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Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

SERMON: Black Lives Matter

September 19, 2016 Leave a comment

omran-daqneeshIt is said that one picture is worth a thousand words. Well, here was a picture that spoke to millions. It was a picture that we all saw and it couldn’t help but touch our hearts. You may not know the name of the person in the picture, but you know who he is … and you know what has happened. It was a picture of Omran Daqneesh, five years old, after he was pulled out of a building hit by an airstrike in Aleppo, Syria on August 17. Omran lived with his parents and three siblings in a rebel-held neighborhood in Syria, which on August 17 was bombed by either Russian or Syrian forces. He was pulled from the rubble and put on a seat in the back of an ambulance where the picture was taken. Part of his head was covered in blood, his legs were bruised, his thick hair was filled with smoke and dust. And he just sat there … the ambulance was not moving … it would not move until it filled with more children … and he just sat there all alone. Peggy Noonan, writing in the Wall Street Journal, pointed out that he wasn’t even crying. Children would naturally cry under such circumstances; a cry would bring attention and comfort. But what Omran has learned over the past five years is that, if you’re living in Syria, no one brings comfort and attention. You are all alone. 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: My Good Buddy, Larry Hogan

November 11, 2014 Leave a comment

Let me tell you about my good, old buddy, Larry Hogan. I’ve known him for nearly two months now. Until then I really didn’t know who he was. But then I got a call from one of our congregants who said he would like to bring Mr. Hogan to my office to meet with me. So we got together, sat down and talked. I have to say we really hit it off. He came well prepared to meet me. I knew that when he asked if he could borrow my new car, and I told him it was his on any Friday night of the year. I liked him! I told him I would try to be of help. I called some people to meet with him and to give him some support. I helped arrange a meeting between him and the Orthodox rabbis in our community. And I voted for him … not really thinking that he had much of a chance of winning. But truth to tell, one of the major reasons I voted for him was not only because of him, but also because of the candidate who was running against him! Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown lost my vote because I never knew what he stood for; I only knew what he was against! He was against Larry Hogan … and hardly a day went by that I did not get Brown campaign literature that didn’t attack Larry Hogan. Ok, Mr. Brown, you told me what would be wrong with having Larry Hogan as governor, but you forgot to tell me what was right about
having Anthony Brown as governor! It turns out that a lot of people in Maryland felt the same way as I did! And it turns out that lots of people in the U.S. felt that way as well. READ MORE

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SERMON: Do We Have to Wait to “See” to “Believe?”

October 27, 2014 Leave a comment

Of all the Biblical figures, I have always found Noach–or Noah–the most enigmatic. And I don’t say that lightly because I’m not sure what “enigmatic” means! In Brooklyn we never called anyone “enigmatic” … either you were a bum, or you weren’t! So I looked up the meaning of this word “enigmatic” and it is defined as: “difficult to interpret or understand,” “puzzling,” “baffling,” “perplexing.” So, now I can say with full authority: of all the Biblical figures I’ve always found Noach to be the most enigmatic. READ MORE

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Understanding the Syria Conflict: “The Sunni-Shiite War”

October 30, 2013 Leave a comment

This article, The Sunni-Shiite war, might help you better understand the situation in the Middle East outside of Israel.

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SERMON: Yom Kippur – Never? Again!

September 16, 2013 Leave a comment

A week before Rosh Hashana I received a phone call from one of Maryland’s U.S. Senators. I am not going to tell you which one, but HE said he was calling to wish me a happy New Year. I told him that I thought that was so nice that in return I promised that he and his wife, Myrna, could come to services and not worry that I was going to give a political sermon. That was THEN. But a lot has happened since then involving Syria. It is something that, as a rabbi, I feel I have to talk about. But I’m not going to make it political … I’m going to try and make it religious. What position should we, as Jews, take in regard to a response to the Assad regime’s having gassed its own people? It just so happens that the answer to that goes to the very essence of why tonight and tomorrow are Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement – the holiest day for the Jewish people.

The Torah tells us that on the tenth day of Tishrei, “you shall afflict your souls.” But why on the tenth day of Tishrei? Rosh Hashana is on the first of Tishrei because that’s the day of creation. Pesach is on the fifteenth of Nissan because that was the day of the exodus from Egypt. But why of all days was the tenth day of Tishrei chosen to be the Day of atonement? Answer our sages: a great moment in time took place on that day. It was on that day that the Torah tells us: “Vayomer Hashem salachti kidverecha –“And God said: I have forgiven as you asked.” It was on this day that God forgave the Jews for the sin of
the Golden Calf. READ MORE

NYT: “Our New Isolationism”

September 10, 2013 Leave a comment

An important article to read on a subject that affects all of us – whether we realize it or not.

“The United States has just spent thousands of American lives in a distant land for a victory that now seems hollow, if indeed it can be called a victory at all. Our own country, moreover, is emerging from a recession, dispirited and self-absorbed, worried about the fragility of the recovery and the state of our democracy. Idealism is in short supply. So, as another far-off war worsens, Americans are loath to take sides, even against a merciless dictator, even to the extent of sending weapons. The voices opposed to getting involved range from the pacifist left to the populist right. The president, fearful that foreign conflict will undermine his domestic agenda, vacillates.

This is the United States in 1940. Sound a little familiar?”

Read Bill Keller’s Our New Isolationism in The New York Times.