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Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

SERMON: The Trump Peace Plan… and the Wohlberg Peace Plan

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This is it! This week with July 4th marks the real beginning of summer. Next week we are on our summer schedule. So this is it … the last sermon for a while. And so, I want to make it a meaningful one. So today I present to you the Wohlberg One-Step Peace Plan. There is just one step that must be taken if there is any hope for the Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace.
Over the years anything and everything has been offered as a means of resolving this dispute. U.N. resolutions and armistice, one-state solution, two-state solution, confederation with Jordan, the Rogers Peace Plan, the Clinton Peace Plan, Camp David and Madrid – endless proposals and, to date, nothing seems to have worked. Now comes the Trump Peace Plan – I hope it works, but the fact of the matter is, all that is necessary to bring the two sides together is one step … one step the Jews took 70 years ago last week. One step the Jews learned 3,300 years ago in this week’s Torah portion. READ MORE
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SERMON: Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman

Our Torah reading this morning is every rabbi’s dream. There is so much in it worthy of talking about, starting with the kindling of the menorah, the role of the Leviim, the concept of Pesach Sheini, two upside down “nuns” bracketing the words of the “Vayehi binsoa ha-aron” – the words we say every time we remove the Torah scroll from the Ark. And then comes the good stuff … the Jews, complaining for a change! And to top it all off, Miriam speaking loshon hara about her brother, Moshe. Every incident is worthy of a sermon, but today I want to discuss something in the Torah portion that is usually overlooked, surprisingly so, because it makes up 10 verses that formed the basis of a Jewish holiday. It begins with the words, “On the day … the Tabernacle was set up the cloud covered the Tabernacle that was a tent of the testimony, and in the evening there would be upon the Tabernacle like a fiery appearance until morning. So it would always be the cloud would cover it and appearance of fire at night.” The verses go on to tell us how that cloud guided and protected the Jewish people through their journey in the wilderness. READ MORE

SERMON: Eyeless in Gaza

If you want to know exactly what is going on at the border separating Gaza from Israel, I can explain it in 15 words – 15 words found in this morning’s Torah portion. Here they are:
Y’var-ekh’cha Hashem v’yeesh’m’recha:
Ya-eir Hashem pa-nav ei-ley-cha vee-chu-nei-cha:
Yee-sa Hashem pa-nav ei-lay-cha v’ya-sem l’cha sha-lom
May the Lord bless you and protect you:
May the Lord show you kindness and be gracious to you:
May the Lord bestow favor upon you and grant you peace.
That, in a nutshell, says it all! Let me explain. READ MORE
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SERMON: Sing! Sing a Song!

This is a historic week for us here at Beth Tfiloh, bringing together three special events. But, I’m not going to speak. When we Jews celebrate, when we as Jews confront historic moments, we don’t speak, we sing. At that awesome moment in history when the Jews saw the hand of God at the crossing of the Red Sea, there were no speeches made, they sang. When our greatest leader, Moshe, came to the end of his days, the charge he left to the Jewish people was not by way of speech, but by way of song. Similarly, Deborah and King David, when blessed with great victories, burst out in song.

So today when we celebrate three milestones, no talk just song. Let me tell you about the three milestones by putting them in the framework of three songs. READ MORE

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SERMON: #NeverTrump

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I want you to pay attention to what I’m about to say, because people who aren’t here won’t believe that I said it! So here goes – today I have something nice to say about President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

As many of you know, I did not and would not vote for them. I find Donald Trump a grossly indecent human being. His leadership is a form of government best described as a kakistocracy. And if you don’t know what that means … we are all better off! I could spend several days telling you why I strongly oppose him, but that would be a waste of your time, and mine. We are all entitled to our opinions. But despite the fact that I don’t approve of much of what Trump and Pence stand for, today I rise to defend them from attacks coming from one particular group – American Jews. Recently, President Trump and Vice President Pence have been criticized by American Jews because of the slap in the face they gave to the Jewish people. Pence, by the speech he gave to Israel’s Knesset; Trump, by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. For some Jews these were unpardonable sins. READ MORE

SERMON: God’s Cossacks: Force-fed Judaism

Something historic took place on the festival of Purim, and we Jews didn’t even celebrate it! Yes, everyone knows that Purim was the day we were saved from annihilation by Haman. That we celebrated. But there is something else that took place that day that affects us to this very day. You know what happened on Purim day? The Jews accepted the Torah! That’s right! It happened on Purim! You thought it happened on Shavuot at Mt. Sinai. But no, it happened on Purim in Persia. Allow me to explain because the explanation may give some insight into what motivated the Jews to build the Golden Calf, and indeed it might help us understand how Jews should be treating each other today. READ MORE

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SERMON: 1517, 1897, 1917, 1947, 1967 … 2017 and Tomorrow

October 3, 2017 Leave a comment

There is something about these moments of Kol Nidre that are unlike any other time of the Jewish year. No matter how distant a Jew feels from his Judaism, Kol Nidre still enters his soul. Who knows what it is that makes Kol Nidre so meaningful? It’s true, its melody is haunting. But its words, which are not even in Hebrew, but Aramaic, are a plain, simple annulment of vows. Indeed, at one point in our history the rabbis wanted to change some of the words but they couldn’t because the Cantors protested. Cantors are always protesting! READ MORE