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Posts Tagged ‘Bibi Netanyahu’

SERMON: Were Jews Murdered in the Holocaust?

Tell the truth: isn’t Sean Spicer a piece of work? You really never know what’s going to come out of his mouth! Last week, what he said – or didn’t say – in regard to the Holocaust, even he could not find a more eloquent explanation than to say: “I made a mistake. I mean, there’s no other way to say it. I got into a topic that I shouldn’t have and I screwed up.” Unfortunately, when it comes to the Holocaust he’s not the only one of whom that could be said. It happened in Canada last year and now it has happened in our country: the Jews were left out of the Holocaust! READ MORE

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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: Orthodox Terrorists: What do these words mean?

February 8, 2016 Leave a comment

This is the first time I am formally delivering a sermon since I returned from Israel a few weeks ago, so let me begin by asking you: What’s up? That is a simple enough question to ask in English, but as I discovered from an Israeli newspaper, the question is not so simple in Hebrew. You see, in Hebrew you can ask “What’s up?” by saying “Mah hamatsav” or you can say “Mah koreh, ” or you can ask “Mah itcha, ” or if you want, “Mah nishma.” If that doesn’t work, try “Mah ha-inyanim” or “Mah holeich.” Or if all else fails, “Mah nihiyah.”

That is a lot of ways to ask the simple question, “What’s up?” But the question is: are all the phrases the same? Do they all have the same connotation? Can they be used interchangeably? Are all synonyms created equal? READ MORE

SERMON: Let’s Talk Politics: Obama, Trump … and Asara b’Tevet

December 21, 2015 Leave a comment

Every once in a while I mention in my sermons that I don’t like to discuss politics from the pulpit and many of you just sit there and giggle! Well, today I am going to talk politics from the pulpit, and what I have to say is nothing to laugh about. But in order for me, as a rabbi, to talk politics I first must disguise it by a D’var Torah regarding the Fast of Asara b’Tevet.

This Tuesday is a sad day in the Jewish calendar. It is the 10th day of Tevet and I think it is fair to say that most Jews don’t know – or don’t care – about that day. Really, how many of you who come to shul every Shabbat know what the Fast of Asara b’Tevet commemorates? Yet our tradition considers it a significant day. There were other fast days that our people used to commemorate which over the centuries were removed from the calendar. Indeed, there used to be fasts on the 8th and 9th of Tevet as well. We no longer observe them. After all, if we fasted every day that had a tragic event took place for the Jews, we would never have to go on a diet! But our rabbis kept the fast of the 10th day of Tevet, and in fact considered it so important that whereas other fast days, besides Yom Kippur, which come out on Shabbos are delayed. If Asara b’Tevet could fall on Shabbos, it would not be delayed. READ MORE

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

SERMON: Netanyahu Addresses Congress: One Speech, Two Opinions

This Shabbat, I gave my perspective on Netanyahu’s speech to Congress:

Who Do You Trust? Iran? The World? Obama? Netanyahu?
I have read a lot of books and it would be hard to say which is my favorite. But it’s easy to say which title was my favorite! It was a book written by Sidney Zion, which he titled: “Trust Your Mother but Cut the Cards.” Those few words say so much! As close as we are to someone, as much as we might love someone, we should never take things for granted. We should never be naïve … trust your mother but cut the cards.

We Jews have a two word phrase for this: “Kabdeihu v’chashdeihu – honor him, but suspect him.” In a sense, we put those words into practice because of today’s Torah portion. On the surface, today’s Torah portion tells us nothing new … after several Torah portions describing God’s directions to Moshe on exactly how to build the Mishkan – the Tabernacle – today’s Torah portion finds Moshe, word for word, sentence by sentence, telling the Jewish people: I did this, I did that, I collected this amount of money, I spent this amount of money … more than 100 verses telling us nothing more than just that. Do you know why? The Midrash tells us that after Moshe collected all the gifts that people gave for the building of the sanctuary, every time he walked by, people would whisper to each other behind his back: “Look how good he looks … look how well he is dressing … surely he must be taking money off from what we have contributed.” Moshe heard this talk; he heard them questioning his integrity and their lack of trust in his honesty and so he gave them a detailed report of every single dime that was spent on the building of the sanctuary. And you should know that because of this incident, we are told that the person who collected the money for the funds in the Temple could not wear a double-hemmed garment, a hollow belt or even pants … so that if later on he would become rich people could not claim that he became rich from taking money from the communal treasury. READ MORE

And then I invited Rabbi Jonathan Gross to give his:

A Response to Rabbi Wohlberg’s Sermon…
First I want to thank Rabbi Wohlberg for giving me an opportunity to give another perspective to the Netanyahu speech. One of the many things that make Beth Tfiloh the best synagogue in North America is the diversity of opinions that exist among our congregation, and even our Rabbis, and our ability to come together on Shabbat and discuss and debate them as a congregation.

One of the stories surrounding the Netanyahu speech involved Nebraska Congressman Brad Ashford, from the district that I used to live in Omaha. Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire activist, was sitting in the balcony with his wife Miriam waiting for Netanyahu to enter Congress to deliver his speech. Miriam leaned over the balcony and dropped her handbag, hitting Congressman Ashford in the head. I just hope that this is the last time we hear of a distinguished gentleman from Omaha getting hit in the head because of the Netanyahu speech.

In the sermon you just heard, Rabbi Wohlberg made many good points about the perfidiousness of the Iranian regime, and the looming dangers Iran’s nuclear aspirations pose to Israel. But I am not here to debate those. He also made some strong assertions about Netanyahu’s record on economic policy, religious matters, and how he handled the war in Gaza. All of these are debatable, but not today. READ MORE

What do YOU think?

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Mr. Netanyahu Goes to Washington – Yes or No?

February 18, 2015 Leave a comment

Okay, class. Here is the question for today: should Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu address a joint session of the U.S. Congress on March 3rd?

First, let me first provide the background. The Speaker of the House, Republican John Boehner, invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress about negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear program. To date, the negotiations have passed their deadline, with a new extended deadline approaching. There are many in Congress, as well as Israel’s leaders, who feel that the threat of more sanctions can help push Iran into making necessary concessions. Others, including President Obama and some world leaders, argue that Congress resolving to add more sanctions would only push the Iranians away from the table. Everyone agrees that Iran going nuclear will be a threat to Israel, yes … but throughout the Middle East and  way beyond as well. READ MORE

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