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Friday Shabbat Shalom

Even Dirt Gets to Rest

May 24, 2019

Even Dirt Gets to Rest

We officially live in an era and a culture where we all try to impress each other with how busy we are at every moment, how much we accomplish and how hard we work. And due to smart phones, we are available 24/7 and we can be in touch with the world 24/7 too. The problem is human beings were not designed for this level of activity.
The Gift of Torah

May 17, 2019

The Gift of Torah

The ritual of counting days has become a spiritual practice where we imagine ourselves on a profound journey towards Sinai. We are encouraged to take time out of our daily routine to pause, to count, and to anticipate how much closer we are to standing once again at the base of Mount Sinai with our hearts open. On this Shabbat, as we are at the halfway point, halfway to Sinai, we ask ourselves: “How will I receive the gift of Torah this year?”
Entrances to Holiness

May 10, 2019

Entrances to Holiness

In this parsha is found a compendium of paths to holiness, including revering mother and father, Shabbat, making sacrifices, the rights of the poor, fair courts of law, handling anger, maintaining distinct categories, what we do with our bodies, respect for elders, fair commerce practices and so much more.
What Kind of Goat Are You?

May 3, 2019

What Kind of Goat Are You?

In this week’s Torah portion, Acharei Mot, we read about the Yom Kippur ceremony of Biblical times. This was a very special day, as it was the only day the high priest, Aharon, was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies to bring atonement for himself, his family, and the Children of Israel.
Clearing out the "Chametz"

Apr 25, 2019

Clearing out the "Chametz"

Refraining from eating chametz for a week can become perfunctory for many of us. After a few days, we lose the excitement and spiritual uplift of the seder and it’s difficult to find spiritual meaning in our restrictive diet. One way to find more meaning in the full week-long holiday is to think about bread and leavened items as a symbol for something in our moral character.
The Spring “High Holy Days”

Apr 19, 2019

The Spring “High Holy Days”

The spring holidays are of tremendous historical meaning and very intense (the ridding of chametz/leavened products), the Seder, Holocaust memorials and the intense emotion of Israeli Independence day, while ending with the quiet and calm of study on Shavuot.
The Karmic Implications of Gossip

Apr 12, 2019

The Karmic Implications of Gossip

Often mistranslated as “leprosy,” Metzora seems to refer to some type of eruptive mold that infects people, clothing or even dwellings. If its presence was suspected, a priest would be called, not only to examine the affected area, but also, if necessary, to initiate an intricate ritual of cleansing and purification: isolating the individual or clothing, sealing up the dwelling, possible destruction of the house itself, the sacrificing of birds, lambs, grain, oil, as well as the concomitant sprinkling of blood on the altar, the individual and the priest.
Impure, Impure!

Apr 5, 2019

Impure, Impure!

This week’s Torah portion, Parashat Tazria, deals with a range of afflictions and illnesses that the Torah labels as tzara’at. While commonly mistranslated as leprosy (the illnesses actually have very little in common with Hansen’s Disease)...
Parshat Shemini: Are These Strawberries Kosher?

Mar 29, 2019

Parshat Shemini: Are These Strawberries Kosher?

A popular kosher deli in Amsterdam went out of business a few weeks ago. One of just a few kosher restaurants in the Netherlands, the Sal Meyer (Sal Meijer in Dutch) first opened its doors in 1957.
Purim: A Response to the Challenges of Exile

Mar 22, 2019

Purim: A Response to the Challenges of Exile

Anti-Semitism from the right and the left. People chanting in the streets. Jews are the objects of partisan power plays by people drunk with power. “They are undermining the culture and control the cogs of power. They are the sources of all forms of oppression in the world. Jews will not replace us!” The Jews felt they finally ‘made it’ here, and now multitudes are calling them a third rail.