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Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

SERMON: Sleeping or Rejoicing; the Choice is Ours

You know that I’m no big fan of Donald Trump. But after what he did in Israel this week, I’ve really had it with him! It’s not anything he said, it was just his being there! Because he came, I was forced to move from my hotel in Jerusalem for security reasons. The Secret Service said it needed the whole hotel. I tried to explain that back here at Beth Tfiloh, I am part of the Secret Service … my attendance at services is a big secret! But they just did not get it! The truth is, it made no difference. My stay in Israel was one of the most glorious I’ve ever had. As part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, I got to hear and meet everyone from the prime minister and president of Israel to Michael Oren and Yossi Klein Halevi and more chief rabbis than there are countries in this world! It was all fabulous! But through it all I kept thinking of one person who wasn’t there, who is not alive, but the picture of him is well known in Israeli culture, and it puts into context all that has unfolded before our eyes. Indeed, it sheds light on why we stay up all night on the eve of Shavuot. READ MORE

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

SERMON: Everybody is Somebody!

Thirty-three million people were watching it here in America, and countless millions around the world. It was a never-to-be-forgotten moment as the Academy Award for Best Picture was announced – the winner was La La Land. Then, amidst the victory speeches and accolades a commotion erupted on stage. By now we all know what happened! A mistake had been made. The envelope was switched and the real winner was Moonlight. But no one knew what to do – until one man stepped forward. Jordan Hurwitz, the producer of La La Land, took control while everyone else seemed paralyzed and confused. Hurwitz called Moonlight’s team up to the stage, handed over the statue and hugged the real winners.

We Jews have a name for people like Jordan Hurwitz. They are called “nachshonim” and we are reminded of where this name comes from during these last days of Pesach. Do you remember what happened when the Jews stood at the banks of the Red Sea? It happened on the 7th day of Pesach. If you don’t remember the Torah reading, you certainly remember the movie! The Jews have been liberated from Egypt and are on their way to the Promised Land when suddenly they are confronted with the swirling waters of the Red Sea in front of them and the Egyptian army behind them. So they cry out to God and what does God say? “Daber el b’nai Yisroel v’yisau – tell the Jewish people to go forward.” But no one moves! Everyone was fearful of drowning. When the Israelites stood at the edge of the Red Sea, none of the princes, the leaders, had faith in God; none wanted to go into the water. All the princes suddenly became very polite. Each one said to the other, “After you …” Suddenly, out of nowhere, comes along a man named Nachshon ben Aminadav, who, in an act of great faith and courage, plunged into the swirling waters. According to our tradition, because of Nachshon – and Nachshon alone – because of his courage, heroism and faith in God, the Almighty split the Red Sea, thus saving the entire Jewish people. The Jewish people have remembered Nachshon’s name ever since. This is why in modern Israel, the ones who go first, the ones who take the lead in a difficult or dangerous situations are called Nachshonim. READ MORE

SERMON: I’m Not Going to Talk about Donald Trump …

President Donald Trump advocates revoking the Johnson Amendment. And that could
make all the difference in the world for me!

The Johnson Amendment, named for then Senator Lyndon Johnson, is a provision in the U.S. Tax Code that prohibits non-profit organizations, most especially religious institutions, from endorsing or opposing political candidates. If the amendment is revoked, finally, finally, I’ll be able to discuss politics in my sermons! The fact of the matter is, a good case can be made for revoking the amendment. Does it really make sense that under the present law, Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian can express their moral and ethical views on political issues, but rabbis, priests and ministers cannot? The truth is, contrary to popular opinion, rabbis have always discussed politics. When Napoleon’s army invaded Russia, a bitter battle broke out amongst major rabbis. The Lubavitcher Rebbe felt the freedom that Napoleon would be offering the Jews would cause Jews to assimilate. So he supported the Czar. The Chernobler Rebbe saw the French Enlightenment as a hope for Russian Jews to no longer have to be attacked, tortured and murdered by the Czar’s henchmen. So he supported Napoleon. READ MORE

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: The Genius of Donald Trump

December 5, 2016 Leave a comment

I am about to make two brief statements that, in my wildest dreams, or worst nightmares, I never thought I would say. The first is: God bless Donald Trump. The second is: I want to talk to you today about the genius of Donald Trump.

I say “God bless Donald Trump” because he has given me a treasure trove of topics to discuss in my sermons. I speak of the “genius” of Donald Trump because we welcome our guests who are participating in the Weiner Tournament, and I feel that Trump has a lesson for all of them, and you, to learn. READ MORE

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SERMON: Faking It

November 30, 2016 Leave a comment

The Academy Awards are still several months away but, from my perspective, the Oscar given for the best performance by an actor has been narrowed down to two names: Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Their award-winning performance took place on Nov. 10th in the Oval Office of the White House when these two sat there together with smiles on their faces. Obama warmly welcomed Trump, saying, “We are now going to do everything we can to help you succeed.” And Trump referred to Obama as “a good man” and said their meeting was “a great honor.” For all of us this had to be a performance of a lifetime! Just think of what the two of them had previously said about each other. READ MORE