Prof. Jack Wertheimer is one of the most noted and important Jewish sociologists in America. His research and writings play an important role in the decision making of the leaders of the American Jewish community. This, despite the fact that he oftentimes disagrees with the leaders! His is a voice that is heard, and I hope you will avail yourselves of the opportunity to hear him on Wednesday evening, October 22 when he will be our guest speaker at the Stanley Z. Penn Memorial Lecture to be held at 7:30 PM in the Beth Tfiloh Rosen Arts Center/Mintzes Theater.
Below are some of his recent writings that will give you a taste of the depth of this man’s understanding of the American Jewish community. The future of the Jewish community in the U.S. is not guaranteed. Come and find out for yourself what are some of the problems, and what are some of the solutions.
It has long been said that “things go better with Coke!” But that is not the way things are these days. For the past 10 years sales of Coca Cola have been on the decline. The name Coca Cola and Coke may be amongst the world’s most famous, but it has not been helping to sell the soda. But this year Coca Cola came up with a new campaign called “Share a Coke”… a campaign that has reversed the decade long decline in U.S. Coca Cola drinking. What did Coca Cola do? It started putting “names” on their bottles: Adam and Eve and Michael and Shawn and Charles … hundreds of different names. And people went out looking to buy a bottle with their own name on it. If they couldn’t find one, they would go to Ebay where a bottle of Coke with their name on the label might sell for as much as $50! The Coke P.R. people are astounded at the success of this merchandising gimmick. But it reminds them – and all of us – how much we connect with our own names, and how important those names are to us. READ MORE
Before I deliver my sermon, I ask your forgiveness. I ask your forgiveness for the story I am about to tell. The story is inappropriate to tell publicly and even worse for a rabbi to be telling it in a synagogue … worse than that, to be telling it on Yom Kippur–the holiest day of the year. And worst of all to be telling it in these sacred moments before Yizkor. But I have to tell the story because it’s the only way I can fully relate to you my physical condition and state of mind as I am about to celebrate my 70th birthday. READ MORE
We have heard enough bad news in the past year, so on this, the holiest night of the year, I bring you good news. Earlier this year the Anti-Defamation League conducted the largest ever world-wide survey of anti-Semitism. The survey covered over 100 countries around the globe containing about 85% of the world’s population. According to the results of the survey, 26% – or a little over one billion people in this world – have anti-Semitic attitudes. That’s the good news! What makes this news good are several factors: it’s only 26% … it’s only one billion people! But there was something else about the survey that, for me, was really good news. Of those one billion with anti-Semitic beliefs, 70% had never actually met a Jew! In Spain, for example, a country filled with anti-Semites, 20% of them could not even give a reason why they hate Jews! For me, all this was great news. READ MORE
I hope you have an easy fast and if you are in the neighborhood, feel free to stop in at Beth Tfiloh Congregation for our most moving and inspiring Neilah service at 6 PM on Saturday afternoon.
My sermon topics are:
- Kol Nidre: “Are they all out to get us?”
- Yom Kippur: “My Bucket List”
In the meantime, here are a few things you never knew about Yom Kippur.
Time to get ready for the Big Day! Read The science of Yom Kippur fasting.
Every year on Rosh Hashanah, through the Torah and Haftorah readings, our tradition has us focus on three women: in the Torah readings, Sarah, our first mother, and in the Haftorah readings: Chana – who taught us how to pray, and Rachel, who prays for us. On this Rosh Hashanah I want to focus on three Jewish women who did all that for us this year – and so much more. They have something that most all of us yearn to have.
This has been a very tough and challenging year for the Jewish people. What Israel has gone through this year has to make it one of its most difficult times in its 66 year history. Israel has confronted a world prepared to compromise with an Iran that is hell-bent on building a nuclear weapon which it has threatened to use against Israel. Israel has had to deal with a European Union that constantly threatens it with economic sanctions. Israel’s Prime Minister has gone through a very shaky relationship with the President of the United States. American led mediation for peace with the Palestinians fell apart. And then came a week from hell … with the
three Yeshiva boys kidnapped and killed, and the Palestinian boy murdered in a revenge attack by Israelis, and rockets being fired regularly at southern Israel. And as if all this was not enough, a full-scale war broke out with Hamas! And lo and behold, the day the war in Gaza came to an end, rockets started to fall on the Golan Heights! I tell you the truth … I don’t know how the Israelis do it! Whenever I am in Israel – and I’m there every year – you would never know the difficulties these people are living through. I don’t know how they live under such stress and pressure. READ MORE