Posts Tagged ‘Holocaust’

SERMON: Zachor – Poland and the Holocaust

February 27, 2018 Leave a comment

Today is a special Sabbath in the Jewish calendar–the Shabbat before Purim is noted as Shabbat Zachor – the Shabbat on which we are commanded to zachor – remember – what our archenemy, Amalek, did to us. So important is this that the same paragraph that starts with the commandment for us to “zachor – remember” concluded with the words, “lo tishkach – don’t forget.”

This morning I want to tell you three stories. After you hear them, you might have a better understanding of what the difference is between “remembering” and “not forgetting,” while also understanding the mistake the Polish government recently made regarding the Holocaust, and why we, American Jews, today must both “remember” and “not forget.” 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: There’s So Much To Talk About …

For me, the most difficult part in preparing a sermon is to decide what I should speak about. It’s not always easy to think of a topic. Today I have a very different challenge … what should I NOT speak about? There are so many topics to choose from! Shall I speak about Yom Hashoah –Holocaust Remembrance Day that took place this past Thursday? Or should I speak about Yom Ha-Atzmaut  – Israel Independence Day, which takes place this coming Thursday?  Should I talk about today’s Torah portion? Or, should I just talk about the Bat Mitzvah of my granddaughter? I couldn’t decide, so let’s see if I can do it all!

Let’s begin with this question: Which should play a greater role in our being Jewish – the Holocaust or the re-establishment of the state of Israel? I know the obvious answer is: both! Both are crucially important and both are central to our existence. But if you had to choose ONE which is most significant to your identity as a Jew, what would you choose? That is a question that thousands of Jews were asked in the Pew Survey. When people were asked, “What is essential to being Jewish?” 73% replied, “remembering the Holocaust.” 43% answered “caring about Israel,” just 1 % more than responded “having a good sense of humor.” The Holocaust beats Israel every time! READ MORE

SERMON: There Are Certain Things You Just Don’t Say! Israel at 66

There are some things you just don’t say! It’s as simple as that! Donald Sterling is learning exactly what I mean. Donald Sterling, born to Jewish parents named Tokowitz, is the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team. He was caught on tape telling his girlfriend not to come to basketball games with black people. This is not the first time that Sterling has gotten into trouble for what he said, but this may very well be the last time. Barack Obama – from Malaysia – issued a condemnation of what Sterling said! And Sterling is to be condemned for what he said! It matters not that next month he was supposed to be honored by the National Association of Colored People. It matters not that what he said was said “off the record” in a private conversation and his words were taped without his knowledge, perhaps violating his privacy. It doesn’t matter! Yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion but when your opinion is ugly there are certain things you just don’t say! READ MORE

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SERMON: Would You Abandon a Sinking Ship?

Question: Who is the most criticized person in the whole world? Who has been called “a disgrace to humanity,” “a murderer,” “a coward?” Let me help you: what captain abandoned his sinking ship? You may not know his name but now you know who I am talking about! Lee Jun-Seok was the captain of the South Korean ferry Sewol, which sank last Wednesday with Captain Jun-Seok walking to safety while close to 300 of his passengers went to their deaths. The abandoning of the ship by the captain was labeled by the President of South Korea “a murderous act that can never be understood or forgiven.”  Now I ask you a more serious question: What would you have done if you were the captain of that sinking ship? READ MORE

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SERMON: Kristallnacht 75 Years Later: What Have We Learned?

November 12, 2013 Leave a comment

In my library at home I have approximately 2,500 books of Judaica, books about the Jewish people, our laws and customs and culture. If you were to ask me which of the 2,500 is my favorite book, I would have to think about it. If you asked me which one is the most important, I would have to think about it. But if you asked me which one is the saddest book, I know my immediate response. It is this book – Every Day Remembrance Day; a Chronicle of Jewish Martyrdom by Simon Wiesenthal. The book goes through every day of the year, from January 1st thru December 31st, and for each day it lists a tragedy that took place to the Jewish people on that day. There isn’t a single day where there is only one tragedy listed. It’s heartbreaking to read through this book. It tells a tale that goes to the heart of the Jewish experience. The truth is there were so many massacres and tragedies that even we Jews have forgotten about them. How many of you know that in the year 1648 and 1649 a Cossack leader, Bogdan Chmielnicki, led his forces in killing 100,000 Jews, destroying 300 Jewish communities? There used to be a fast day in the Jewish calendar to commemorate this annihilation, but over time we have done away with the fast for that day, and other fasts, because you just can’t fast every day of the year. READ MORE

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Kristallnacht, 75 Years Later

November 7, 2013 Leave a comment

This Shabbat, in my sermon I will discuss, “Kristallnacht 75 Years Later: What Have We Learned?”

To help set the tone, read this editorial by my friend and recent Beth Tfiloh guest speaker Gary Rosenblatt, editor of The Jewish Week, who explains  why “This weekend is an appropriate time to remember the historical lesson and contemporary meaning of the dark night that led to nightmare for the Jews of Europe.”