Rabbi’s Sermons

2018 Yom Kippur – The Power of Faith

I once heard an amazing story from a Holocaust Survivor named Lillian. As a 14-year-old girl she was taken by the Nazi’s from her home in Kluge, Romania and transported to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. In her writings, Lillian recounts, Spring was in the air and even though I was living in the hell known as Auschwitz, for a moment I felt alive.

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2018 Rosh Hashanah – Second Day: Two Truths

There’s a story I heard when I was in college about Dr. Stone. A physics professor at the University of Michigan. It’s probably an Urban Legend but it’s a good story. Dr. Stone was an ardent atheist and one day he told his class, I can prove to you that God doesn’t exist. Dr. Stone calls out God. Dr. Stone said, ‘God - if you’re real -- then come down right now and knock me off this platform'. I'll give you 15 minutes!

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2018 Rosh Hashanah – First Day: Life is a Journey

The story is told of a Jewish mother who shouts at her son: 
Get up!  It’s time to go to shul.
The son says: Aw, Mom I don’t want to go to synagogue
The people there talk about me behind my back
Nobody ever listens to me
They don’t like me and I’d rather stay home in bed
The mom says, But you have to go
The son says, Give me 2 good reasons

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Parshat Pinchas – Big Rocks

My mom always knew I was going to be a Rabbi because when I was 8, I had a lot of energy and I was attending a Jewish Day School until 4pm each afternoon. So, she signed me up for Karate lessons and the instructor said to the class the first thing you have to do is bow down as a sign of respect. I said I don’t bow down for anyone but God.

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2017 Yom Kippur

I share with you a true story that occurred at a recent funeral where I was the officiant.

It was a graveside funeral and everyone was standing around the grave waiting for the casket to be fully lowered into the grave site.

At the casket was lowered in almost settled down below, with everyone in quiet attendance, suddenly, the following recorded message was heard by me and I imagine others around me –

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2017 Kol Nidre

One of the other names for Rosh Hashanah is Yom HaDin, the Day of Judgment, because during these 10 days we stand ready to be judged by God, by Dayan HaEmet, the ultimate judge.

The process actually began 40 days ago, at the beginning of the last month of the Hebrew year which is called Elul.

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2017 Rosh Hashanah – Second Day

On a Friday night in the middle of July, Congregation Kol Shalom hosted more than a few dozen parishioners from Holy Family Catholic Church in Davidsonville, Maryland. (great name)

These Christian Congregants have visited our synagogue three times over the last few years and we visited them once in August, 2016.

They initiated the visits, even our visit to them, and I think I know why.

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2017 Rosh Hashanah – First Day

Most of you know that Sharon and I spent nine days in France this past summer.

This trip was planned as a vacation, but also became a pilgrimage retracing the paths of some of our ancestral Jews in southern France.

Before this trip I knew virtually nothing about Provence.

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2017 Erev Rosh Hashanah

Classical rabbinic Judaism includes a directive and formula for Jews to recite 100 blessings every day.

Given that the weekday Amida contains 19 blessings and given that the traditional Jew recites this prayer three times every day, that already gets you to 57.

Of course there are many additional blessings included in other daily prayers plus, since most of us eat every day, there are the blessings that precede and follow our meals and snacks.

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2016 Presidential Election

A week or two ago when I was anticipating what I thought was the most remote possibility of standing here at this moment in the aftermath of a victory by Donald Trump in the presidential election of 2016, there were at least two points I knew I would want to make.

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