A Rabbi's World

07/10/2009 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

There is plenty of commentary to be offered on the obsessive response of America’s media to the death of Michael Jackson.  You have to hand it to Congressman Peter King, who, albeit it in a very undiplomatic way, expressed what many are feeling.  At the very least, Michael Jackson was an accused pedophile, a bizarre caricature of a self-loathing Black man whose hatred of his own skin and features led him to multiple acts of self-mutilation, a serious substance abuser, and, to put it generously, a very, very strange version of an adult.  From whence all the adoration?

07/20/2009 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

I have, in past pieces, written about the Zamir Choral Foundation and its great work with both teens and adults.  As an officer of the Foundation, I am of course a supporter of its programs and goals.  But there are those moments when even I, who first joined the Zamir Chorale forty years ago as a college freshman, am still overwhelmed by the awe-inspiring moments that its remarkable fusion of music and love of Judaism can create.

07/23/2009 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

Between teaching at JTS, having a daughter at Barnard, a wife who works on 91st Street in Manhattan and a daughter who lives a few blocks away, a son who goes to school just a mile or two south of her and another son and daughter-in-law (and grandchild!) who live just a mile or so north, I’ve spent a lot of time these past few years driving from Forest Hills to the Upper West Side/Morningside Heights area.  A lot.  My wife (among other, more valuable lessons) taught me that, once you get over the Triboro/RFK bridge,  it’s faster to drive west on 126th Street than

08/04/2009 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

Like anyone who accepts the responsibility of saying Kaddish seriously, I spend a lot of time running to and from various minyanim.  Luckily, my own synagogue has a daily minyan morning and evening, and when my schedule allows for it, that minyan is always choice number one.  But there are more than a few times when appointments or other commitments have me away from Forest Hills when that minyan meets, and that’s when I go a-hunting.

08/13/2009 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

It feels as if we have been bombarded these past few weeks with news of celebrities who have died, all of them too soon: Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, John Hughes, and others too.  Each made a mark on our society and culture in ways more and less significant, and each left behind fans and admirers who have felt their deaths as a personal loss.

For me, the death of Eunice Kennedy Shriver this week outweighs them all. As one of her grandchildren said recently, she never ran for office, but she changed the world.  How true!

08/23/2009 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

It’s just about at this time of year that I begin thinking in earnest of the topics that I want to address in my High Holiday sermons.  Some years ago, in a fit of preparedness, I wrote my sermons early in July, and then Yasser Arafat and Yitzchak Rabin shook hands on the South Lawn of the White House in August and ruined every rabbi’s already-written sermons for that year.  I’ve learned!