A Rabbi's World

01/08/2015 - 19:00 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | A Rabbi's World

There are aspects of spending time in Israel that can take one completely out of a “New York state of mind,” and refreshingly so. For all the problems that Israel has, and there are many, I have yet to spend time there without experiencing one or two encounters with people that are so unlike life here in New York, and I treasure them.

12/17/2014 - 19:00 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | A Rabbi's World

It is difficult, if not impossible, to walk into a store at this time of year without being subjected to mind-numbing Christmas Musack playing in the background, just soft enough that you can speak over it, but also just loud enough that you can’t help but hear it. I assume that the intention is to put shoppers in the “Christmas spirit,” and make them spend more. I doubt that it has any positive effect in that regard. The message, though, comes through loud and clear in ways both liminal and subliminal: “We need a little Christmas, right this very minute.”

12/11/2014 - 19:00 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | A Rabbi's World

My wife Robin and I are blessed with four children; as she is fond of saying, we have “one of each.” In raising them, we have come to understand the true miracle of creation.

12/03/2014 - 19:00 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | A Rabbi's World

As I write, the government of Israel is literally in the process of dissolving itself, as a vote taken in the Knesset mandated that it do. New elections will be held this coming March. Metaphorically, Israel's government has been dissolving itself without benefit of Knesset action, slowly and tortuously, step by painstaking step, over the past few weeks.

11/25/2014 - 19:00 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | A Rabbi's World

At our Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, we sing all three stanzas of America the Beautiful, which appear in the Prayer Book that we use here, edited by the late Rabbi Ben Zion Bokser, z”l, who led this synagogue for fifty years.

11/20/2014 - 19:00 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | A Rabbi's World

Early in the 1980’s, when the AIDS epidemic was in its early stages and few people really understood what AIDS was or how it was transmitted, a particularly awful episode of fear-driven hatred was visited upon a family in Arcadia, Florida. Their house was intentionally burned down by arsonists, and it was made clear that, because one member of the household had AIDS, the family was no longer welcome in Arcadia. The family, for reasons both physical and spiritual, had no choice but to leave.