How Noah Solved the Climate Crisis©

How Noah Solved the Climate Crisis© Rabbi David BaumParashat Noach 5779/2019

There is a little known webpage on the New York Times website called, Op-Eds From the Future.  It is a series in which science fiction authors, futurists, philosophers and scientists write Op-Eds that they imagine we might read 10, 20 or even 100 years from now. Here goes my attempt at news from the future:

Griffin Musk, son of famed co-founder of SpaceX Elon Musk, Fulfills Father’s Dream and Shoots for the Stars!   November 2, 2060
“Griffin Musk took over his father’s company in 2040, and hasn’t looked back.  His goal was to achieve his father’s dream, to leave Earth for Mars.  His father famously said, ‘You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great - and that's what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It's about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can't think of anything more exciting than going out ther…

All Beginnings Are Difficult©

All Beginnings are Difficult© Shabbat Bereshit 5780/2019  Show Up For Shabbat - First Anniversary after the tragedy at Tree of Life  CREDIT: JARED WICKERHAM/EPA-EFE/REX/SHUT

There is a famous adage in our tradition - Kol HatChalot Kashot - all beginnings are difficult.

It was that first step that I spoke about in my Rosh Hashanah sermon this year - the first steps back into synagogues that Shabbat after the tragedy at Tree Of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh last year on October 27th.

On Rosh Hashanah, I talked about the fear I had - that our regular shul goers would take a break, that they would not take those first steps back into their synagogue, their holy space, because they were afraid, and honestly, it’s a natural feeling to have.

This week, I was moved by the words of Beth Kissileff who wrote a moving article about the year anniversary at Tree of Life.

For her, the beginning that was difficult was the first Rosh Hashanah at New Light, along with Dor Hadash, was one of the three sy…

The Solution to Our Fatigue© - Ha’azinu 2019/5780

Photo by howling red on Unsplash
The Solution to Our Fatigue© - Ha’azinu 2019/5780 Rabbi David Baum, Congregation Shaarei Kodesh
Main Points:There was another anti-Semitic incident on Yom Kippur when a Neo-Nazi tried to kill worshippers at a synagogue in Germany - after a year of violent anti-Semitism, we as a Jewish community are fatigued.We have also had a lot of holidays, and are about to enter another one - what is the solution to our exhaustion?
I want to begin by thanking the Cohen family…for waking me up early the day after Yom Kippur.But seriously, I mean it!For those who don’t know, Madelyn, our bat mitzvah girl, came to Shaarei Kodesh the day after Yom Kippur, Thursday morning, to take her first aliyah at the Torah.After my words today, you will see why I’m grateful that we had the opportunity to wake up early.But I would like to return to the evening post-Yom Kippur.On my way to breakfast, I turned on my phone, and the following email popped up from a local television reporter …

Tefillin, Failure and the Marks We Make©

Tefillin, Failure and the Marks We Make© Rabbi David Baum, Congregation Shaarei Kodesh Yom Kippur - October 9, 2019/5780 CLICK HERE FOR AN AUDIO VERSION
*A special thank you to Camp Ramah Darom, where I serve as rabbi in residence over the summer, for bringing this incredible program to our children.
I received my first set of tefillin from my grandfather when I was 13 years old.He insisted that he alone buy them for meAfter I put them on for the first time with him, he took me aside, put his hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eyes, and said, “There’s a special gift for you inside.”
Like many bar mitzvah boys, I took off my tefillin, I put them back in their bag, and didn’t open that bag for a long time.His words stuck with me though: a special gift inside, for you.What were the profound life lessons I was supposed to learn from these tefillin?What are mystery lies inside these boxes?
Three years later on my way to a USY convention, I grabbed my tefillin bag, and when I opened it up, I fi…

Sacred Amnesia© - Kol Nidre 2019/5780

(Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash) Sacred Amnesia© Kol Nidre - 2019/5780 Congregation Shaarei Kodesh
I want you to think about this - If you God could grant you a superpower, which one would you want?
For a rabbi, I think the superpower that would help us the most, is to remember everything. As rabbis, it's kind of how we are judged. Everyone loves to play - the “Rabbi, do you remember my name?” game. One time, a guy approached me at Publix, “Hey Rabbi, do you remember my name? I attended little Rachel’s bat mitzvah at your shul.” After a couple of seconds I answered: “Well, little Rachel just graduated college last year, so please forgive me, but I don’t remember you.”  
There are actually people who have this superpower, the power to remember everything, and the power has a name: hyperthymesia — the documented condition in which a person is incapable of forgetting any detail of anything that has ever happened to them.
People with hyperthymesia can remem…