Rabbi’s Sermons

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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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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