Archive for December, 2013

SERMON: Romania, Mandela, Obama: Good for the Jews?

December 24, 2013 Leave a comment

This Shabbat is one of transition … for me and for the Jewish people. In October I had announced I was going to be delivering the sermon for 10 straight Shabbatot. Well, this is it! After this Shabbat, the transition to vacation mode begins to set in. And just in time! I’ve run out of things to talk about! During this 10 week period, I have discussed Mohammad and Rabbi Ginsberg, the Redskins and Iran, the Pew Survey and Thanksgivingkah, Kristallnacht and John F. Kennedy. What’s left? If this is to be beginning of the transition period, I want to do it by
taking note of the transition we make with this week’s Torah portion.

Today we began the book of Shemot – the Book of Exodus. The book of Beresheit- of Genesis – has come to a close and with that, the story of the creation of the Jewish family has come to a close. Now, the Torah is to focus on the birth of the Jewish nation – a birth that took place in the land of Egypt. The experience of our people in Egypt forms the very core of our nation’s experience. The first of the Ten Commandments identifies God as being the one “who took us out of the land of Egypt.” One of the 613 commandments is to “remember the day of your departure from the land of Egypt all the days of your life.” It is a Biblical commandment
that every day we remember the Egyptian experience. Why so? Not simply to remember the past but also to help us understand the present and future. And that’s what I want to do this morning. I want to reflect on several recent events in light of the Egyptian experience, indeed, in
light of one word that the Torah uses to describe that experience, where we are told: “Vayareu otanu ha-mitzrim.” Simple translation: “The Egyptians were bad to us.” But you should know that different commentators, at different times, saw different contexts in which to put this word, “vayareu – and they were bad.” READ MORE


Is Zumba Kosher?

December 19, 2013 Leave a comment

I don’t do Zumba, but for those of you who do, this article by Rabbi Eliyahu Fink on is interesting:

Is Zumba kosher?

SERMON: Do You Know When to Let Things Go?

December 16, 2013 Leave a comment

I don’t know Binyomin Ginsberg … until last week I had never heard his name. But I can tell you right now that if he applied for membership to Beth Tfiloh, I would pay for his dues … for him to go to Chizuk Amuno!

Binyomin Ginsberg is a rabbi; a Jewish educator living in Minnesota. From there he has traveled on Northwest Airlines approximately 75 times a year, giving him a special place in Northwest Airline’s Frequent Flyer Program. But in the year 2008, Northwest dropped him and his Frequent Flyer points, pointing out that in the fine print of their agreement, an airline can do just that! Rabbi Ginsberg sued them … lost the case … it went to an Appellate Court where he won. Last week he found himself standing before the Supreme Court of the United States of America, appearing on national news – both on television and in newspapers including the Baltimore Sun. There are a lot of technical aspects to this case, involving airline deregulation and other issues. But why, in fact, did Northwest Airlines drop such a frequent flyer? It seems that aside from being a “frequent flyer,” Rabbi Ginsberg is also a frequent complainer! During one seven month period of time, the rabbi complained to the airline about two dozen times demanding compensation for delays, lost luggage, losing seats on overbooked flights that Northwest said the rabbi had reserved “with the purpose of being bumped.” From the questions raised by the Supreme Court Justices, it does not seem as if Rabbi Ginsberg is going to win his case, but that’s not the point of this sermon… READ MORE

Nelson Mandela…or Binyomin Ginsberg?

December 12, 2013 Leave a comment

The topic of my sermon for this Shabbat is: Nelson Mandela or Binyomin Ginsberg; Which One Would You Rather Be?

I am sure you know who Nelson Mandela is … if you don’t know who Binyomin Ginsberg is, read this New York Times article: Supreme Court Considers Frequent Flier Contracts

SERMON: Iran Nuclear Agreement: Dream or Reality?

December 9, 2013 Leave a comment

A woman woke up one morning and told her husband, “I just dreamed that you gave me a pearl necklace for Valentine’s Day. What do you think it means?” Her husband replied, “You’ll know tonight!” That evening the man came home with a small package and gave it to his wife. Excited and delighted, she opened it and found inside a book entitled, “The Meaning of Dreams.”

We all have dreams! We all spend a good part of our lives dreaming. On average, we dream for an hour and a half to two hours each night, with four or five distinct dreams. If we live 75 years or so, that means we will spend about six years virtually dreaming, for a lifetime total of some 100 to 200,000 dreams. But I think it’s safe to say that for no one were dreams more important than for the Biblical Yosef. Right from the very beginning he was a dreamer. First, telling of his dream where there where sheaves in the middle of a field with one sheave standing out and the others bowing to it … a dream that made his brothers – who already hated him – in the words of the Torah, “hate him even more.” Then, lo and behold, he has another dream; this time even more explicit with the sun, the moon and eleven stars bowing down to him. His eleven brothers boiled over into a hateful rage, eventually throwing him into a pit and leading him into Egypt where now he’s interpreting dreams, first in prison, and eventually in the court of Pharaoh. READ MORE

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Why you should worry about the Iran nuclear deal…

December 5, 2013 Leave a comment

My sermon for this Shabbat is: Iran Nuclear Agreement: Dream or Reality?

You can read more here: Six Reasons to Worry About the Iranian Nuclear Deal

My Chanukah Gift to You

December 3, 2013 Leave a comment

A special Chanukah gift, 2 “oldies but goodies” – in a new light.


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