Posts Tagged ‘Maimonides’

SERMON: Am I a Liberal or a Conservative?

October 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Let me ask you a question. Do you think I’m a Republican, or a Democrat? A liberal or a conservative? I have been delivering sermons here at Beth Tfiloh for 39 years now. There is hardly a subject I can think of that I have not spoken about – from Iraq to Iran, from Obama to Trump, from homosexuality to hurricanes, from abortion to anti-Semitism, from J Street to Worth Avenue, from liberals to conservatives. And I have spoken about these subjects with a bit more clarity and outspokenness than most rabbis. That is because of YOU! That’s because you have allowed me to express my feelings! So, you know where I stand. Having said that, do you think, deep down, that I’m a liberal or a conservative? Come on, raise your hands! Would it help if I tell you that in the last six presidential elections, three times I voted Democratic and three times I voted Republican? READ MORE


SERMON: A Ticket to the World to Come

September 25, 2015 Leave a comment

Here’s the story: this is the holiest night of the year and this is the most difficult sermon for me to deliver. You sit here stuffed and tired. I stand here stuffed and tired … not the most positive setting in which to speak. So here is what I’m going to do: I’m going to tell you a few stories, primarily about people you know or know of. And then I’m going to ask you to write your own story. And if you get it right, you will have earned your place in the World-to-Come. So let’s start!

What happened on the streets of Baltimore the last week of April marked a terrible blow to our city that will not soon go away. The scenes that followed the troubling death of Freddie Gray reverberated around the world. Seemingly overnight, civil society as we know it broke down; divisions erupted between the Mayor and the Governor, the police and the community, the State’s Prosecutor and the media, between blacks and whites. Little wonder that CNN’s coverage was headlined: “Baltimore is Burning.” READ MORE

Mysterious Ways: Blessed by Bashert

October 12, 2012 Leave a comment

A fascinating story from a good friend of mine, Rabbi Benjamin Blech, who through a “chance” meeting at a medical ethics conference was invited to the Vatican library to view Maimonides’ original manuscripts: Mysterious Ways: Blessed by Bashert

Shabbat Shalom.

Mitchell Wohlberg

What’s in YOUR Kishkas?

September 19, 2012 Leave a comment

This was quite a year for me! Before Yizkor I will have something
to say about my medical event of the year … of a lifetime! But, on this,
the first day of the Jewish New Year, I want to speak to you about what
was, for me and my family, the most significant Jewish event of this past
year. I spoke of it when it happened, but I speak of it again because it
helps answer a question I asked the Cantor this year which both he and I
had trouble answering.

It was on the first day of Pesach. All of my grandchildren were
playing in the backyard on the new swing set we had purchased, when
all of a sudden our next to youngest – Elana, who is three years old – fell
off the swing, breaking her elbow. She was taken to GBMC where they
felt the break was more severe than they wanted to handle. That led to
an ambulance ride to Johns Hopkins. At Hopkins, being in severe pain,
they gave Elana morphine which put her in a bit of a stupor. And
suddenly, in the midst of it all and from out of nowhere, she started to
sing a song she had learned in her preschool class … “kol od balevav
p’nima nefesh yehudi homiyah – as long as in the heart within a Jewish
soul still yearns and onward towards the ends of the east an eye still
gazes toward Zion, our hope is not yet lost. The hope of 2000 years to
be a free people in our land – the land of Zion and Jerusalem.” That’s
what she sang in her medically induced stupor – the Hatikvah! You tell
me: why? Certainly there are songs she is more familiar with; songs
like: “The Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round, “Mary had a Little
Lamb,” “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” or even “Dip the Apple in the
Honey!” What made her sing the Hatikvah? READ MORE

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

September 4, 2012 Leave a comment

I have not tweeted or blogged lately due to my summer illness.  Now I’m back … and I hope to stay in touch.  The attached sermon will describe “how I spent my summer vacation.”

It has been quite a while since I last addressed you, but I looked at the calendar and saw that today is Sept. 1 – payday! So, I decided it was time for me to return! And believe me when I say with a full heart that it is good to be back. It’s good to see you! It’s good to see anybody! I am deeply touched by your many acts of kindnesses during my recent illness … the cards, the calls, the donations … it’s been overwhelming. One of you emailed saying you had been reluctant to contact me but when the check-out lady in the Giant asked about me, you felt comfortable getting in touch. Believe me when I tell you: it feels good to be wanted and cared for. I am particularly appreciative to Rabbi Posner, who kept me in the loop through it all and who took care of everything that had to be done, who made me feel comfortable knowing that the shul was in good hands. I am sorry that with my return he will now have to move out of my office. But I’m not fully back to myself, so for Rabbi Posner there is still hope! READ MORE

Homosexuality: Can You Change Human Nature?

A few weeks ago a member of our synagogue came to see me and told me their son had “come out of the closet.” He openly declared that he is gay! At first, our member was shocked to hear this news, but soon enough, made peace with the fact. Now our member – and others –are involved in establishing a support group for Jewish parents of gay children. Next Sunday at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation an Israeli movie will be shown on this subject, followed by a panel discussion involving rabbis and an academician. They already had a Conservative and Reform rabbi on the panel and they wanted an Orthodox one. Homosexuality is a very “loaded” issue in the Orthodox community and it was felt that someone from Beth Tfiloh – with our more liberal and open approach – might be best suited to appear. I replied that I wanted to be completely supportive of the endeavor, I recognize this is an issue that the Orthodox community is reluctant to deal with but must, and I said that certainly one of our rabbis would appear on the panel. READ MORE

A Mixture of Religion and Politics

November 14, 2011 Leave a comment

We Jews are supposed to be smart people. And it would seem to be true! In the past century 20% of all Nobel laureates have been Jews. We’re only ¼ of one percent of the world’s population, but 20% of the Nobel Prize winners. In this year, 2011, five of the eleven Nobel Prize winners that have been named are Jews. That is 45% who are Jews! So, yes, it would seem as if we are smart. But between you and me … I’m not so sure!

This morning I want to test you and see just how smart you are. I’m going to ask you a series of questions and let’s see if you know the answers:
1. What religious group in America is most liked?
2. What religious group in America do we Jews most dislike?
3. What American religious group is most knowledgeable about other religions?
4. Are Mormons really Christians?
5. Who was the first convert we Jews rejected?
6. Why do Evangelicals like the Jewish people?
7. What are the names of the people who first said the words, “Boruch Hashem?”
8. Who was Maimonides?