SERMON: Kaddish for Yizkor

Kaddish for Yizkor

My sermon this morning is a bit irregular.  I’m going to ask you a question for which I do not know the answer … and in asking you the question, I know I am asking the wrong people!

We are about to recite the Yizkor memorial prayer.  The history of Yizkor is not very clear.  Originally, it was associated with Yom Kippur and only later was it added to the three pilgrim festivals.  And even there, it was tacked on to the last day so as not to take away from the joy of the festival. READ MORE

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SERMON: Saving Israel from Itself


On Monday I am leaving for Israel and I can’t wait to get there to see how much has changed since I was last there in January.  In recent years it has become a pattern for me to visit Israel twice a year: once usually in January – pure vacation; and the other in late May or early June – primarily for meetings of Bar Ilan University’s Board of Directors.  But no matter how frequently I go I am always amazed how much things change from my last visit.  I can go there in January and order at a falafel store, and then in June it has turned over into a French restaurant!   READ MORE

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SERMON: San Diego’s Rabbi Goldstein, Baltimore’s Rabbi Rosenblatt and Lots of People in Between …

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One of the most iconic verses in American pop music comes from Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson,” where they sing out: “Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio … our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.”  Those words struck a nerve, bemoaning the fact that we no longer have the heroic figures to look up to the way we used to.  The truth is, I don’t know if the heroes of generations past were really more moral or ethical, or if given the absence of social media, we just didn’t know the real story about them!  READ MORE

SERMON: The Question Facing the Jewish People

As I get older, I can’t get over how smart rabbis are!  I’m not talking about me or my generation of rabbis.  I am talking of the rabbis who lived in the times of the Talmud.  Let me tell you two things they said close to 2,000 years ago that could have been written yesterday and been considered right on target.  Two things about the major issue Jews seem to be confronting these days: Who hates us more … the right or the left?  I have discussed this before, but the question just refuses to go away.     READ MORE

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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