Archive for November, 2013

SERMON: JFK’s 50th Yahrzeit: A Matter of Chance

November 27, 2013 Leave a comment

It was 50 years ago yesterday that America changed … never to be the same again. November 22, 1963 – a date that none of us who were alive then will ever forget. The fact of the matter is, most Americans alive today were not alive then and it is impossible for them to comprehend or even imagine what our country was like when news that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated was announced. That weekend it was as if the entire country sat shiva. No one knew what to say … what was there to say? No one knew what to do … what was there to do? So we sat glued to our radios and televisions and that was the first major event that television covered. And so, our entire nation was seeing the same thing at the same time, feeling the same way: grieving, mourning, lost in our own thoughts.

John F. Kennedy was my introduction to my lifelong interest in politics. Until 1960 I was a typical American teenager with the usual teenage interests: sports, rock and roll and I was beginning to discover that there were girls in this world! In the summer of 1960, when I was 16 years old, I developed Rheumatic fever. For three weeks I was hospitalized and then spent the rest of the summer home in bed. My iPad wasn’t working well then, so my mother bought me a record player and she told my brother, Saul, to buy me records to listen to. So he went and bought opera records for HIM to listen to! So, that was the summer I learned to love opera! But then my mother pushed a TV set into my bedroom … and that was the summer of the Democratic Convention that nominated John F. Kennedy to run for President of the United States. I so wanted to vote for him but I was too young to vote. Everything about him spoke to the post-war generation; his war record, his magnetic personality, his youthful dynamism, his beautiful wife, his rugged brothers; it was a New Frontier – it was all too good to be true. And then, with one bullet, it all came to an end. And nothing was ever the same. READ MORE

This Shabbat…I will explore Thanksgivingkah or Chanugiving…Whatever it is, it was!

Categories: Sermons Tags: , ,

Happy Thanksgivukkah — Chanukah Sameach!

November 27, 2013 Leave a comment
Happy Thanksgivukkah...Chanukah Sameach!

Happy Thanksgivukkah…Chanukah Sameach!

Everything you need to know and enjoy Thanksgivukkah

November 26, 2013 Leave a comment

This year, Chanukah is a special day with special foods:
JPost: Thanksgivukka: Please pass the turkey-stuffed doughnuts

Not everyone is so excited about this:
The Colbert Report: Thanksgiving Under Attack
Slate: No Thanksgivukkah

We think it’s really cool…but we don’t want it to get out of hand:
Haaretz: 8 imaginary Frankenholidays inspired by Thanksgivukkah

On a serious Chanukah note:
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: 8 Short Thoughts for 8 Chanukah Nights

And a joyous Thanksgiving note:

See you at the Chanukah Fireworks Under the Stars at Beth Tfiloh tomorrow night!

JFK’s 50th Yahrzeit

November 22, 2013 Leave a comment

Today we commemorate the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. As part of my 10-sermon series, tomorrow I’ll explore “What started with JFK; what ended with JFK.”

In memory of President John F. Kennedy, Hazzan Albrecht will sing Camelot. Here are the lyrics, in case you want to sing along:


A law was made a distant moon ago here:
July and August cannot be too hot.
And there’s a legal limit to the snow here
In Camelot.
The winter is forbidden till December
And exits March the second on the dot.
By order, summer lingers through September
In Camelot.
Camelot! Camelot!
I know it sounds a bit bizarre,
But in Camelot, Camelot
That’s how conditions are.
The rain may never fall till after sundown.
By eight, the morning fog must disappear.
In short, there’s simply not
A more congenial spot
For happily-ever-aftering than here
In Camelot.

Camelot! Camelot!
I know it gives a person pause,
But in Camelot, Camelot
Those are the legal laws.
The snow may never slush upon the hillside.
By nine p.m. the moonlight must appear.
In short, there’s simply not
A more congenial spot
For happily-ever-aftering than here
In Camelot.

Categories: Sermons, Videos Tags: ,

SERMON: Washington Redskins: Does a Name Really Matter?

November 18, 2013 Leave a comment

I usually know what I’m talking about …or so I think!  But let me tell you about a time that even I knew that I didn’t know what I was talking about!  It happened last month when I appeared on the local TV program, “Square Off.” As you know, from time to time I serve as one of the four panelists on Richard Sher’s program, discussing and debating issues of local and national interest. The program is aired on Sunday but is taped on the Friday before.  A day or two before the panelists are emailed the subjects that are to be discussed so that, in fact, we should know what we’re talking about.  But that week, for some reason, I wasn’t notified.  But I came to the program on Friday and told them that it didn’t matter what the subjects were; I was sure I would have an opinion on them and if the other three panelists had the same opinion as I did, I would feel very comfortable arguing the other point of view just to make the program interesting!  So, the taping started and all went smoothly, until we came to the last question which was: Should the Washington Redskins change their name?  This seemingly innocent question has evoked some heated discussion in the media … and not just the media!  The District of Columbia’s City Council passed a resolution calling for a change of the name of the team, with the feeling that the word “Redskins” is offensive, and demands made by some American Indian tribes for its removal. READ MORE

You should know our synagogue’s overwhelming vote was not to change the name of the Washington Redskins.  In light of our discussion of names, these two articles are of interest … keep in mind that the mother of our Bar Mitzvah – and her family – are from the Philippines.

First baby born in IDF field hospital in Philippines named ‘Israel’

What Cynthia Ozick Taught Me About My Grandfather

What’s in a Name? Ask the Redskins

November 15, 2013 Leave a comment

My sermon tomorrow is: Washington Redskins: Does a Name Really Matter?

Here is an article, co-authored by my colleague, Beth Tfiloh Dahan High School Principal Rabbi Aaron Frank, presenting one perspective … come tomorrow and you will hear another.

The rabbis vs. the Redskins: A religious case against offensive nicknames

A Little Holiday Comic Relief

November 13, 2013 Leave a comment

This Shabbat, comedian Joel Chasnoff will entertain our families after lunch. So here’s a couple of videos to get everyone in a humorous, pre-Thanksgivukkah mood…

Thanksgivukkah: The Movie (video)

Mohels by Kol Ish: The Bris Anthem

If you find these offensive…just know that I didn’t.