Archive

Archive for March, 2016

SERMON: Two Movies, Two Wars … and Lots of Blood

There is a war going on out there. We were all reminded of that this week. Israelis need no reminder … they fight a war every day.

It has long been said that “war is hell.” If you want to know what that means in the 21st century, let me recommend two movies to you.

I am not much of a movie-goer. If I need entertainment, I have my grandchildren! I choose my movies carefully and only go to those I think will teach me something and, quite frankly, that might be used as sermon material. I recently saw two such movies … one a few months ago and the other this week. One is a Danish film that had been nominated for Best Foreign Film of the year called “A War.” The other was the recently released “Eye in the Sky.” READ MORE

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SERMON: Why Do They Hate Us?

It happened to a man who died 60 years ago this past month and it is still studied and discussed by Jewish and Christian scholars alike. Most people are unaware of what happened, but it happened! Shockingly, indeed, unbelievably it happened … and people still wonder why it happened. Together let’s step back in time and recall the story of Rabbi Israel Zolli –the Chief Rabbi of Rome. Our story begins in June, 1944 when Rabbi Zolli, the Chief Rabbi, officiated at a Shabbat ceremony held in Rome’s central synagogue, the Tempio Maggiore, to commemorate the war dead and to celebrate the liberation of Rome from German occupation. Zolli delivered a message of hope, moving to tears many of the thousands of people who attended the ceremony. No one at the time could ever have imagined that nine months later, in February, 1945 an even larger crowd would gather in that very same synagogue for another ceremony … this time to sit shiva and to mourn for Rabbi Zolli who had not died, but had announced his conversion to Christianity. And not just him, but his wife as well! And to top it off, at his Baptism in the chapel of Santa Maria Degli Angeli, he took on the first name Eugenio, in honor of Pope Pius XII … referred to by some as “Hitler’s Pope.” READ MORE

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SERMON: A House is Not a Home … or a Shul!

What do you give the Jewish man who has everything? The question is sort of rhetorical. What Jewish man do you know who thinks he has everything? Well, I came across an item that I think speaks to every Jewish man. It is a house for sale in Ft. Lauderdale, FL … 3600 Estate Oak Circle, to be exact. It is going for $7.5 million but listen to what you get: aside from the usual accouterments of 12 bedrooms and 13 ½ bathrooms … the house features a high-tech home theater, fully equipped gym, salt water pool, a billiards room, a basketball court and your own private elevator. Who wouldn’t want a house like that? But it is particularly enticing for a Jew! You see, the sellers are Yitzhak and Liat Toledano, and Mr. Toledano is an Israeli-born real estate developer and obviously an observant Jew because included in the house are three kosher kitchens, right off the dining room is a hand-washing station, above which sits a mirror into which the blessing of Netilat Yadaim is etched. Not bad! Three kitchens – I guess for milchigs, fleishigs and a little treife on the side when no one is looking! But here is the clincher: this Florida mansion includes within it its own synagogue! No more schlepping to shul… you can daven in your pajamas! No more rabbi or Cantor or Board of Directors … YOU are the master of the house – the master of this house of worship! READ MORE

Categories: Sermons

SERMON: Who Jews Won’t Vote For…

You know, as a rabbi, I can’t, I don’t and I won’t discuss politics. To do so would be a violation of the separation of church and state. But in case you haven’t noticed, this is not a church … and so today, while I won’t tell you who Jews SHOULD vote for, I will tell you who Jews are NOT going to vote for!

Most political commentators agree that the next President of the U.S. is going to be one of five people: either Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side, or Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio on the Republican side. There is Jewish support of varying degrees amongst the candidates. READ MORE

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