Sippur- Stories that Make Us Strong (Pesaẖ 5773)
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Apr 4th 2013
Pesah. Time for old recipes and new ones. Bruce Feiler recently asked “what is the secret sauce that holds a family together?  What are the ingredients that make some families effective, resilient, happy?” Drawing upon recent research in team building from both Silicon Valley and the armed forces, Feiler writes that “the single most important thing you can do for your family...
Amen- Emunah, Trust and Action: Lekh Lekha 5772
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Mar 6th 2013
 One of most familiar words in vocabulary of religious life is AMEN. Its use in Judaism dates back to Torah. It has been generally adopted in Christian worship as a concluding word for prayers and hymns. In Islam, it is the standard ending to Dua (supplication) and the "Sura Al-Fatiha”, the opening of the Qur'an.Pronounced in different ways: AH-men, O-meyn, A-men. A-min. ...
Who is Sitting With You?
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Oct 20th 2011
You have probably heard the old chestnut about the new rabbi who notices that when the congregation reaches a particular prayer, half stand and half sit. Each group claims that it is following the historic traditions of the community. The rabbi goes to visit his esteemed predecessor and explains that one side argues and the other side takes the opposite side. He asks the elder rabbi, “What...
Sacred Trash, Sacred Treasure
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Oct 8th 2011
Yom Kippur 5772 - YizkorThe written or spoken Name of God is considered to be especially sacred. The Kohen Gadol would articulate YHVH, the four letter name of God, only on Yom Kippur and only after leaving the confines of the Holy of Holies. We never pronounce YHVH. Instead we substitute Ad-nay. However, even that is felt to be a name worthy of extra sanctity, so when not praying, we have a...
After Eichmann: Choose Life (Kol Nidre 5772)
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Oct 7th 2011
Kol Nidre is a prayer-moment that joins the personal and the communal. We gather in great numbers for a public ritual that carries significant personal and private meaning for us. As we recited Shehehiyyanu together with the Hazzan and Choir, we attune ourselves to this berakhah and its meaning for us this year.So too with certain civic moments. The public rituals, ceremonies and testimonies...
Who Are You and What Are You Doing Here? (Rosh Hashanah Day 2)
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Sep 29th 2011
This past year, I often encountered security details near synagogues in various cities in Europe and Morocco. I spoke to the guards in Hebrew, showed a Canadian or US passport, and usually gained entry.I was reminded of a story of a rabbi, lost in thought. He took a left when the path split. Instead of nearing home, he approached a military outpost. A deep voice in the dark, called out: Who are...