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Showing posts from May, 2014

Moving From Counting Others to Making Others Count© BaMidbar, 2014/5774

Moving From Counting Others to Making Others Count© BaMidbar, 2014/5774 By Rabbi David Baum I had an opportunity to sit with a colleague who I had not yet had the pleasure of getting to know last week at the Rabbinical Assembly convention.We had to do a delicate dance as the conversation pivoted to our work lives.Let me begin by stating a pet peeve I have with rabbis.What do you think the first question two pulpit rabbis ask each other after, what’s your name?How BIG is your congregation, or how many members is usually the first question.And yet, I have realized that it’s a necessary question.So I tried to ask a ton of other questions relating to programming, to other issues, but trying to avoid numbers became an impossible task.Finally, I relented, and was brutally honest, “Richard, I have to ask this question, but I hate having to do it:how many family units are in your congregation?”He said, “David, I know, I wish there was a better metric to get to know a group of people than numbers…

Does it matter if Donald Sterling is Jewish?(c) Parashat Emor

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Does it matter if Donald Sterling is Jewish?(c) Rabbi David Baum, Parashat Emor, 2014/5774
This week, the news of Donald Sterling gripped the nation. For those of you do not know, Donald Sterling, the owner of the LA Clippers, was secretly taped by his mistress making racist comments. Basketball justice was swift – just days after the recordings went public, Adam Silver, the new commissioner of basketball, gave Mr. Sterling the worst possible punishment he could: a lifetime ban from the Clippers and the NBA, and a 2.5 million dollar fine, the highest fine that can be assessed. Let me ask you something – when you first heard about this story, did you wonder, is Donald Sterling Jewish? Turns out, he is, but his birth name is Donald Tokowitz. Then I learned his parents were immigrants to this country, his father a vegetable peddler. Then, it was confirmed, Donald Tokowitz is Jewish. Donald Sterling – how did you feel when you found that he was Jewish? I asked that question to o…