Archive for November, 2012

SERMON: Thank God We Are Israel

November 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Amongst the daily blessings that all of us have to be grateful for on this weekend, this year we have one thing more to be thankful for as Jews. We should be thankful that Israel beat the heck out of Hamas and smashed parts of Gaza to smithereens! And if you’re surprised to hear me say that, then you ain’t heard nothing yet!

A colleague of mine told a story of Pinik Nachmani, who was a navigator in the Israeli Air Force during the Yom Kippur War. In 1973, he was shot down and captured by the Syrians and held in a prison for three years, where he was tortured. When he was released he was asked if he hated the Syrians. He answered, “No, I don’t hate them. Hatred is a weapon of the weak.” Well, I totally disagree. And I think that Judaism disagrees as well! We Jews are such “goodie goodies” … we always quote the Biblical phrase, “Binfol oyevchecha al tismach – do not rejoice when your enemy falls.” Yes, that is part of our tradition, but it is only one part of our tradition. The Jewish tradition tells us, in the words of the prophet Amos: “Ahavi tov u’snai es harah – love good and hate evil.” It is in the Book of Ecclesiastes where we are told, “Ais le’ehov v’ais lisno – there is a time to love and a time to hate.” It is our tradition that teaches, “Ohavei Hashem sinu rah – those who love God must hate evil.” Hamas and others like them are evil reincarnate. And I hate them, and I wish other Jews would as well. According to a poll taken this week by CNN, nearly 60% of the American people said that Israeli military action in Gaza was justified. But I can tell you that there are a lot of American Jews who were not amongst them. And it is those people that Eric Yoffie addressed on the first day of the war. Rabbi Yoffie is the former head of the Union of Reform Judaism. He is a leading spokesman and advocate for liberal Judaism. But on the first day of the war, he published an article entitled, “A Call to U.S. Progressive Jews: Support Israel’s Get Tough Policy in Gaza.” He wrote, “I am worried at this moment about Jews in the progressive camp.” He pointed out that progressives had expressed little outrage when Hamas was firing hundreds of rockets at Israel and he feared that “This attitude will now be translated into opposition to Israel’s current operations in Gaza.” And he went on to say, “Progressives should be outraged as everyone else … no other civilized country n the world would tolerate for a week what Israel has tolerated for a decade.” I read these words and I couldn’t believe it. We have to be concerned that there are Jews who wouldn’t support what Israel was doing? Is that possible? Hamas shoots hundreds of missiles into Israel and Israel should not have retaliated? That is “progressive?” No, quite the contrary … that is backward! That was asking the Jews to go back to what they were … all the way back to the Torah portions we read at this time of the year.  READ MORE

In light of my sermon of this past Shabbos, here is a picture of what we’re up against:


Death to all Juice

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SERMON: Obama & Romney, Jacob & Esav; Who’s Who and What’s What?

November 19, 2012 Leave a comment

It happened the day before the presidential election. It was reported by Shmuel Ben-Atar, a radio host who said he had participated in the secret ritual that had taken place that day in Jerusalem when a group of Kabbalists gathered together, chanted special prayers and incantations, changing Mitt Romney’s first name to Moshe – Moshe Romney. Ben-Atar claimed, “This kind of prayer can turn worlds upside down. We ask the people of Israel to pray that Obama – who doesn’t like Israel – is brought down.” The delegation then traveled to the Kotel to pray for Moshe Romney’s success. What wasn’t reported was that the day after the election, in light of the election, a group had gathered to add additional names to Moshe Romney, who would henceforth be known as Moshe Romney Olov Hashalom.

Yes, Moshe Romney is gone … and Boruch Obama is back! And of course the question is: Will Boruch be a blessing for us? We will find out, but one thing is for sure: I’m not going to be like many who voted for Moshe Romney. People like Donald Trump who declared: “This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy.” Karl Rove wasn’t much better when he said that Obama had only “succeeded by suppressing the vote” – whatever that means! None of this compares to the words of a Libertarian blogger, Eric Dondero, who, after the election, blogged, “All family and friends, even close family and friends, who I know to be Democrats are hereby dead to me. I vow never to speak to them again for the rest of my life or have any communications with them.” What do you call people like these? That’s right: SORE LOSERS. We met the first of this kind in today’s Torah portion in the character of Esav, who sold his birthright to his brother, Jacob, and then when his brother received the blessing meant for the firstborn, Esav handled that well; vowing to kill Jacob. That is what happens when you can’t face up to your losses. READ MORE

15 seconds is a long time. Or is it?

November 16, 2012 Leave a comment


While we sit here in the comfort of our homes preparing for a peaceful Shabbat, our brothers and sisters in Israel once again find themselves confronting an enemy that literally believe and is committed to the idea that the Jews of Israel “do not have a right to exist.”

At all times, but certainly in times like this, we must give the people of Israel our support and prayers. This is what it’s like for an Israeli when he /she hears a siren go off. Please join with Jews around the world reciting this prayer in the hope that “He who makes peace in the heavens above make peace for us and for all Israel.”

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Chayei Sarah Sermon: “Can’t We All Get Along?”

November 12, 2012 Leave a comment

A Post-Election Reflection

Even though it happened 32 years ago, I remember it like yesterday.  It was the first week of November, 1980 … that Monday my father, of blessed memory, underwent quadruple by-pass surgery.  I had come into New York on Sunday to be with him and my mother and brothers.  The doctor told us it would be 24 hours before we would know if things were okay.  Finally, early Tuesday afternoon the word came: all was well!  November 4th, 1980 … that was Election Day … Ronald Reagan was running against the incumbent Jimmy Carter.  I did not like Jimmy Carter.  It ends up that most of America didn’t like Jimmy Carter as President.  But my wife Sherry, she should live and be well, never met a conservative Republican that she liked.  And so I called her that day and I said, “Sherry, look I feel bad that I’m not home and I can’t vote.  But you know I would vote for Reagan, as I know you would vote for Carter.  Do me a favor and don’t vote this year.  That way, it will be a wash and I can stay here with my father in New York.”  And Sherry, in her sweet, charming manner said to me, “FUHGEDDABOUDIT!  I’m a citizen of the United States; it’s my obligation as a citizen to vote and I am going to vote.”  I then told Sherry how impressed I was with her sense of patriotism (or something to that effect) and we hung up.  And I took a Metroliner home so that I could vote.  READ MORE

Article: Growing up Jewish in Baltimore

November 12, 2012 Leave a comment

With the eyes of the Jewish world now focused on Baltimore because of the GA, I thought you would find this article of interest: Growing up Jewish in Baltimore