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Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

SERMON: Jacob, Kelly Ann Conway and Alternate Facts

November 20, 2017 Leave a comment
alternative-facts-facebookIn my office at home I have something like 2,500-3,000 books, most of them on topics of Jewish interest. Out of all of those books, one stands out as perhaps being the most valuable. It is almost impossible to purchase a new copy of it. On Amazon it sells for $300. All it is is a paperback published less than 20 years ago entitled Lying for Truth by Nosson Slifkin. Rabbi Slifkin became a cause celebre in the Jewish world some five or so years ago when another book he had written entitled, The Challenge of Creation, was banned by a group of ultra-Orthodox rabbis. This, despite the fact that the book had a forward from Rabbi Zvi Hersh Winereb, someone all of us highly respect, who was then the executive vice president of the Orthodox Union. Why was the book banned? Because Rabbi Slifkin had told the truth! The truth that rabbis down through the ages had questioned the veracity of scientific statements made in the Talmud, and that it is very legitimate to believe from a halachic perspective that the world is more than 5,700 years old. Banned for telling the truth! READ MORE
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SERMON: Best Wishes for a Positive New Year

September 26, 2017 Leave a comment

With a full heart I welcome all of you as we usher in this New Year by asking you a question: What do climate change, terrorism, Brexit, ISIS, North Korea, Neo-Nazis, Obamacare, Russian collusion and Donald Trump all have in common? Answer: I’m not going to talk about any of them! You can sit back and relax! We have all heard enough! It has been pointed out that the purpose of a sermon is either to disturb the comfortable or comfort the disturbed! It feels as if we have heard enough disturbing news and events in the past year to last us a lifetime! So today I want to help comfort you … and it’s not going to be easy! Political analysts and sociologists have started calling us “the anxious generation.” We have switched from Prozac for depression to Xanax for anxiety. READ MORE

SERMON: Charlottesville: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

September 5, 2017 Leave a comment
Charlottesville: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Charlottesville: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I didn’t deliver a sermon over the summer, so I have plenty to talk about. Originally, today I was going to speak to you about events that took place this summer in Chevron, Jerusalem, France and Lakewood. And eventually I will get to all that. I could talk about the devastation in Texas, and we will have something to say about it next week, but for now we pray for the welfare of all those affected and encourage you to contribute to the relief fund listed in our handout. Today I have to speak about what took place in Charlottesville, VA. I have to get it off my chest! Although it took place three weeks ago, the aftershocks will be felt for a long time to come. And, besides, I have to speak about it because, as you’ll see, there were those who were guilty of not speaking about it! I don’t want to be included with them. So today I want to give you a three-fold perspective on Charlottesville … the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good? Now we know … now we know who Donald Trump really is! Since his election, I’ve tried, for the most part, not to talk about him. I have strong feelings about him – very strong feelings. But so do others. He is a divisive figure, so why allow him to divide us? READ MORE

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