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Posts Tagged ‘America’

SERMON: Post-Obama, Pre-Trump: Lessons for American Jews

January 10, 2017 Leave a comment

This is the time of year when pundits make predictions for the future. I am definitely not going to do that! Who would have predicted at this time last year that the so-called “civilized world” would stand by when hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians were being gassed and bombed? Who ever imagined that Britain would vote to pull out of the European Union? And then, of course, there’s Donald Trump. Many still can’t believe it! We are living in a world in turmoil, and there is really no way of predicting what the future may bring. I, for one, can do little – if anything – to set the world straight. But I can do something regarding the Jewish people! I can have an effect on the future. Not by predicting it – even I don’t claim to be a prophet – but by correcting some of the mistakes that our people have made in the past year in the hope that it won’t happen again in the year ahead. READ MORE

SERMON: EMUNAH: Believe it or not …

November 15, 2016 Leave a comment

On this day, obviously, there is only one thing on my mind, and one thing for me to talk about … and that is emunah. But not THAT Emuna, although I could talk about her for hours! This morning I want to talk to you about the emunah that is so much a part of our tradition and which many of us, as Americans and Jews, have lost. In the authoritative Alcalay Hebrew dictionary the definition of emunah is “confidence, consciousness, honesty, religion, faith, doctrine, creed, belief and trust.” Any way you look at it, our country is going through a serious crisis of emunah. READ MORE

SERMON: President Donald Trump: Now What?

November 15, 2016 Leave a comment

I have good news and I have bad news. The bad news? The sermon I wrote earlier this week, the one with the opening words: “Mazel tov … it’s a girl! The only thing is, she is not a girl anymore. She’s now a woman and not just any woman! She is now president of the United States … which means that the most powerful man on earth is a woman!” Well, to quote Gilda Radner, “NEVER MIND!” Here’s the good news, with the Trump victory I’m going to have plenty of sermonic material for the next four years! READ MORE

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SERMON: Liar, Liar … Pants on Fire

November 1, 2016 Leave a comment

There’s this family that lives on a farm in America. The father calls his three sons, Anthony, Louis and Nick, into the kitchen. He says to his sons, “Which one of you pushed the outhouse into the river?” “Not I,” replied Anthony. “Nor me,” Louis said. “It wasn’t me either, father,” said Nick. So the father says “I want to tell you a story about George Washington. One day George Washington’s father gave him a hatchet. Then, George Washington chopped down his father’s favorite cherry tree. George Washington’s father said, ‘George, who chopped down my favorite cherry tree?’ George Washington said, ‘Father, I cannot tell a lie, it was me.’ So George Washington’s father hugged and kissed his son for being honest with him.” Then Anthony said, “Father, I, like George Washington, cannot tell a lie, I pushed the outhouse into the river.” The father takes off his belt and starts beating him. After he got the beating Anthony says, “But father, I was honest like George Washington.” The father replies, “But George Washington’s father wasn’t in the cherry tree when he chopped it down.” READ MORE

SERMON: Orlando and Pulse, Tel Aviv and Sarona, Settlers and Jihad … and lots more…

For us as American Jews, we have been hit with a double whammy. First, there was the terror attack at the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv, killing four people. I have been to the Sarona Market … it’s new and it’s beautiful and just the right atmosphere to enjoy a leisurely evening. But the terrorists didn’t see it that way.

And then, just a few days later all of us as Americans were crushed and devastated by the terrorist attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. It is a place where people can go and be themselves and enjoy themselves. But the terrorist did not see it that way.

The terrorists, separated by thousands of miles, did see everything the same way … through the eyes of Radical Islam. President Obama seems to be the only one unable to say it, but everyone knows it. READ MORE

SERMON: Something Nice to Say about Hillary and Donald

We have all been captivated, mesmerized, disgusted… call it what you want… by the Presidential nomination process we are in the midst of. During the lifetime of most of us, we have never experienced something quite like this–so divisive, so accusatory and sometimes downright malicious. One can think of so many names of prominent Americans who many–if not most of us–would find appealing, from Biden and Bloomberg to Ryan and Warren. And yet, it still seems to be coming down to two people–Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump–who have one thing in common: people don’t like them! According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, more than half of American voters have unfavorable views about them! Donald Trump has a 65% unfavorable view and just 24% favorable. And Hillary Clinton is doing a little better, but not by much. She has a 56% unfavorable rating and a 32% favorable rating. These unfavorable ratings are the highest in the history of the poll asking this question. So, you have to wonder: how did they get to be the people’s choice? That’s for some other time. But for me the question today is: is there anything nice to say about the two of them? Yes, it’s true, I didn’t live through eight years of Barack Obama to face a choice between Clinton and Trump! And there is still time before November for things to change. But for now, our tradition teaches that we should judge everyone on the scale of merit. So what merits can I find in the two of them? I think I have found the answer and it has nothing to do with politics. It has everything to do with why we have come here today to recite Yizkor. READ MORE

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SERMON: Pesach Politics

It started when I was 16 years old … the summer of 1960 was one I shall never forget. It was a summer I spent in bed. It had just been discovered that I had rheumatic fever, and after three weeks in the hospital I spent the rest of the summer in bed. To help keep me occupied my mother sent my brother, Saul, to buy a record player and some records for me. Saul bought the record player … but the records he bought were music he liked–not me! I still remember their names: Cavalleria Rusticana, Turandot and La Boheme. Given no choice, I listened to them over and over again and have a love of opera to this very day!

There is something else that happened that summer that instilled a love in me to this very day. The summer of 1960 was the summer of the Republican and Democratic conventions that nominated Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. I watched every minute of those conventions and I’ve had a love of politics ever since! READ MORE

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