SERMON: Why Do Jews Get “Buggy” at Pesach?

All of us are fortunate to be part of a real Jewish community here in Baltimore. What makes it even more unique is the strength and numbers of the Orthodox community.  Baltimore’s Orthodox community is so large and so vibrant that it even has its own magazines, focusing on events and goods that are available to Orthodox Jews.  One of these magazines featured an ad in a recent edition that caught my eye.  It announced that you could now buy a case of “BUG-FREE WHOLE LEAF ROMAINE for your Seders … NO CHECKING REQUIRED.”  I don’t want to get into the whole issue of the need to check for bugs in our vegetables.  Whether you need to specifically buy lettuce that is rabbinically certified, or if you can wash it yourself … that, I would tell you, you have to ask your rabbi.  READ MORE

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SERMON: Who Am I Voting For in Israel’s Election?

The question is: Who am I voting for in Israel’s coming election?  The answer is: I can’t vote!  I am not a citizen of the state of Israel.  That’s very important for all of us sitting in the luxury of our American homes to remember.  Our children’s lives are not on the line.  Only the Israeli people have the right to make decisions affecting their security.  I consider it our duty as American Jews to support those decisions. READ MORE

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SERMON: Can Jews Wear Uggs?

Can Jews wear Uggs?

 

It is an issue that recently has caused a serious division amongst the Jewish people.  From Bnei Brak to Lakewood, it has become the topic of blogs and newspaper articles.  It has been written up everywhere from the Jerusalem Post to the Vox website.  The question that is now uppermost on many Jew’s minds is: Can a Jew wear Uggs?  You might think I’m kidding, but I’m not!  People on Old Court Road may not know about this controversy, but they sure do on Park Heights Avenue!  And not just on Park Heights Avenue … Google it and you’ll see that there are at least 30 websites discussing this question: Does wearing Uggs violate Jewish law?  READ MORE

SERMON: Bezos, Kraft … and Others; What Were They Thinking?

I want to tell you about the power of a preacher and his sermon.  The preacher I have in mind is Reverend Phil Brookman, who is the minister of the Memorial Church of Christ in Oklahoma City.  I don’t know how good a preacher he is, but I do know that 1,000 people come to his church every Sunday to hear him speak.  Last month we all learned of the power of his words.  I read it to you exactly how it was described by the Religious News Service: The sermon, titled “Greet One Another,” was based on the Apostle Paul’s admonition that the church function as one body with many parts. READ MORE

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SERMON: Who Hates Us … the Most?

February 27, 2019 Leave a comment

hates us the most

I have asked the question before, but now we know the answer!  The answer to the great debate amongst Jews these days: who hates us more … the people on the right, or the people on the left?  We all agree that we are hated!  We all agree that from Pittsburgh to Budapest and all points in between, there is hatred from the right.  And we all agree that from BDS to Britain’s Jeremy Corbyn, there is hatred from the left.  But the REAL question is: who hates us more?  Who is more dangerous?  Of course, the answer usually depends upon which side of the divide we’re standing.  In the words of Jonathan Tobin, the highly respected head of the Jewish News Syndicate, “In recent years, how you answer that question tended to be a function of your politics more than anything else.  For liberals, anti-Semitism was the work of the traditional far right … the conservatives, it was just the opposite.” READ MORE

SERMON: Do Clothes Make the Man?

February 19, 2019 Leave a comment

Last week while in New York, I stopped at Saks Fifth Avenue.  It is said that department stores are in trouble these days, but you would never know it from what’s going on at Saks.  While in the Men’s Department I remembered a moment in time when I became famous.  It goes back a quarter century when I was standing there and a writer from the Wall Street Journal, Elizabeth Bernstein, came over to me and said that she was there to write an article on the new fall collection for men that year.  When she saw me carrying shopping bags from Ralph Lauren, Armani and Bloomingdale’s, she figured I would be the one to ask.  So I became the Wall Street Journal’s “clothes maven” that year!  READ MORE

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SERMON: Fatal Distraction

February 4, 2019 Leave a comment

This morning I want to tell you about two Hebrew words, three English words and one book that can save your life! And in so doing, show you why we read the same words of the Torah year after year. I know with that as in introduction you must be waiting with baited breath to hear what I have to say, so here goes.

This morning’s Torah portion describes that great moment when, after the giving of the Ten Commandments, God invites Moshe to come back up Mt. Sinai and have God be his private tutor in explaining the words of the Torah. God says to Moshe, “Aley aylai ha-harah – come up
to Me on the mountain.” And before Moshe can even get a word out of his mouth, God adds two more words when He says: “Come up to be with me – v’heyei sham – and be there.” Why did God say that? Why did He add these two extra words? V’heyei sham, translated in the three English words – “And be there.” READ MORE

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