A Rabbi's World

09/11/2009 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

Without really preparing for it last week - you’d think that I would have known better, being in this line of work and all - I came upon a significant marker in the road, and an unsettling realization.  My childhood is over.  It’s a strange realization to come to now, given that I have four children, and a grandchild to boot.  But it took a moment of reflection during our morning synagogue service for me to get there.

09/24/2009 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

In lieu of a regular posting this week, I am sharing with you the message that I delivered in my own congregation in Forest Hills on the second day of Rosh Hashanah.

I do so because it speaks to a subject that I think needs to be on our communal agenda, and about which I feel passionately: how and about what we in the Jewish community disagree, and its implications for our relationship with the world as a whole, and particularly with Israel.

I wish you all a g’mar hatimah tovah…

10/02/2009 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

The days between Yom Kippur and the beginning of Sukkot offer a welcome opportunity for a change of mood.

10/09/2009 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

Henry David Thoreau famously said that the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.  I never really understood that line when I first read it many years ago, and as I was growing into maturity, it always seemed to me a bleak assessment of the human condition.  ”Quiet desperation” seemed to negate the very possibility of living a meaningful if not joyous life.  In my youth, hearing those words made me feel distant at best from what Thoreau was trying to say.

10/16/2009 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

Just a few weeks ago, I wrote a blog entry that cited my second day Rosh Hashanah sermon.  It defended President Obama from what I consider ill-advised attacks against him, caustic and often personal attacks not grounded in any reality.  As I see it, he’s a relatively untested politician in a terribly difficult job in a ridiculously difficult time, doing the best he can.  The jury is out on him, and time alone will tell.  (Yes, Mr. Safire a”h, too many clichés, but they are all perfectly appropriate!).

10/23/2009 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

This coming Shabbat, in synagogues around the world, the story of Noah will be read and discussed, as it has been for thousands of years.

The great medieval exegete Rashi famously cited a timeless discussion in the Talmud about just how virtuous Noah really was.  One sage said that it mattered not a whit what generation Noah was born in- he would have stood out as a great man regardless of time and place.  Another differed, and said that had Noah been born, say, in the generation of Abraham, he would not have been seen as exceptional.