A Rabbi's World

01/29/2016 - 10:35 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | A Rabbi's World

In one of the sadder episodes of my rabbinate, I officiated recently at the funeral of a young soldier in the American army who died suddenly of natural causes. The death was, to understate the case dramatically, a horrific shock to the soldier’s family, and to all of us who knew him and his family through the years. His death was a great tragedy.

01/22/2016 - 11:34 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | A Rabbi's World

At the wedding I attended in Washington last weekend, I had a rare and precious chance to sit with my wife, among the guests, as a guest.

It doesn’t happen all that often. Most commonly, I am at weddings as the officiating rabbi. I’m worrying about who has the rings, do the bride and groom remember their lines, is there a glass to break under the huppah, and other details that people just assume take care of themselves. But in this instance, as a long-time friend of the bride’s parents, I could just sit back and watch the warmth and charm of the traditional Jewish wedding work its magic. And I was, anew, amazed at how arcane rituals that Jews have been practicing for literally thousands of years can still resonate with such rich meaning in this very different time.

01/13/2016 - 13:28 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | A Rabbi's World

Through the good offices of my local New York City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, I had the opportunity some months ago, along with the local Jewish leadership of Central Queens, to meet Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, the Councilwoman from neighboring Corona who also currently serves as the Chair of the powerful Committee on Finance of the New York City Council. Although the meeting was not organized for the purpose of advancing individual pet projects, it nonetheless attracted, as one would expect, a great deal of interest among local Jewish leaders.

01/07/2016 - 17:52 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | A Rabbi's World

Just a few days ago, my wife Robin and I returned from a brief but wonderful trip to Israel. As I wrote in this space before we left, there was no specific business, professional or family obligation that was bringing us there. We just wanted to visit the country that we love, see family and gain a more accurate sense of what it’s like to be in Israel at a difficult and stressful time for the country and its citizens.

12/09/2015 - 19:00 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | A Rabbi's World

Since he entered the race for the Republican nomination for President months ago, Donald Trump’s candidacy has been the greatest gift that late night television comedians could have hoped for. From Jimmy Fallon to John Stewart to Jimmy Kimmel, and virtually every week on Saturday Night Live, Trump’s increasingly grandiose bellowing has been a comedian’s dream. He has been the proverbial well that never runs dry, a sure-fire laugh every time.

12/02/2015 - 19:00 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | A Rabbi's World

Around the time when smoking was officially labeled a serious health hazard, one of the first of many television commercials was produced to try and convince people to quit. It featured a father and young child outside on a beautiful spring day, with the child imitating everything the father did. The father took off his jacket, and the child took his off. The father smelled a flower, and the child did the same.