SERMON: Don’t Jump to Conclusions

February 12, 2018 Leave a comment

Don't Jump to ConclusionsToday I want to tell you about a person who is one of the best known woman in the Jewish world, and I suspect that none of you present have ever heard her name. Her name is Sivan Rahav-Meir. See? I told you! You’ve never heard of her. All she is, is a prime time anchor woman, a columnist for Israel’s most popular newspaper, a biblical scholar and author, has 130,000 followers on Facebook, and to top it off, she’s a rebbitzin! And you’ve never heard of her!

 

Sivan Rahav-Meir was born and raised in a secular home in Herzliya. At 18 she entered the army, having already completed a bachelor’s degree in political science. In the army she served as a reporter for the Israel Defense Forces radio station, after which she grew increasingly observant and met her husband, the rabbi, who was also a newspaper columnist. Today she is a prime time anchorwoman on Israel’s Channel 2, a radio show host and a columnist for Israel’s most popular newspaper, Yediot Acharanot. While on maternity leave for her fifth child she began to feel bored by her interviews with the Knesset and the Supreme Court of Israel’s political leaders. So she began to give lectures on Jewish subjects, specifically on the Torah portion of the week. One week she had one million readers on her website, and now she gives a weekly lecture which is attended by 1,000 people, with 130,000 following on Facebook and another 10,000 subscribers to her daily WhatsApp Torah thought. She put her thoughts on the weekly Torah portion into a book which became a bestseller in Israel, and now is available in English entitled, #Parasha.

Why do I tell you all this? Because what she has to say about this week’s Torah portion provides me with a thought on a subject that has been uppermost in my mind in recent weeks, but which I can’t talk about … but she can! Her Torah thought on this week’s Torah portion is entitled, “Don’t Jump to Conclusions.” READ MORE

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SERMON: Mitchell Wohlberg’s “Man of the Year”

January 9, 2018 Leave a comment

Who is Rabbi Wohlberg's Man of the Year?

For many, many years, Time magazine was noted for its year-end “Man of the Year” choice. Somewhere along the line Time realized that there are also women who just might be the most notable figure of the year, and so it became the “Person of the Year.” This year it was several persons … the women who had come forward to reveal acts of sexual abuse by the so-called “high and mighty.” We owe them our gratitude for speaking up and, more important, for making us listen.

But I have someone I would like to choose for my “Man of the Year” because what he did made me think, and hopefully, will make you think and act as well. READ MORE

Categories: Sermons

SERMON: OTD – Off the Derech

December 5, 2017 Leave a comment

This Shabbat of our Weiner Tournament is always one of the most exciting weekends here at Beth Tfiloh. The enthusiasm and vibrancy that these Jewish teenagers bring here across the country always challenges me to make my sermon relevant to a new generation. So today I address all of them, and all of you, with some thoughts about acronyms. READ MORE

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SERMON: Jacob, Kelly Ann Conway and Alternate Facts

November 20, 2017 Leave a comment
alternative-facts-facebookIn my office at home I have something like 2,500-3,000 books, most of them on topics of Jewish interest. Out of all of those books, one stands out as perhaps being the most valuable. It is almost impossible to purchase a new copy of it. On Amazon it sells for $300. All it is is a paperback published less than 20 years ago entitled Lying for Truth by Nosson Slifkin. Rabbi Slifkin became a cause celebre in the Jewish world some five or so years ago when another book he had written entitled, The Challenge of Creation, was banned by a group of ultra-Orthodox rabbis. This, despite the fact that the book had a forward from Rabbi Zvi Hersh Winereb, someone all of us highly respect, who was then the executive vice president of the Orthodox Union. Why was the book banned? Because Rabbi Slifkin had told the truth! The truth that rabbis down through the ages had questioned the veracity of scientific statements made in the Talmud, and that it is very legitimate to believe from a halachic perspective that the world is more than 5,700 years old. Banned for telling the truth! READ MORE

SERMON: Thank God for Not Making Me a Woman: Reflections on Harvey Weinstein

November 14, 2017 Leave a comment

There is a blessing Jewish men are supposed to recite every morning amongst other blessings, where we declare, “Blessed Art Thou, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has not made me a woman.” It is safe to say that this is amongst the most controversial and criticized words in all of Jewish tradition. There are several explanations for the meaning of the blessing, but the bottom line is, if I were a woman, I would find the words deeply offensive. But as you all know, I am not a woman… and I still find the words deeply offensive! However, I must, in all honesty, confess that in recent weeks based on the news, I have found myself thinking, “Thank God for not making me a woman.” READ MORE

SERMON: Was the Flood a Hoax? Is Climate Change a Hoax?

October 24, 2017 Leave a comment
Is climate change a hoax?

Is climate change a hoax?

During Sukkot, in one of my sermons, I did a terrible thing. I said something bad about Rush Limbaugh … and for some, that’s an unpardonable sin. I pointed out that when Hurricane Irma was heading toward Florida, Rush told his listeners that the threat of the hurricane was a hoax … just as climate change was a hoax. It didn’t matter that I had tried to be even-handed in the sermon by pointing out how liberal Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein had also made a fool out of herself in another matter – but that didn’t matter! The bottom line for some of you, anything said against a conservative or Republican rubs you the wrong way. READ MORE

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SERMON: Thank God for Jared Kushner

October 18, 2017 Leave a comment

jared-kushner

It is a question which has divided the world of philosophers for thousands of years. But, thank God, because of Jared Kushner we now know who was right! The whole underpinnings of western philosophy come from three men who lived 2,500 years ago. You all know their names: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. What many people don’t know is that Plato was a student of Socrates and that Aristotle was a student of Plato. So, within a 100 year period, these three giants had a profound effect on the way we think to this very day. READ MORE

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