Posts Tagged ‘The New York Times’

SERMON: Israel, Iran; War or Peace

October 28, 2013 Leave a comment

It is not easy being in the clergy business these days. In this era of political correctness you have to watch every word you say:

  •  A Catholic priest cannot say that gay marriage is a violation of the Judeo-Christian heritage because then you are going to be labeled as a “homophobic bigot.”
  • A rabbi can’t say intermarriage is a threat to the Jewish people because then you’re going to be called an “un-American racist.”
  • Of course, you can’t say that men and women are different because although, in case you haven’t noticed, they ARE different … to say it turns you into a “misogynist chauvinist.”
  • None of us can call a terrorist a “terrorist” because you know what they say: “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” You have to call them “militants.”
  •  And of course you can’t say that Barack Obama is a weak president, or the Tea Party is going to destroy the Republican Party, because it’s “politically incorrect” to talk politics from the pulpit.

As you all know by now, I am lots of things but I’m certainly not “politically correct.” So today I want to speak out against something America’s President Barack Obama said that he thought was politically correct, and something that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said that he thought was politically correct. And I want to tell you what is really correct! Read More

Take a stand for Israel NOW – sign BT member David Mackler’s petition asking Jerry Seinfeld and Jon Stewart NOT to perform with Roger Waters, a staunch advocate of boycotts against Israel.


SERMON: Be Not Overly Righteous …

September 30, 2013 Leave a comment

It’s the oldest mystery story in all of history … the questions it raises are 5734 years old. It’s possible – just possible – that only now do we have some hint to solving a question that has puzzled humanity in general, and Biblical commentators in particular, since the dawn of creation.

Today we began at the very beginning. “In the beginning, God created heaven and earth.” Shortly thereafter came Adam and Eve and certainly their lives raise many questions. But it’s the story of their children, Cain and Abel that still affects us to this day … the first murder in human history. How could one man kill another, in the Garden of Eden, no less? As if to complicate the question, how could it be a brother killing a brother? How is that possible? The rabbis, through their midrashic comments, add another layer of mystery to this first murder. How did it all come about? You remember? There were two brothers, Cain and Abel, both of whom offered sacrifices to the Almighty. What were the sacrifices? One brought the mipri ha-adamah from the fruits of the field. The other brought M’bchorot tzono from the finest of his sheep. Who brought which? Cain brought the fruits of the field, while Abel brought the animals … something Cain refused to do. Do you know why he refused? Our sages offer a fascinating explanation. Cain refused to sacrifice an animal because he couldn’t get himself to kill an animal, not even for the sake of God. Cain could not stand the thought of hurting even a small animal. And then what happened? Cain became the first murderer in history when he killed his brother Abel. READ MORE

SERMON: Yom Kippur – Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

September 16, 2013 Leave a comment

We had a wonderful member of our congregation named Robert Winegrad who passed away last year. One of the wonderful things he did was maintain a family tradition that was started in 1952 when they began distributing Passover food baskets to needy Jewish families. To help raise funds for this worthy project, the family had printed contribution cards as many organizations do. This year, in
preparing words to speak at Bob’s unveiling, I came across one of these cards that he had sent to me which said, “A contribution has been made to the Passover Basket Fund.” And then he wrote, “O great and exalted spiritual leader, we thank you for your leadership and inspiration and given the length of your High Holiday sermons, for preparing us for eternity.” Signed, Dotsie and Bob Winegrad.

Well, if you think my sermons are long … you can’t imagine how long it takes to prepare them!

This one spread out over months when I found a reoccurring theme that struck me by virtue of a book I read, a movie I saw, a news clip I watched and an article that broke my heart. And together they all teach us an important lesson in life; a lesson that can best be expressed by a wonderful song that Bruce Springsteen chants: “Keep your eyes on the prize!” 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.

From Bikinis to Burqas: Finding the Middle Ground

September 19, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s been quite a few years since I delivered a sermon to you on the
second day of Rosh Hashana. It’s been much easier preparing one Rosh
Hashana sermon and delivering it the first day here and the second day
in the Auditorium. But we are trying something different this year. We
anticipate that next year, because of its growth, the Chapel service will
be moving into the Auditorium. And while many – or most – of the
people in the Auditorium will remain there, we are hoping to encourage
some of them to move over to the Sanctuary. Part of that
encouragement is my delivering the sermon here on both days of Rosh
Hashana as well as Kol Nidre and both here and in the Auditorium on

So I asked myself: what could I talk about that people who were
not here would regret not hearing and eventually want to be here. What
subject matter could I seize that would immediately capture people’s
imagination? After much thought, I decided that today I am going to
talk about BREASTS! Even I can’t believe that I just said that! I told
you that I was going to talk about a subject that no rabbi had talked
about before, and I knew I would when I woke up on Friday, May 8 of
this year. READ MORE