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Archive for June, 2013

SERMON: Knaidels and Informers

It was the “knaidel” heard around the world! There is no other way to describe what happened on May 30 of this year. The knaidel had not achieved this kind of popularity for more than a decade now. It was in 2003 that the Washington Post reported on a matzah ball eating contest held in New York … contestants had five minutes and 25 seconds to go for the maximum knaidel count. Seven contenders challenged the then champion, Oleg “the Russian Zhornitsky,” who won by consuming 16 ¼ matzah balls. But in 2003 the record was broken … the winner ate 21 matzah balls! His name was Eric Booker; a subway conductor for the Transit Authority and his nickname is “Bad Lands” and he happened to be an African-American!

This year it was not an African-American who put the knaidel on the map. This year it was Arvind Mahankanli, an 8th grader and the son of immigrants from Southern India, who won the National Champion Spelling Bee by spelling “knaidel” right! As soon as it happened, my inbox was filled with articles and videos of this major event in the history of our people … because the word “knaidel” is certainly associated with our people. In the American language any word that begins with “K, N” – words like “knock,” “know,” “knight,” – the “k” is always silent. Not with our people! “Knaidel” joins an illustrious list of words with which our people are associated … words like “knish,” “knobel,” “knipel,” “knocker,” … and Beth Tfiloh’s own “Knisbacher.” READ MORE

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SERMON: Trust Me

Just when I was starting to get along with Barack Obama, as they say in Latin: “Ehr iz oif guht gehochter tzores.”

As you know, during his first term I was not a fan of Barack Obama. But with the start of his second term either he changed or I changed or both! There are two issues that are very important to me: Israel and gun control. At the start of his second term, I found myself seeing eye to eye with President Obama on these two issues. I felt that his visit to Israel signaled a radical change in policy – all for the better. And as for gun control … I lost a cousin to the madness of gun-toting America. We have sold our souls to the NRA. A few weeks ago the Republican National Committee ran a television advertisement lambasting the accomplishments of Barack Obama’s first 100 days of his second term. They pointed out all his failures, including taking note of his failing to pass legislation on gun control. Yes, the President did fail on this matter, but do you remember why he failed? Because 90% of the Republicans in the Senate voted against the bill! And the Republican National Committee, of all people, is criticizing this failure?

So me and Mr. Obama have been getting along – more or less. But that is just about the only good news he’s had recently. The deadly debacle in Benghazi, followed by the revelations that the IRS has been targeting conservative groups, and then topped with news that the Justice Dept. had secret and sweeping seizures of Associated Press phone records … wow – that is a trifecta that would take a toll on any presidency. Mr. Obama has his defenders but no matter what defense is offered, he stands in danger of losing what Moses lost in this morning’s Torah portion. READ MORE

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