Rabbi’s Corner

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 »

Rabbi’s Corner: Decluttering guru provokes thoughts about gratitude

Rabbi Batsheva Appel

Marie Kondo has made her name by helping people tidy up. She has a system for removing clutter from our homes that includes the correct ways to sort things, to fold things, to store things. Kondo’s approach is very different from most de-cluttering experts. She suggests that we hold… Read more »

Wooden bowl sparks priceless memories

Rabbi Robert Eisen

My first apartment was decorated in “early attic.” My grandmother was moving into a skilled nursing facility and her house needed to be cleaned out and sold. I was granted first pick of the contents of the attic. There were a number of little things that I quickly scooped… Read more »

In death as in life, the earth is G-d’s gift to mankind

Rabbi Israel Becker

At the recent annual dinner of my alma mater, the Rabbinical Seminary of America, I saw my lifelong friend, Rabbi Elchonon Zohn. He is a world renowned expert on Jewish end of life issues and burial who has been instrumental in guiding communities all over the United States. He… Read more »

Senator Moynihan’s surprise: Lessons from the Rebbe

U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan once scheduled an hour-long meeting with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Towards the end of the consultation, the Rebbe asked if he could request a favor from the senator. “Here it comes,” the senator thought to himself. “Now the Rebbe is looking… Read more »

Kindling the divine fire

Rabbi Thomas Louchheim

We live in a world where we are hard-wired to fit people and actions into neat, perfect little boxes.  Even our scripture seems to do this. We draw from our holy writings that an action is good or bad, a blessing or a curse, and will lead to life… Read more »

Pondering the Tesla dilemma

Rabbi Yehuda Ceitlin (Britta Van Vranken)

At a recent meal with friends, someone shared that Elon Musk plans for all Tesla electric vehicles to feature fully autonomous driving by the end of 2017. I was asked, “Would you ride in a driverless car?” Good question! Self-driving cars seem to be the way of the future.… Read more »

Small actions beget big changes

Rabbi Batsheva Appel

The story of Naaman in the Book of Kings II has always been one of my favorites. He is a foreign commander who serves the king of Aram and he has tzara’at, which is usually translated as leprosy. Naaman goes to Elisha the prophet to be healed and is… Read more »

Addressing a Nazi flag on Voting Day 2016

Rabbi Stephanie Aaron

On March 7, 1945, the 104th Signal Company of the U.S. Army 104th Infantry Division entered and liberated Cologne, Germany. They removed the Nazi flag from the German Wehrmacht headquarters. On a bright, hot day near the end of September 2016, this flag was handed to me; it was… Read more »

Ma Nishtanah: How different will this year be?

Rabbi Robert Eisen

Ma nishtanah halailah hazeh mikol halailot  …?  How do we read that phrase? How is this night different from all other nights … or, How different this night is from all other nights! The first is what we are taught, the latter is how it could be better (more… Read more »

The synagogue remains at the heart of Jewish life

Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon

  What is the most important institution in Jewish life? Judaism has existed for 3,800 years, and over the centuries we’ve had a variety of organizations that have effectively served God and the Jewish people.  Each has played an important role in the continual evolution of our religion and… Read more »

Take the speech improvement challenge

Rabbi Israel Becker

Nearly 2,000 years ago, the Talmud taught us that when a person leaves this world, he/she will be shown their entire life. Our private showing will include audio and video playback of every single conversation of ours. Every single word that we uttered during our lifetime will be presented.… Read more »

Election overload sparks thoughts of G-d

Rabbi Yehuda Ceitlin

At a recent political fundraiser, an acquaintance made an interesting comment. He said he was jealous that, although I am an American resident, I had my native country of Canada on which to fall back. My buddy, a political junkie, was referring to the presidential elections in November. If… Read more »

Being Jewish: It’s not just for holidays, milestone moments

Almost every person can recall the myths they accepted as fact as a child, until a knowledgeable adult, dictionary or Google has proved them otherwise. I used to believe that bats are blind. (While they do use echolocation at night, they still have functioning eyes.) Another myth I believed… Read more »

Rabbi’s corner: Our partnership in the Lord’s ministry

Rabbi Thomas Louchheim

Back in March, I had two possible meetings to attend, occurring at the same time. One was a Jewish Federation meeting and the other was a zoning hearing at City Hall. I told representatives from both that I would be out of town visiting family. Both times I hung… Read more »

How we respond to sorrow

Rabbi Yossie Shemtov

Two consequential decisions were made by Ahasuerus, King of Persia in the 4th century BCE. Both elicited the same crisis management, as told in the Book of Esther, which we will read on the upcoming holiday of Purim (Wednesday night, March 23 and Thursday, March 24). The first was… Read more »

Eternal light not just symbol of God’s presence

Rabbi Helen T. Cohn

A key feature of a synagogue tour is the ner tamid, the eternal light. We explain to people unfamiliar with synagogue symbolism that the light represents God’s eternal presence. But is it that simple? The Torah describes in detail the menorah, the seven-branched lamp stand, which was one of… Read more »

It’s past time to rise up against gun violence

Rabbi Stephanie Aaron

The bumper sticker on the car in front of me read “my loved one was murdered.” I automatically fill in “by gun violence.” I know the statistics. I want to jump out of my car and say to this person, “I am so sorry.” We are weeping in my… Read more »