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Posts Tagged ‘Shavuot’

SERMON: Michael Cohen and Mt. Sinai, God and Gold

Michael Cohen and Elliott Broidy

There are many Jews around the world who stayed up Saturday night symbolically awaiting the arrival of the giving of the Torah. But there are two Jews who I suspect had difficulty sleeping Saturday night, and not because of anything that has to do with Shavuot, but because they are, what we call in French, “oif gut gehoctah tsores.” They have a lot of things to worry about these days. The first is Michael Cohen, our president’s lawyer, fixer and some claim, may be his downfall. Michael Cohen was riding high, always there for the president. Few, it was felt, were closer to him and knew more about him. Cohen, it has now been revealed, only had three clients but having the president as one of them should have – and could have – been considered a lifetime achievement. But now Cohen worries that he may spend a good part of the rest of his life in prison. READ MORE

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YIZKOR SERMON: Who Are Our Friends?

It was exactly 50 years ago this week that Israel learned what all of us must learn: who are our real friends?

To get a perspective on how to answer this question I first want to draw your attention to two people who play an important role during this festival of Shavuot. Interestingly enough, they are both non-Jews who later on became Jews. But their stories, in regard to the Jewish people, are very different.

First is a woman named Ruth. It is hard to describe how high a pedestal our tradition places her on. She became the forerunner of King David and the Messiah. Her story was chosen to be read on Shavuot when we recall the giving of the Torah because she took on the Torah on her own. She is the paradigm of the quintessential convert. Her conversion takes place through her uttering those immortal words: “Ameich ami v’Elokayich Elokai – Your people shall be my people and your God shall be my God.” 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

Ushering in Shavuot

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