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Showing posts from November, 2013

A Name Change - A New Journey

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As a rabbi, I’m blessed to be invited to be a part of some of the most meaningful and holy moments of people’s lives.This week, I took part in a number of conversions as part of a Beit Din, (a Jewish ‘court’) a group of three rabbis who serve as witnesses and overseers to the conversions (the other two rabbis were my colleagues and friends Rabbi Michael Singer and Rabbi Leonard Zucker).This week, we supervised the conversion of one of our young congregants, Franki Nasetti.Let me wish a hearty mazal tov to Jon, Eve, and Danielle Nasetti as welcome Franki to the Tribe!
After the children underwent conversion, we sat with two women in their 20’s who wished to convert.As part of a conversion, we ask the conversion candidates to write essays about their journeys to Judaism, how the our tradition and way of life is more appropriate than their previous religion, how they identify to Israel, world Jewry, the local Jewish community, and their synagogue community, and more.Learning about their…

What Makes A Man/Woman?

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What Makes A Man/Woman?

At our License to Chai (teen education) class on Wednesday night, we discussed the recent controversy regarding the Miami Dolphins, bullying/harassment (and the complexity of the situation), and being a bystander.

For background on this story, and please read this very interesting article and video on What Defines A Real Man In Sports

Ok, now that you have watched the video, and read the article, you can see that there are many issues at play here.  They revolve around dominating over the other, meeting violence with violence, and much more.

We see that the sports world is struggling with this issue, but what does our Jewish tradition have to say about what it means to be a 'Man'/'Woman'?

Here is a quote from the Ethics of our Fathers (2:6) that give us some insight:

ובמקום שאין אנשים, השתדל להיות איש In a place where there are no 'men', strive to be a 'man'/'woman'
Seems like a simple quote, but there's more than me…

Shabbat Message - Halloween and other musings

As a child, Halloween was never a big holiday for our family.  In fact, I don't remember donning a costume and trick or treating, but I do remember stocking up on candy for the kids (and adults) in our neighborhood who would come around in costumes looking to fill up their bags with delicious treats.  I know that many Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religious leaders rail against the holiday every year, ordering their congregations to stay at home and turn off the lights to trick or treaters.  The main reason that many do not like this holiday is because the origin of Halloween is pagan (from a Celtic Harvest Festival).  But rather than list the reasons why a Jew should not celebrate Halloween (there are many reasons), I want to focus on how Halloween is similar to, and yet remarkably different than, another Jewish holiday:  Purim.  There are some remarkable parallels between these two holidays!  On both holidays, those celebrating dress up in costumes, and both holidays revolve ar…