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Posts Tagged ‘Chanukah’

SERMON: What Chanukah Means to Christians…and what Christmas Means to Jews

December 28, 2016 Leave a comment

It’s beginning to look a lot like ____________. You fill in the blank! Tonight, Jews usher in Chanukah and Christians usher in Christmas. That has only happened four times in the last 100 years! It’s good when it happens because things seem to be easier and work out better when these two holidays come out at the same time. The children in our day school can be told they have no school during the last week in December because it’s Chanukah. We are singing when Christians are singing. We are giving gifts when they are giving gifts. We can celebrate when they are celebrating!

That is the good side of when the two holidays come out at the same time. The flip side is that when they come together people tend to mix them up, thinking that they are both basically the same. I remember once reading of a service available for Jewish children at this time of year to write Bubbie and Zaide in the North Pole asking for Chanukah presents! Why Bubbie and Zaide are in the North Pole and not Miami Beach at this time of year is beyond me! The fact is, while Chanukah and Christmas are very different, Chanukah does have a unique meaning to Christians … while Christmas, over the centuries, had a special meaning for Jews. READ MORE

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Shabbat Chanukah Suggested Reading

December 19, 2014 Leave a comment

Get ready for Shabbat with these suggested readings!

Categories: Articles Tags: ,

SERMON: It’s Always Something!

December 15, 2014 Leave a comment

The late actress, Gilda Radner, will long be remembered for the many roles she played, but she is most immortalized for the character she played on Saturday Night Live, Roseanne Roseannadanna, who used to proclaim from time to time: “It’s always something!” Those words, “It’s always something!” became the title of the book written about the life of Gilda Radner. But the reality is, according to Jewish tradition, those words: “It’s always something!” can be used to describe most all of our lives. The words find their root in a commentary on the first verse in this morning’s Torah portion.

Our Torah portion began with the seemingly innocent words: “Vayshev Yaacov b’eretz migurei aviv–Yaacov settled down in the land of his fathers.” But, the rabbis come along and say it wasn’t so. “Bikesh Yaacov leshev bishalva, miyad kafats alav rugzo shel Yosef–Jacob wanted to settle down in peace and he thought that at last he was going to be able to do so, but just then the tragedy of Joseph came upon him.” The rabbis go on to say that Jacob should have known better. He should have known that “ein shalva l’tzadikim b’olam haze–there is no rest and there is no peace for the righteous in this world.” It’s always something! READ MORE

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SERMON: Thanksgivukkah or Chansgiving…Whatever it is, it was!

December 2, 2013 Leave a comment

It bothered me having to write this sermon. As you know, I put a lot of thought and time into my sermons but I always feel it’s worth it because I’ll be able to recycle something from it to use again some years later. But not this time! Today I am speaking about that unique moment in time that came this week when Chanukah and Thanksgiving arrived at the same time. The last time this happened was in 1861. But no big deal was made of it because President Lincoln had not formally established Thanksgiving at that point. So the truth is, in a sense, this combination has never happened before. The next time this will happen is in the year 79811! It’s not going to happen again for more than 77,000 years! Besides Al Tamres and Willie Mazer, who else do you think will make it? It doesn’t look like I’ll be able to use this sermon again!

Why this unique combination has happened this year is too involved for me to explain. That’s not really true … it’s too involved for me to understand. It has something to do with the fact that the latest Thanksgiving can ever come is on November 28 and the earliest Chanukah can ever come is on November 28. And that has to do with the fact that the Jewish calendar repeats itself on a 19-year cycle and Thanksgiving repeats itself on a seven-year cycle, and the Hebrew calendar has an additional leap month every two or three years, while the American calendar has a leap day once every four years. And the Jewish calendar is very slowly getting out of sync with the solar calendar at a rate of four days per 1,000 years … put it all together and you understand why I don’t understand! READ MORE

Happy Thanksgivukkah — Chanukah Sameach!

November 27, 2013 Leave a comment
Happy Thanksgivukkah...Chanukah Sameach!

Happy Thanksgivukkah…Chanukah Sameach!

Everything you need to know and enjoy Thanksgivukkah

November 26, 2013 Leave a comment

This year, Chanukah is a special day with special foods:
JPost: Thanksgivukka: Please pass the turkey-stuffed doughnuts

Not everyone is so excited about this:
The Colbert Report: Thanksgiving Under Attack
Slate: No Thanksgivukkah

We think it’s really cool…but we don’t want it to get out of hand:
Haaretz: 8 imaginary Frankenholidays inspired by Thanksgivukkah

On a serious Chanukah note:
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: 8 Short Thoughts for 8 Chanukah Nights

And a joyous Thanksgiving note:

See you at the Chanukah Fireworks Under the Stars at Beth Tfiloh tomorrow night!

Are you ready for Thanksgivukkah?

October 4, 2013 Leave a comment

Some light reading for Shabbos.  You should know that the first night of Chanukah, which is also Thanksgiving eve, we are having a major fireworks display at Beth Tfiloh to usher in the two holidays.

When Holidays Collide, You Get The ‘Menurkey’