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Archive for April, 2015

SERMON: There’s So Much To Talk About …

For me, the most difficult part in preparing a sermon is to decide what I should speak about. It’s not always easy to think of a topic. Today I have a very different challenge … what should I NOT speak about? There are so many topics to choose from! Shall I speak about Yom Hashoah –Holocaust Remembrance Day that took place this past Thursday? Or should I speak about Yom Ha-Atzmaut  – Israel Independence Day, which takes place this coming Thursday?  Should I talk about today’s Torah portion? Or, should I just talk about the Bat Mitzvah of my granddaughter? I couldn’t decide, so let’s see if I can do it all!

Let’s begin with this question: Which should play a greater role in our being Jewish – the Holocaust or the re-establishment of the state of Israel? I know the obvious answer is: both! Both are crucially important and both are central to our existence. But if you had to choose ONE which is most significant to your identity as a Jew, what would you choose? That is a question that thousands of Jews were asked in the Pew Survey. When people were asked, “What is essential to being Jewish?” 73% replied, “remembering the Holocaust.” 43% answered “caring about Israel,” just 1 % more than responded “having a good sense of humor.” The Holocaust beats Israel every time! READ MORE

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SERMON: The Nile, Denial and Religion

It has been said that every Jewish holiday can be encapsulated in these words: “They tried to kill us, we survived … let’s eat!” Surely, this festival of Pesach is a perfect example of this. Unfortunately, these words: “They tried to kill us …” still resonate today, except that the “they” is something no one wants to name, and the “us” is not just the Jews, but the civilized world.

In the weeks leading up to Pesach these are some of the quotes I read:
– Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, said that the terrorism trend lines today were worse “than at any other point in history.”
– Michael Morrell, former Deputy Director of the CIA, told an audience, “My children’s generation and my grandchildren’s generation will still be fighting this fight.”
– Former CIA Director, Gen. David Petraeus, told an interviewer, “We are in the midst of what clearly is a long struggle … there are no shortcuts to success. No single measure that we can take that will eliminate the danger in one fell swoop.”

Yes, “they” are trying to destroy “us.” And it would seem to me that a good measure of the problem that exists today finds its roots in our ancient Egyptian experience. The problems today begin with where the problem began then: right at the Nile. READ MORE