Mourning in our tradition is both
private and public. When we visit the
graves of our loved ones, as many of us did this past Sunday for Kever Avot, we generally do so privately. And of course, each of us come here today,
with the personal memories of family and friends whose lives have impacted
ours. Yet Yizkor is the public
observance for the community of...
Soon after returning home to Toronto this summer, people told me
that I needed to get a Mirvish subscription. While I appreciated the tip, I
have seen most of what is coming to town this year in New York on Broadway.
Before I had a child, and the cost of babysitting was added to the
cost of the evening, I saw a lot of fabulous and not-so-fabulous theatre. With
the exception of the...
Jody and I were married in 1992. We honeymooned in
Europe on our way to Israel for a year, and spent Rosh Hashanah at the Great
Synagogue in Florence. One of my most vivid memories, though, is not the
grandeur of the synagogue, nor the unique nusah,dating
back to the Spanish Expulsion of 1492. Rather, what I remember most clearly is
There were police guards with Uzi machine...
The year 5779 has just ended, but it will be
remembered for many moments and events in our personal and collective
One day, April 11, 2019, stands out as a guidepost
It started out as a regular day. I took my daughter
Ariella to school. I went in to my former shul to do some work. Then I got
in my car to drive off to two events, both of them off the Long...
Since I’ve arrived, not only have the Raptors won the NBA
Championship, but Bianca Andreescu won the US Open and Beth Tzedec celebrated
its most well-attended Selihot ever! Maybe we can build
on this momentum and this will also be the year my classmate and good friend
Rabbi David Wise changes his email from “lastcup67” to “lastcup20” as the Leafs
win the Stanley...
There is a story found near the very beginning of the Talmud.
Rabbi Yohanan fell ill. His friend Rabbi Hanina came to
visit him and asked, “Is your suffering, are these afflictions, dear to you?”
Or, “is this enjoyable for you?”
While answering in the affirmative might have made him look macho,
Rabbi Yohanan bravely said to Rabbi Hanina, “I welcome neither
Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When they came together, the Eternal made
her conceive, and she bore a son... Then Naomi took the child and laid him in
her bosom, and became his nurse. The women of the neighborhood gave him a
name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed; he became
the father of Jesse, the father of David.” (Ruth...
How many of you saw Schindler’s List? You may recall one of
the last scenes, when survivors places pebbles onto his gravesite. The cemetery
is located on Mt. Zion, just outside the Old City of Jerusalem.
Last month, as part of our "Path of Abraham/Sharing
Perspective" study mission, I brought Muslims, Christians and Jews to a site on
Mt. Zion identified, since the 12th century, as King...
many advantages to being an Israeli and some would claim that the greatest
benefit is to have only one seder
All of us who have
survived two sedarim and who are here this morning deserve a special pat on the
back Y’yasher Kochachem. Turn to the person on your left, without leaning to your left and shake their
How do we make the...
Today we are reading Parashat Yitro.
Last Shabbat we read Parashat Beshallah. Moses successfullygot the Jews out of
Egypt, acrossthe sea of reeds and safe
after the attack initiated by Amalek. Moses demonstrated his leadership as a diplomat
in representing God to Pharoah and in uniting the Jewish people to leave Egypt.
Moses demonstrated his leadership in amilitary
context to defeat the...
Perplexing. Enigmatic. That’s how Bible scholars describe the three verse
narrative from our Torah portion about Tzipporah, Moshe and their new-born son.
Here is the
Moshe has fled Egypt
after killing a man for abusing a Hebrew slave.
He meets the daughters of Yitro near a well and chases away the
shepherds who are harassing the women. Yitro...
Today marks the 100th anniversary of
the November 11 agreement that ended the First World War. Today also marks the 80th
anniversary of Kristallnacht, the organized riot that revealed to all, in
dramatic fashion, the true intent of the Nazi regime. These were times of great
trial and testing.
During the past two weeks, we have
also been witness to and participants in great trial and...
colleague Rabbi Ethan Linden of Camp Ramah in Berkshires wrote:
is a Tree of Life to those who hold fast to it and all of its supporters are
happy. I have been holding, clinging, but this week, I have not been
happy. I’ve been saddened. I’ve been broken. Branches of our
Tree of Life have been broken. They have been snapped off of the tree. There
Josette joins me in the hope that this year will be a shanah
tovah, one of blessing for you and your family, the people of Israel and the world.
Rosh Hashanah is saturated with memories. Occasionally, we
are so overwhelmed by these memories that we cannot speak, we cannot articulate
why they are so significant. But they remain at the core of souls, at the heart
of our inner...
beliefs sustain you? What commitments guide you through life? What is so
important that you would makes sacrifices for them? I invite you to reflect on these questions
you do, I have a confession to make.
This past year, I became a heretic. Heresy, which comes from a Greek
word which meant “choice," came to mean a freely chosen
opinion at variance with an...