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Friday Shabbat Shalom

Like Adele, Give Thanks to Your Favorite Teacher

Nov 25, 2021

Like Adele, Give Thanks to Your Favorite Teacher

On Sunday, “An Audience with Adele” (the singer) was broadcast on ITV in England. At the event, Adele took a question from British actor Emma Thompson, who asked if there was someone who supported, inspired or protected her "from all the trials and tribulations of life" when she was a child.
What Would You Do?

Nov 19, 2021

What Would You Do?

Would you take the shoes off your feet and give them to a barefoot, homeless person? That is what Rabbi Gabriel Benayon, who serves as a Chabad Rabbi in Panama City, Panama, did when visiting in New York this past month for the annual conference of Chabad rabbis.
Not Knowing the “I”

Nov 12, 2021

Not Knowing the “I”

I have always felt a resonance with [Parashat] Vayetzei (Bereisheet / Genesis 28:10-32:3)... I consider dreams to be divine messengers. In the language of nuance, metaphor, and pun, they speak to us of visions and callings from unknown places. Dreams hold the power to bring awe, to surprise, to delight, to terrify, and to transform.
Digging Deeper

Nov 5, 2021

Digging Deeper

Toldot (Bereisheet / Genesis 25:19-28:9) is the ultimate parsha when it comes to family dynamics, sibling rivalry, undercover arrangements, and the influence of the Divine shaping our destinies. Let's focus on two scenarios that highlight calling out to the Divine and leaning into relationships in the here and now.
 Building the Future, Remembering the Past

Oct 29, 2021

Building the Future, Remembering the Past

One of the astounding and insightful skills of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (z”l), who died on the 20th of (the Hebrew month of) Heshvan last year, was his ability to distill from Torah literature something he called “Life-Changing Ideas.” It reminds me very much of the late Dr. Max Kadushin whose groundbreaking work illustrated how the Rabbis analyzed the actions of personalities we find in the Torah and the rest of the Bible and then extrapolated from them ideas that conveyed the fundamental value concepts of Judaism.
Resting Beneath the Tree

Oct 22, 2021

Resting Beneath the Tree

In this week’s parsha, Vayera, we are brought into a story midstream. At the conclusion of last week’s parsha, Lech-Lecha, we hear of Abraham’s and Yishmael’s circumcisions - Abraham at the age of 99. We hear of the procedure, and then the parsha ends.
Knowledge Is Power

Oct 15, 2021

Knowledge Is Power

This week’s Torah portion, Lech Lecha, opens with G-d calling out to Abram, saying: “Lech, Lecha/ Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you.” (Beresheet/Genesis 12:1-2) The rabbis of our tradition understand the phrase “Lech Lecha” as having multiple possible translations.
A Sea Change

Oct 8, 2021

A Sea Change

This week’s Torah portion is Noah, which conveys the Biblical story of the Flood. I remember this one was a favorite of both of my kids, because at school they had to make dioramas of the Ark and the little animals going in 2 by 2 (though 14 by 14 for the Kosher ones) and my creative eldest daughter used an Obi-Wan Kenobi action figure for Noah since the robes were perfect!
Creation Begins with Separation

Oct 1, 2021

Creation Begins with Separation

All creation begins with separation. Think about it. When a child is born… when a loved one dies… when your job ends… when you finish college… when you move… when you have an idea that bubbles to the surface… look at how many separations we go through in the course of our lives!
Sukkot: Singin’ for The Rain

Sep 24, 2021

Sukkot: Singin’ for The Rain

Many years ago, I saw a fascinating documentary with a very simple title-- Water. The documentary had virtually no dialogue and through imagery, intended to highlight the precious resource, its unequal distribution, and how the entire trajectory and success of a civilization is determined by such a basic resource.