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2016 Yom Kippur

Clearly, everywhere we look, all around us, today is not only Wednesday, but Yom Kippur.

As much as we might want today not to be Yom Kippur, we can’t change it. And I for one, do not want to change it.

Because believe it or not, Yom Kippur is my favorite holiday of the year. When I shared this notion with a colleague last spring, he was very surprised.

My colleague wondered how Yom Kippur could be my favorite holiday when there is so much attention that must be placed on all the services.

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2016 Kol Nidre

Who is Karl Becker?

Did you watch the debate on Sunday night? Karl Becker is the uncommitted voter who took the mic for the final question of Sunday night’s presidential debate and asked the question which seemed to have the greatest impact of the evening: an impact on both the candidates and on the audience.

The question he asked was: “Would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?”

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2016 Rosh Hashanah – Second Day

Nine year old Joey, was asked by his mother what he had learned in Sunday school.

“Well, Mom, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. When he got to the Red Sea, he had his engineers build a pontoon bridge and all the people walked across safely. Then he used his walkie-talkie to radio headquarters for reinforcements. They sent bombers to blow up the bridge and all the Israelites were saved.”

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2016 Rosh Hashanah – First Day

A frum looking man was traveling on El Al, when his seat mate asked what he did for a living.

“I’m a rabbi.”

“Well,” said the man condescendingly, “I was born Jewish. I don’t know much about it, but I presume you could sum it up in one sentence: ‘Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.’”

The rabbi smiled, then said, “And what do you do for a living?”

“I’m an astrophysicist,” he replied smugly.

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In Memory of Elie Weisel, July 9, 2016

I have been sad all week long.

Last Saturday night, when I retrieved my email messages after the end of Shabbat, I learned that Elie Wiesel passed away at the age of 87.

Since then, I realize that my sadness reflects not only the death of an individual, but in many ways, the death of a generation.

Elie Wiesel was a journalist, an author, a lecturer, a defender of human rights, but most of all, he became a face and the spokesman for Holocaust survivors.

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DRRS 2015 Recap and Look Ahead to 2016

So far this school year has been full of excitement, learning and family fun! We began our school year with our traditional walk to the creek for Tashlich. After we cast our sins in the water and listened to Rabbi Pohl as he blew the Shofar, we had dinner here at the synagogue in the new school wing for over 75 children and their families. Next, we decorated the Sukkah and even though the rain kept us from eating in the Sukkah, we enjoyed our time together eating pizza and schmoozing in the new school wing.

In early November, we had our Kabalat Siddur Service where our 3rd grade students and students new to DRRS helped lead the service and received their Siddurim. It was a beautiful service and the first performance of the DRRS chorus for this school year! In addition, our first Shabbat Yachad family service, for families with children 2nd grade and younger, occurred in November. Rabbi Pohl and Sue Westenburger led songs, Rabbi Pohl told a great Shabbat story, and we celebrated Shabbat, little people style, and had a great time!!!

At the end of November, we celebrated our First Family Shabbat Morning Service and it was awesome!!…

2015 Yom Kippur

And when I am for myself, what am I?

And if not now, when?”

Last night I offered an analysis of this famous teaching from Hillel, the great Talmudic sage.

Today I want to share some thoughts about the third part of Hillel’s famous teaching:

V’eem lo achshav, aymatai – and if not now, when?

Well, what does that mean?

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2015 Kol Nidre

I trust that just about everyone here today has heard teachings or wisdom from what we call, “Pirke Avot,” usually translated as “Ethics of the Fathers.”

I begin today by sharing a text from Pirke Avot which you most likely have heard before.

My goal is to examine this text more carefully, more deeply, and perhaps from a perspective you have not yet considered.

The author of the text is the great rabbinic sage, Hillel, who taught:

EEm Ayn Ahnee Lee, Mee Lee– If I am not for myself, who is for me?

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