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SERMON: Ruth Bader Ginsburg: What Was She Thinking?

September 12, 2016 Leave a comment

I have spoken about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Both share something in common: more than half of America dislikes them. This week I speak of someone that the majority of American people genuinely respect and admire. For us, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has given her people – the Jewish people – nothing but nachas … genuine Yiddishe nachas. She was the first Jewish woman appointed to the Supreme Court of the U.S. and she publicly takes pride in her Jewish upbringing and background. Shortly after her appointment she addressed the American Jewish Committee and said, “I am a judge, born, raised and proud of being a Jew. The demand for justice runs through the entirety of the Jewish tradition.”

But, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has not only been a source of pride to the Jewish people, she has also been a source of pride to the American people. She’s acknowledged as having been at the forefront of women’s rights for equality. Indeed, she is so iconic that Tumblr has a site entitled: “Notorious RBG,” and now there is a book bearing that name as well. READ MORE

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Categories: Uncategorized

SERMON: Women Moving Their Seat…and Other Global Issues

This January I had a very scary experience when I traveled to Israel. It didn’t happen in Israel, it happened on the El Al airplane … not when it was in the air but when it was still on the ground. Sherry and I had boarded the plane and had taken our seats when a group of Chasidim got on and were headed toward us. I started to sweat and shake. What if, God forbid, one of the men asked Sherry to change her seat so he shouldn’t have to sit next to a woman? Knowing Sherry, I said to myself: this could get ugly. Thank God, it didn’t happen. But what if it did?
Because it oftentimes does! There have been repeated cases of flight delays, arguments on board because an ultra-Orthodox Jew refused to sit next to a woman so as not to have any contact with her. They asked her to move and she has refused. What do you do then? You know what you do? You go to court!

The story was told to all the world in the February 26 issue of the New York Times about Renee Rabinowitz, a PhD in educational psychology and child survivor of the Holocaust. She recently found herself settled comfortably in her aisle seat in the business class section of the El Al flight from Newark to Tel Aviv when, as she put it, “This rather distinguished looking man in Chasidic or Haredi garb – I guess around 50 or so – shows up.” The man had been assigned the window seat in her row but he did not want to sit next to a woman. Thinking that inadvertent contact was forbidden by Jewish law, reluctantly Ms. Rabinowitz, an 81 year old grandmother who walks with a cane, agreed to move. But now, she is suing El Al, claiming discrimination as she says, “For me this is not personal. It is intellectual, ideological and legal. I think to myself: here I am, an older woman, educated, I’ve been around the world … and some guy can decide that I shouldn’t sit next to him. Why?” READ MORE

SERMON–Rosh Hashanah 5776: Iran, Israel, America…and the Jews

September 16, 2015 Leave a comment

I woke up Thursday morning, August 6, and read a Tweet that the night before Maryland Senator, Ben Cardin, had met with the President of the U.S. I immediately emailed our Senator:

Dear Ben,
I understand that you met with the President last night. I’m sure you are aware of the fact that I know a lot more about the situation in Iran than he does! If you have any questions, I – and my military aides – are available for discussion.

The fact of the matter is it is very possible that the President knows more than I know … more than most anyone knows. How many of us know one centrifuge from another? How many of us know what “yellow cake” is if it doesn’t come in a box from Manischewitz? So what do I know? But in the past, that hasn’t stopped me from talking! Yossi Klein Halevi, one of Israel’s most respected and responsible writers, tells us that Israel is facing the greatest danger to its existence since 1948. How can I not speak about it? This is one of those moments in time that are truly historic. In the U’netane Tokef prayer we recite on the High Holidays we find the angels “trembling and shaking; Heini baw yom hadin – behold the Day of Judgement is here.” This Rosh Hashanah it is not just the angels who are trembling and shaking! With the vote on the Iran agreement, all of us are trembling and shaking! The vote may be over but the aftershocks are going to be felt for many years to come.

So this morning let me tell you how I feel about the agreement and what I know about it. I want to give you three perspectives on how I feel in my heart about what has unfolded; the perspective of an American, the perspective of a Jew, and the perspective of an American Jew. But first let me tell you what I KNOW… what I think by now we should all know. READ MORE

Categories: Uncategorized

What do Jews believe?

November 4, 2014 Leave a comment

Do Jews believe in evolution?
Was there really a flood?
What happened at Sinai?
All this and more … Wednesday evening, MERCAZ Fall Semester 7-8 PM in Beth Tfiloh Congregation’s Tuvin Hall, 3300 Old Court Road, Baltimore.

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Tomorrow: Rabbi Barry Freundel and The Conversion Crisis

October 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Mercaz Fall Semester 14Join me tomorrow night, October 29th at 7 pm, for the launch of the Mercaz Dahan Adult Institute’s Fall Lecture Series as I discuss Rabbi Barry Freundel & The Conversion Crisis. It all takes place at Beth Tfiloh Congregation, 3300 Old Court Road, Baltimore 21208 in the Epstein Chapel.

All are welcome!

Network and explore Israeli business challenges on Nov. 13

October 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Where can you expand your professional network while learning about the rapidly changing Israeli business environment? At BT, of course!

wendyOn November 13th at 8 am, BT is launching its Professional Network with a professional networking breakfast. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear Wendy Coplan Gould, RHIA, Founder and President of HRS, a health records consulting and outsourcing firm. Wendy will describe the strategic challenges her firm has confronted through turbulent economic times compounded by a rapidly changing regulatory environment, which resulted in a vision to expand operations internationally. Her HRS firm established the HRS Coding Academy in Jerusalem, where a group of ultra-Orthodox women enrolled in a rigorous 14-month medical coding course culminating with job offers from HRSIsrael.

This event is FREE for Beth Tfiloh members and school parents; $25 for the general public. RSVP Online: http://bit.ly/1yCaV2X

In the meantime, I invite Beth Tfiloh Congregation members, school parents, faculty/staff (current and past), alumni, alumni parents and alumni spouses to join the Beth Tfiloh Professional Network on LinkedIn. It’s a great way to further your ties and connections to one another and to Beth Tfiloh by creating a supportive business environment for professional growth and advancement!

What’s the future of American Judaism? Find out tomorrow.

October 21, 2014 Leave a comment

WertheimerJackProf. Jack Wertheimer is one of the most noted and important Jewish sociologists in America. His research and writings play an important role in the decision making of the leaders of the American Jewish community. This, despite the fact that he oftentimes disagrees with the leaders! His is a voice that is heard, and I hope you will avail yourselves of the opportunity to hear him on Wednesday evening, October 22 when he will be our guest speaker at the Stanley Z. Penn Memorial Lecture to be held at 7:30 PM in the Beth Tfiloh Rosen Arts Center/Mintzes Theater.

Below are some of his recent writings that will give you a taste of the depth of this man’s understanding of the American Jewish community. The future of the Jewish community in the U.S. is not guaranteed. Come and find out for yourself what are some of the problems, and what are some of the solutions.

Intermarriage: Can Anything Be Done?

Jews and Jewish Birthrate

The Ten Commandments of America’s Jews

Can Modern Orthodoxy Survive?

Categories: Uncategorized