Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

SERMON: Lech Lecha: Would You Travel to Israel Now?

October 26, 2015 Leave a comment

Last week I had a sad experience. I was reading an Israeli newspaper online describing the situation in Jerusalem where tourists had disappeared, trips were called off, people were fearful to stand at bus stations, no one was going downtown … and then I saw an article with the headline: “The Choir That Didn’t Cancel.” Before reading the article for some reason I said to myself: I bet you it wasn’t a Jewish choir.  And sadly, I was right. The choir was 150 singers from an American group called “The Singing Men from Georgia.” This is a group of Baptists who were giving a concert called “Bringing Hope to the Peoples of the Holy Land.” They didn’t cancel … would you? Honestly, would you book a trip to Israel these days given the situation there? I would! I can’t go now, but this past week I booked a flight to go to Israel in January. Would you? The truth of the matter is, anyone reading the newspapers would certainly agree that given the situation there, this is far from the perfect time to visit. But I wouldn’t hesitate to go. I don’t make light of the situation but I can’t help but feel right now I would be safer in downtown Jerusalem than downtown Baltimore. READ MORE

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SERMON: Refugees: Then and Now

October 7, 2015 Leave a comment

We can all picture the images before our eyes. They are fleeing, not by the hundreds and not by the thousands, not by the tens of thousands… they are fleeing by the millions. History will never be the same! Of course, I am referring to the two million refugees who fled the land of Egypt, whose travails we remember during this festival of Sukkot, when the Jews having fled the bondage of Egypt, found themselves not in Hungary, not in Germany and not in Turkey… but in a wilderness, living in booths for 40 years.

We Jews are sensitive to the plight of refugees for a good part of our history that is just what we’ve been – refugees – from Egypt, Israel, England, Spain and on and on. And then came the Holocaust when the world would not even allow Jews to become refugees… when all doors were slammed in our faces by the civilized world. So what we now see taking place in the Middle East, across the Mediterranean Sea and entering Europe, cannot help but touch us as Jews and as Americans; a country made up in large part of refugees. READ MORE

SERMON: Is It Time for the Exodus From Europe?

I don’t always agree with Rabbi Eric Yoffe, one of the illustrious leaders of the Reform Movement, but he got it just right in his reaction to this week’s Israeli election when he told American Jews, “Bibi won, get over it.” I thoroughly agree, and that is why today I speak not of the choice the Jews of Israel made this week, but of another choice that another group of Jews are having to make – a choice just as crucial, just as existential – as the choice Israelis made!

Jewish Action, the magazine of the Union of Orthodox Congregations, has as its cover story the question: “Do Jews Have a Future in Europe?” This week the Mosaic website’s feature article asks: Time for Swedish Jews to leave? The Atlantic magazine’s April issue has a feature article by Jeffrey Goldberg entitled. “Is it time for the Jews to leave Europe?” By a show of hands, how many of you – if you were living in Europe – would be considering leaving that continent? And how many of you would not be thinking about it? Well, let me tell you what Moshe Kantor, the President of the European Jewish Congress, said last week: “The question just now in every Jewish family in Europe is: to leave or to stay.” Every Jewish family is now asking that question! Who would believe that in the 21st century Jews would be afraid to live in the heart of the civilized world? That can only mean one thing: the world has gone crazy! READ MORE

SERMON: It’s Always Something!

December 15, 2014 Leave a comment

The late actress, Gilda Radner, will long be remembered for the many roles she played, but she is most immortalized for the character she played on Saturday Night Live, Roseanne Roseannadanna, who used to proclaim from time to time: “It’s always something!” Those words, “It’s always something!” became the title of the book written about the life of Gilda Radner. But the reality is, according to Jewish tradition, those words: “It’s always something!” can be used to describe most all of our lives. The words find their root in a commentary on the first verse in this morning’s Torah portion.

Our Torah portion began with the seemingly innocent words: “Vayshev Yaacov b’eretz migurei aviv–Yaacov settled down in the land of his fathers.” But, the rabbis come along and say it wasn’t so. “Bikesh Yaacov leshev bishalva, miyad kafats alav rugzo shel Yosef–Jacob wanted to settle down in peace and he thought that at last he was going to be able to do so, but just then the tragedy of Joseph came upon him.” The rabbis go on to say that Jacob should have known better. He should have known that “ein shalva l’tzadikim b’olam haze–there is no rest and there is no peace for the righteous in this world.” It’s always something! READ MORE

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SERMON: Suing Your Parents

It took place in a courtroom in New Jersey on Tuesday, March 4 of this year and it immediately became a topic of discussion on the Internet when Rachel Canning, of Lincoln Park, New Jersey, filed a lawsuit against her parents. As one writer described the story:

Rachel Canning is an 18-year-old who is suing her parents. She brought a lawsuit to force her parents to pay for her private school education and her personal expenses. It seems that while living at home her parents set rules she was expected to follow. She had to abide by a curfew, commit to doing assigned chores performed by her siblings, and be respectful to her elders. She chose instead to leave home and live with the family of a friend – a home in which she was free to get drunk and to party as she pleased. It seems she valued independence above all. But unfortunately she wasn’t independent enough to be able to support herself – and so she demanded that the parents who had previously bought her a car, paid for her tuition, and set aside money for her college education be legally required to continue to take care of her in the style to which she had become accustomed. The contract she assumed guided their relationship was “You owe me everything – I owe you nothing” – because after all that’s the way I and so many members of my generation define your job as parent. In a Morristown court, after Rachel filed for an emergency order to get $600 a week from her parents, Judge Peter Bogaard blasted the young woman, referring to an obscene voicemail she left for her mother. “Have you ever seen a young adult show such gross disrespect to a parent in a voicemail?” he asked. “The child thumbs her nose at her parents, leaves the house and turns around asking, ‘Now you have to pay me money every week.’ ” READ MORE

Keeping — or Losing — the Faith

February 6, 2014 Leave a comment

My sermon this Shabbat is entitled: Bibi Netanyahu and His Son; What to do when your child rejects your values.

You might find this New York Times article of interest: Book Explores Ways Faith Is Kept, or Lost, Over Generations

Teaching Kids Bar & Bat Mitzvah Etiquette

October 15, 2012 Leave a comment

This New York Times article, Teaching Respect to the Faithful — which examines the lack of decorum among teens at Bar & Bat Mitzvah parties — speaks for itself, but I personally think the situation is even worse…