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Community (RH1 5776)

Rosh Hashanah begins what the rabbis call the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe. I am huge fan of awe which leads to awesome meaning amazing! But our modern understanding of awe as something tremendous is not what our ancestors had in mind when they used the term. When they said awe, they were proposing that fear and trembling were the proper response to awe. When they talked about God’s awesome power, it was something to make us cower. The...Read more...

Israel & Immigration (RH2 5776)

I make it a priority to speak about Israel every year, and this year is no exception. But what to share with you? I could tell you that I love and unequivocally support Israel and that I want you to love and support the Jewish State too, but that would not being saying anything new or surprising even to someone who has never heard me speak before after all I am a rabbi and that is how most rabbis feel. And I’m still torn between wanting to...Read more...

Kol Nidre (KN 5776)

We refer to tonight’s service as Kol Nidre, when in fact that is only the name of the opening piece. Some of you may not realize that Kol Nidre is not even a prayer. It is a text set in legal language, but it has no legal bearing in Judaism. The Torah scrolls together with the prayer leader are supposed to constitute a Bet Din, a Jewish court of law, for this recital. Jewish courts are never held at night which...Read more...

What we Learn from Others (YK 5776)

The moments before Yizkor on Yom Kippur is an especially sacred time; when we stop to remember our loved ones who are no longer with us. There is a custom of visiting their graves before Yom Kippur; part of the custom is placing a stone on the grave to mark our visit. If you were not able to do so, or if you would find it meaningful, you are welcome to visit the tables at the back of the room where there are...Read more...

Making the Most out of Services (ERH 5775)

For many people the High Holy Days are an ordeal. It's something they feel they have to do. And let's face it: for many people services are boring. As a result, they come late, leave early and spend a good part of the service day-dreaming or talking to the people around them. For a rabbi and for those who have come to pray, seeking a spiritual experience, this can be pretty disheartening. High Holy Day services...Read more...

Success and Failure (RH1 5775)

Shanah Tovah! It is such a pleasure to look out and see all of you here on this Rosh Hashanah 5775. This is a Shehehiyanu moment, a moment to celebrate and to savor, so please feel free to join me in reciting this bracha, this blessing that thanks God for this special moment in our lives, it can be found in our Mahzor on p. 30 in both Hebrew and transliteration for all who do not read Hebrew – [say...Read more...

Grow Your Judaism (RH2 5775)

Rosh Hashanah, Day 2, is actually a misnomer. The rabbis of the Talmud called the two days of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Arichta, One Long Day. This was before we doubled all our holidays outside of Israel, back then only Rosh Hashanah was two days long. This is what led to the custom of eating a new fruit on the eve of the second day to give ourselves a reason to say the Shehechiyanu prayer again as we do on the first...Read more...

Israel (KN 5775)

KN the most sacred night of the Jewish year! We have gathered together, put on tallitot and heard the plaintive chanting of the KN prayer. On this night we contemplate our state of affairs. We've had ten days to repent, for those who began back in Elul, tonight culminates a 40 day process, parallel to the time Moshe spent on Mt. Sinai receiving the Torah. Whether you have spent 40 days or 40 seconds preparing for...Read more...

Death since last Yom Kippur (YK 5775)

Since last Yom Kippur, we mourn the loss of four members of our Shomrei Torah family – two long time members and two much too young:
• Irwin Nijaki, Jack Gaba, Jeff Razen and Keren Friede

As well as many relatives:
• Daniel Dunn, brother of Marilyn Hirschhorn
• Howard Trachtenberg, father of Alan Trachtenberg
• Paula Sheffler, mother of Beth Julie
• Jeffrey Kornblau, brother of Marc Kornblau
•...Read more...

Overcoming Obstacles (YK 5775)

Yizkor is a time we think about death. Yizkor is about remembering. This summer we have seen more than our fill of death. But probably nothing captured our attention as intensely as the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teens – Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer & Eyal Yifrah. For 18 days the world Jewish community stopped what we were doing and we prayed. In Israel all attention was focused upon finding...Read more...

Sat, December 14 2019 16 Kislev 5780