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SERMON: Why Do They Hate Us?

December 11, 2015

Every Shabbat here at Beth Tfiloh is special, but this Shabbat of the Weiner Tournament
is one of the highlights of our year as we welcome student athletes from some of the finest Jewish day high schools in America and Canada, and this year from Israel as well! Receiving the kind of education they are getting makes them the true future of our people. All of our children are special, but these are very special. And that is why it was so painful for all of us to recently lose one of them.

Ezra Schwartz was a graduate of the Maimondes High School in Boston where he had
our own Rabbi Soskil and Nina Cusner as teachers. Upon graduation he did what many students of day schools and Yeshivot do … he decided to spend his “gap year” before college by going to Israel for a program of study and volunteering. It was while serving as a volunteer, bringing food to soldiers in Judea, that a Palestinian gunman opened fire, killing Ezra. Unfortunately, tragically, incidents like this have become part of the day-to-day life in Israel. But this time was different … the killing of Ezra struck home. It could have been any one of the children attending the Weiner Tournament. Many – if not most – have already been to Israel. Our Beth Tfiloh seniors are taken to Israel every year. And then there is that “gap year” when many of the young adults here today have plans of spending the year in Israel like a cousin of our Bar Mitzvah who is not here today. He is in Israel where, after his gap year of study, he is now starting
paratrooper training.

I hope that all of you who intended to go will still decide to go. But that is not for me to
say. One of my sons was in Israel during the Gulf War when Saddam Hussein was firing scud missiles into Israel. We decided to allow him to stay, but I can only make decisions regarding my children … your parents will have to make a decision regarding you. You may not like their decision and I have reason to believe that it won’t be the first time that you won’t like their decision! But that’s okay. As my mother used to say to me, and I say to you: “Someday you’ll understand … someday you’ll have children and you’ll understand …;” you’ll understand some of the decisions your parents made, decisions not made out of stupidity but out of love. READ MORE

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