Rabbi’s Corner

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 »

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 »