Hebrew word – which over the years has taken on a specific meaning. The word used to be considered neutral but now it’s considered a negative. The word is “matzav” – literal translation: “situation.” The word used to be used quite innocently. One person would say to another, “Mah hamatzav – what’s up?” It’s a question that didn’t even need an answer! Or, one Israeli would say to the other: “Yesh matzav” which can mean, “Something’s going on.” If an Israeli Prime Minister were to deliver a State of the Union address, it would be called “Matzav ha-umi – the nation’s situation.” But today, the word “matzav” refers to only one situation … and that is Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians. According to Ruvik Rosenthal, a language columnist for one of Israel’s newspapers, “The word “matzav” is a word with a negative connotation … according to the dictionary definition it is a neutral word, but in daily usage it has a connotation of tension, sadness, problems.” READ MORE

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Bring Back Our Boys

On Tuesday, June 17th, I was supposed to have a dialogue about the current landscape of Israeli politics with Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett. Regrettably, due to the current situation, that program has been cancelled.

If you are in the Baltimore area, please join us at Beth Tfiloh Congregation on Tuesday evening for the recitation of special prayers for the safe return of the three Israeli young men at Mincha/Maariv services, beginning at 6:40 pm in the Epstein Chapel.

What else can you do?

Petition the White House to help secure the safe release of these young men:
Use all means necessary to facilitate the safe return of the 3 abducted teens in Israel, including one American citizen.
Demand the release of 16 year-old American student Naftali Frenkel kidnappers by Palestinian Terrorists.

For more information on the current situation, see the following:

I saw this article last week, 88 Senators Sign Letter Calling Hamas-Abas Gov’t a “Setback to Peace”, describing the bipartisan letter sent to President Obama which was led by Senator Ben Cardin. It’s even more true –  and more important for you to read — today.

SERMON: You Wouldn’t Believe the Things They’re Saying About the Jews!

It was the Gentile prophet Bilaam who proclaimed those immortal and, unfortunately, true words regarding the Jews: “Hein am levaded yishkon – behold they are a nation destined to dwell alone.” In many ways the state of Israel is the most isolated one on earth. It is surrounded by neighbors, many of whom do not recognize its right to exist, and who have no economic or diplomatic relations with it. And even with the two neighbors with which Israel does have a peace treaty, very few of their people visit Israel. On the international scene there is a movement to boycott Israel. Well known entertainers like Dustin Hoffman, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, Elvis Costello, Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana and, of course, Jane Fonda refuse to step foot in Israel. No member of Britain’s royal family has ever paid a state visit to Israel. So when popular international icons do visit, that is big news in Israel! In recent weeks, Israel has had three such visitors … there was Justin Timberlake, who immediately won over the hearts of all Israel when he paid a moving visit to the Western Wall and began his jam-packed Tel Aviv concert with the words, “Yalla balagan” – slang words known to all Israelis as meaning, “Let’s go for it … let’s get the show on the road!” And you don’t get much bigger than the Rolling Stones, and they won over the hearts of all Israelis when they delayed the start of their show, which took place on the first night of Shavuot … they delayed it so that their Orthodox fans would have time to drive to the concert when Yom Tov was over, and they introduced themselves by saying: “Anachanu ha-avanim hamitgalgalot – we are the Rolling Stones!” READ MORE

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Children in Our Sanctuaries

I couldn’t have said it better!

Our sanctuaries are not sanctuaries from children. They are sanctuaries for children.”

Children in the Sanctuary


Jordanian Commentators Demolish Studio While Arguing over Syria War

I am not sure I know why I am sending this out … but I really think it’s worth watching as we usher in the peace of the Shabbos.

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SERMON: There Are Certain Things You Just Don’t Say! Israel at 66

There are some things you just don’t say! It’s as simple as that! Donald Sterling is learning exactly what I mean. Donald Sterling, born to Jewish parents named Tokowitz, is the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team. He was caught on tape telling his girlfriend not to come to basketball games with black people. This is not the first time that Sterling has gotten into trouble for what he said, but this may very well be the last time. Barack Obama – from Malaysia – issued a condemnation of what Sterling said! And Sterling is to be condemned for what he said! It matters not that next month he was supposed to be honored by the National Association of Colored People. It matters not that what he said was said “off the record” in a private conversation and his words were taped without his knowledge, perhaps violating his privacy. It doesn’t matter! Yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion but when your opinion is ugly there are certain things you just don’t say! READ MORE

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What NOT to say…

BT's Blue & White Shabbat

Blue & White Shabbat @ Beth Tfiloh Cong., 5/3, 9 am

This Shabbat will be Blue & White Shabbat at Beth Tfiloh Congregation, in honor of Israel’s 66th birthday. I’ll tell you why “There Are Certain Things You Just Don’t Say! Israel at 66.” Get all the details about Blue & White Shabbat in our Facebook event.

And speaking of Israel (I do that a lot,) this article, Land without peace: Why Abbas went to the U.N., by Charles Krauthammer, is just as relevant now as it was 15 years ago when he wrote it.  I hope to see you Sunday night when Dr. Krauthammer will be our speaker at the Dahan Annual Lecture, taking place at 7:30 pm in Beth Tfiloh Congregation’s Dahan Sanctuary.


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