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Thoughts on Yom Kippur – October 10, 2011

Just two days ago, on Saturday, Jews all over the world marked the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. I wanted to share some thoughts with you that were part of my Yom Kippur experience this year. The fast began just before 5 pm on Friday. Clothed in white, our […]

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Planting Trees – February 7, 2012

Tomorrow is Tu B’Shvat, the annual holiday of trees.  Although this day was well known in Jewish sources for centuries, since the beginning of the 20th century, when Jews began returning to the Land of Israel in large numbers, this day took on greater significance.  The early Zionist pioneers found a desolate land, with a […]

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People of the Book – A Tale of Two Cities

May 2011 Thousands of years ago, the people of Israel stood at the foot of Mount Sinai, and received the Torah… the word of G- d. “And these words… shall be on your heart. You shall teach them to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you […]

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Shmini (Eighth) – Leviticus 9:1 – 11:47

One of the most tragic events in the Bible takes place in this week’s reading. Leviticus 10 begins with the story of the death of Nadav and Avihu, who brought a “strange fire” before G-d. It is not clear exactly what Nadav and Avihu did that angered G-d.

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Passover – Exodus 33 – 34

Parents are encouraged to do whatever they need to do to arouse their children’s curiosity. In some cases, they dress up as the ancient Israelites with a sack and a stick, and they march around the table until the children question this bizarre behavior. And then, the parents can respond, while quoting Scripture, how their forefathers left Egypt in a hurry, “their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.”

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Elections in Israel and America – January 10, 2012

Israeli politics are known for their volatility and unexpectedness. There have only been 6 Israeli governments which served their full term, the last one ending in 1988. The Knesset (Israeli Parliament) generally finds a reason to disband the government before the end of its term and call for full parliamentary elections. Usually, there is ongoing […]

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Har Bracha: Building and Growing

May 2010     Oodles of children scramble happily on the painted playgrounds and roll down the grassy slopes, their sweet voices echoing in the mountain air. Nearby, sprinklers water the vineyards and Yeshiva Bible students amble by, busily discussing points of Talmudic Law. This happy, thriving scene plays out on the breathtaking, windswept Har […]

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Meet Alon and Yakir

Road inside Alon On my first day visiting communities, I went to Alon, a community northeast of Jerusalem, along the Jericho Road.  Rabbi Danny Segal and Dikla Zenter met me outside the community in a large parking lot.  Rabbi Segal is the community rabbi and Dikla is the head of social services in the community.  […]

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Vayikra (And He (G-d) Called) – Leviticus 1:1 – 5:26

Vayikra (And He (G-d) Called) –  Leviticus 1:1 – 5:26 This week we begin reading the Book of Leviticus.  This book of the Torah is dedicated primarily to instructing us in the various sacrifices that are brought in the Tabernacle and, later on, in the Temple, as well as other instructions pertaining to the work […]

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