Rabbi’s Corner

Yiddish motto explains the counting of the Omer

Every day during the month of Iyar, we observe the mitzvah of Sefirat HaOmer, or counting the Omer. This mitzvah begins on the second day of Passover and continues until the eve of Shavuot. The counting is practiced daily after nightfall with some counting from a Siddur (prayer book),… Read more »

Composing prayers as a response to the world

Rabbi Hazzan Avraham Alpert

Do you get frustrated from reading the news? If you are like me, you find it difficult to restrain yourself from posting and reposting on social media in response to the stories that upset you. It’s good, though, to have other ways to answer the irritations that come with… Read more »

Finding ourselves in familiar, unfamiliar places

With a name like Batsheva, I also have a Starbucks name, “Beth,” for ordering in person. I know that the name Batsheva is not easy for people. It might be the first time that they encounter the name and that it is hard to spell if you are not… Read more »

Many people hazy on what Messianic era will bring

Not too long ago I was at Tucson Hebrew Academy doing a couple of guest presentations for the third, fourth, and fifth graders, and what unfolded while doing so was rather exciting. The topic was the Jewish view regarding the Moshiach (Messiah) and the Messianic era. Essentially, my goal… Read more »

Gifts from the heart

Rabbi Helen T. Cohn

Tzedakah is usually translated as “charity” but a distinction is often made between the meanings of these two words. “Tzedakah” comes from the Hebrew root that means righteousness or justice.  “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof” — “Justice, justice you shall pursue” — is often quoted in support of financial contributions that… Read more »

Mount Sinai: revelation or inspiration?

Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon

It was the greatest moment in our people’s entire history. But what the heck actually happened? This week we read the Torah portion of Yitro, including the revelation at Mount Sinai. This climactic section includes the enormous experience of receiving the Ten Commandments through the theophany at Sinai, the… Read more »

Ready or not, here life comes

The email was waiting in my inbox. My column was due. “What column?” I asked myself. I did not remember that it was my turn. What could I possibly write about on short notice at this time of year with four funerals over the next few days, and the… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: In modern times, is peace and harmony possible?

Benzion Shemtov

Many times we wonder: What is happening with the tranquility of this world? Where has it gone? Do peace and harmony reside in the spiritual realms while our world is destined to live with hardships and troubles? The fifth Chabad Rebbe lived in the early 1900s. One of his… Read more »

Mount Sinai’s true location may surprise us

Rabbi Yehuda Ceitlin (Britta Van Vranken)

Search online for “Mount Sinai” and Google Maps will swiftly point you to a marker in Jabal Mousa, Arabic for Mount Moses, located in the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. Consult with a biblical scholar or geographer and you will hear about other locations such as… Read more »

Giving tzedakah is about more than numbers

There was a wealthy Jewish merchant in London who would frequently invite individuals soliciting charitable donations to his home. He would invite his child to come to those solicitations to listen to the charitable request. After the request was made, he would ask his son to bring his checkbook… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: Sometimes, silence speaks louder than words

Rabbi Helen T. Cohn

We are called The People of the Book. Appropriately so, because all of Jewish life and practice is built on text. Torah, of course, is the foundation of the law, which is further developed by the Mishna, the Talmud, and centuries of continued writings and teachings. Just last week… Read more »

Where have all the young men gone?

Rabbi Israel Becker

Usually when you write an article, you hope that there will be numerous readers and that your message will be well received, however, this article is being written for the benefit of those who I am certain will not read it because they are no longer on this earth.… Read more »

Making Jewish, American identities meaningful

As I enter my seventh decade of life, I often reflect on my family: Where we came from and where we are going. Each year, I gain a greater appreciation for how Judaism has made such a difference in my life and my family. At my great-grandfather’s funeral in… Read more »

Remembering to seek G-d

One time there was a little boy who was playing the classic game of hide-and-go-seek. At one point in the game, while he was hiding, his peers got busy with something else, and instead of looking for their friend, they left him hiding there, while they went along their… Read more »

Rabbi’s corner: ‘Walking with the wind’ is motto for our times

Rabbi Stephanie Aaron

Congressman John Lewis shared this story about his childhood. He called it a little story that has nothing to do with a national stage or historic figures or monumental events. It’s just a simple true story, about a group of young children, a wood frame house and a windstorm.… Read more »

Rabbi’s corner: ‘Renew our days’ prayer gains new meaning

Rabbi Robert Eisen

This past August, while sitting shiva for our son, Ricky, the liturgy at our daily minyan took on new and important meaning for me. Passages that were once a source of comfort and strength became burdensome, and caused me to ask more questions than I knew I could. Other… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: Tzedakah saves from death

Rabbi Helen T. Cohn

Tucked away in two places in the Book of Proverbs is a brief, cryptic statement: “tzedakah saves from death” (tzedakah tatzel mimavet) (Proverbs 10:2 and 11:4). Surely this can’t mean if we give tzedakah (that is, charitable contributions) we will be immortal! After all, those who give generous amounts… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: ICS partnership success could be example to emulate

Rabbi Hazzan Avraham Alpert

Every segment of the Jewish community in America is busy working to better engage people. Synagogues and agencies want to do whatever they can to connect with us and serve our needs. We’re all in this together. I believe that most of our organizations have their hearts in the… Read more »

Rabbi’s corner: Lighting the world

Benzion Shemtov

I would like to share with you a thought on a mitzvah that recently took on a particularly dear meaning to me. As my daughter turns 3 years of age today, she begins to light her very own Shabbos candle, brightening the world each Friday evening. Married women have… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: Blossoming through the cracks

Rabbi Ruven Barkan

Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s law is wrong It learned to walk without having feet. Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when… Read more »