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Friday Shabbat Shalom

The World Must Be Our Ark

Oct 23, 2020

The World Must Be Our Ark

Noah and family must have witnessed inconceivable carnage. Everyone they knew died and they drifted aimlessly for over a year, presumably amidst floating corpses and other horrors. The world was a wasteland that they had to rebuild with the nightmarish memories of survivors. It's no wonder that Noah planted a vineyard and drowned his sorrows (Gen. 9:20-21).
The Revolution of Being

Oct 16, 2020

The Revolution of Being

There are words that change the world, none more so than two sentences that appear in the first chapter of the Torah:  Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
Reconciling Science and Religion

Oct 9, 2020

Reconciling Science and Religion

If I were to ask you if you thought Orthodox Jewish belief supports only a literal interpretation of the creation story in the Torah, you might be inclined to say yes. After all, don't Orthodox Jews believe that the Torah is an accurate historical account dictated by G-d to Moshe Rabbeinu/Moses our Teacher on Har Sinai/Mt. Sinai?
Got Joy?

Oct 2, 2020

Got Joy?

Sukkot is tonight, and I'm not really feeling the approaching Zman Simchateinu (the season of our joy) all that much. Between the coronavirus keeping us all more isolated and unable to host many people on the holiday to the presidential debate and this horrifying election cycle (just in time for Halloween- who needs artificial scariness?!?), I'm having a difficult time 'getting my joy on.'
UNMUTE YOURSELF!

Sep 25, 2020

UNMUTE YOURSELF!

We’ve all been there. We’re on a video conference, and someone will be trying to make some point, but we can’t hear him or her. Or we’re talking but no one is hearing is us… So all the participants on the conference yell – in unison – “unmute yourself!”
Renew Ourselves and Become the Sweetness

Sep 18, 2020

Renew Ourselves and Become the Sweetness

Jon Stewart of Daily Show fame was fond of comparing the Jewish holidays to secular ones. He once quipped about Rosh Hashanah, “On the secular New Year, most people wake up New Year’s Day and regret the events of the preceding evening. The Jews just skip that part and go right to regret!” While I wouldn’t call Jon Stewart a great scholar of Jewish history, his humorous comment strikes a chord that is resonant during these times.
The Hidden and the Revealed

Sep 11, 2020

The Hidden and the Revealed

This past summer I had the great joy of kayaking in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. As my kayak would slip over the dark waters of the lakes, I would often peer down into the water, keeping myself quite still, so that I might catch a glimpse of the life below. Sometimes, when the light was just right, I was able to witness schools of fish darting around. Twice I saw large Muskies poised in the midst of a hunt, as they hid behind a column of water plants.
The Past Guides Our Future

Sep 4, 2020

The Past Guides Our Future

How should we remember the past so that it best teaches us how to live our lives into the future? Parashat Ki Tavo gives us a very interesting answer and model for us to use. Israelite farmers were commanded to bring the first cuttings from their produce in a basket to the Temple where the Kohein (priest) would place them in front of the altar.
Compassion Leads to Life

Aug 28, 2020

Compassion Leads to Life

This week’s parsha, Ki Teitzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19), contains an enormous set of mitzvot (commandments). In its 110 verses, the parsha lays out 74 commandments, 27 positive and 47 negative, on topics as varied as the treatment of female captives, what to do with the body of an executed person, rooftop safety and the prohibition on wearing shatnez (mixtures of wool and linen).
To Lead is to Serve

Aug 21, 2020

To Lead is to Serve

This Torah portion – Shoftim – שופטים – Judges speaks about figures of authority – judges, and later, kings. In other words, it speaks about leadership. It speaks about people we should trust and obey. More than at any time of the post-World War II history, it seems very timely and relevant to each of us during this strange time in which we are all currently living. Maybe this is why I approach it with tribulation.