Here at Beth Tfiloh we had a long time member, Irv Kroll–a man who came to worship here 365 days of the year–and who said to me from time to time, “Rabbi, come on. I listen to your eulogies and all your plaque dedications. You’re always saying how this one is special and that one’s outstanding and this one is unique … everybody’s so great. Come on, rabbi, get off of it!” And I always replied to him, “Don’t worry, Irv. When it comes your turn, I’ll lie about you, too!” When he passed away I didn’t have to lie about Irv. He was one of the Beth Tfiloh greats. But I will be stretching the truth about some of you! That’s human nature. We tend to exaggerate the merits of a person after they are gone.
Joan Rivers passed away last week and from the words of eulogy said about her, from Hollywood to Hoboken, you would have thought that this woman was a combination of Joan of Arc and Mother Theresa! Everyone seemed to have something good to say about her. And there was a lot of good to say! She was a trailblazer, and it seems from those who knew her, a genuinely goodhearted person. But I must tell you the truth: I was not one of her fans. READ MORE
With the High Holidays upon us, this morning I want to answer the three most frequently asked questions I get before the High Holidays begin:
- Why is the shofar a ram’s horn and not a cow’s horn?
– Why don’t we wear gold on Yom Kippur?
– What do the words “ain kateigor naaseh saneigor” mean?
OK … I’ll admit that I am not asked these questions that often, but if Dick Cheney, a Pentagon spokesman, Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey and a leader of the American Reform Movement had known the answers, their actions may have been different … and so might yours!
On June 17th the Wall Street Journal carried an op-ed column written by former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter, Liz Cheney, with the title: “The Collapsing Obama Doctrine.” In the article they derided the President’s policies regarding Iraq and other mid-east countries, writing, “Rarely has a U.S. President been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.” Now, Dick Cheney is entitled to his opinion, and for all I know, Dick Cheney might be right in what he said. But HE never should have said it be cause what followed was a whole series of critics saying: who is he to talk … look what happened during the Bush/Cheney administration. Talk about a President being wrong about so much at the expense of so many! It was Bush and Cheney who cost the lives of thousands of Americans and what did we get for it? So, Cheney writing an op-ed that he meant to start a discussion about the Obama administration only ended up revising a discussion of the Bush/Cheney administration … which only goes to prove: “people in glass houses should not throw stones.” READ MORE
“People at the hospital have been asking me why I came, and I answer, ‘Because you called,’” said Scott Weiner, a volunteer paramedic from Baltimore.
I am so proud of Beth Tfiloh Congregation members and School parents Scott Goldstein and Scott Weiner, who are both paramedics in Baltimore County, flew to Israel last week with the Emergency Volunteers Project to assist the staff at Asheklon’s Barzilai Medical Center during wartime. Their acts of chessed, of commitment to Israel and klal Yisrael, truly embody what BT is all about. Yasher koach to you both! Read more in American medical volunteers pitch in post-war, The Times of Israel
This might surprise you, but I have a lot to say about what’s going on in the world right now — and I’m going to share it all with you each Shabbat for the next four weeks!
· Shabbat, August 30: Ferguson: It’s as Clear as Black and White
· Shabbat, September 6: Look Who’s Talking
· Shabbat, September 13: From Here to Eternity
· Shabbat, September 20: No One Wants to Hear the Truth
These sermons will cover topics ranging from Pope Francis to Ferguson, from Joan Rivers to Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, Ocean City to Israel, Gaza war to “selfies,” Charles Darwin to the Pentagon.
Services begin at 9 am in the Dahan Sanctuary and 9:30 am in the Epstein Chapel. I look forward to seeing you in shul!
Barack Obama – friend or foe? Let me give my answer and then, if you would like, you can give yours.
There is no doubt that there has been – and there is – a strained relationship between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu. The fact of the matter is, anyone who was paying attention should have known that this would be inevitable. In 2008 in a meeting with 100 Cleveland Jewish leaders, Obama – who was running for president – said the following: “I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says: unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel, that you are anti-Israel and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel. If we cannot have an honest dialogue about how do we achieve these goals, then we’re not going to make progress … because of the pressure that Israel is under, I think the U.S. pro-Israel community is sometimes a little more protective or concerned about opening up that conversation.”
What he said was not so terrible and I have to tell you that I respected him for having said it. He was very honest about his feelings. What he was basically saying was that he does not agree with the policies of a Likud government and that American Jews should be more prepared to debate those policies. READ MORE
Read this New York Times article, Gaza War Strains Relations Between U.S. and Israel, and join us this Shabbat for a discussion: Barack Obama – Friend or Foe?