SERMON: How I Spent My Summer Vacation

September 16, 2019 Leave a comment

How I spent my summer vacation

It has been quite a while since I last addressed you, but I looked at the calendar and saw that tomorrow is September 15 – payday!  So, I decided it was time for me to return!  And believe me when I say with a full heart that it is good to be back.  It’s good to see you!  I am deeply touched by your many acts of kindnesses during my recent illness – the cards, the calls, the donations – believe me when I tell you it feels good to be wanted and cared for. READ MORE

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Categories: Sermons

SERMON: Breaking Bread Together

Breaking Bread & Building Bridges

Such a large synagogue attendance today shows the incredible power of Southern fried chicken!  But before we get to that … today’s Torah portion concluded with a detailed list of the various offerings that were brought in the Temple on the festive days of the year.  Everything was brought, from meal offerings, to oils and wines and goats and bulls.  READ MORE

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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 …

jewishHofF

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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