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Showing posts from June, 2015

Rabbi David Baum's Statement about Shooting at AME Church, South Carolina

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I have just returned from a professional development conference for Rabbis, and yesterday morning, surrounded by my colleagues, I had the honor of leading Musaf for Rosh Hodesh Tammuz, a month that contains the holiday of the 17th of Tammuz, a day when the walls of Jerusalem were breached, eventually leading to the destruction of our Holy Temple. This week, a despicable human being in an act of hate and terrorism violated another faith's holy space.  During our prayer service, my colleagues and I read Tehillim/Psalms (our shared holy text) after Musaf, in solidarity with our brothers and sisters whose lives were taken and who those left who live in fear of their lives because of their skin color.  It was not just their space that was violated, but all of our holy spaces.
There is a debate in Judaism, should prayers be fixed or spontaneous?  Prayer in Judaism occurs three times a day, and there is a set text, giving us words that are often times hard to find to fully express oursel…

Jewish Unity, Not Uniformity

Jewish Unity, Not Uniformity
One of my most vivid memories from my time living in Israel from 2002-2003 was my interview for rabbinical school with the Jewish Theological Seminary.  It is during these interviews when rabbis ask difficult questions to prospective students, and I remember one quite distinctively.  One of the members of the panel asked, very simply, do you believe that the third Beit HaMikdash, the Holy Temple, should be re-built?  Quite honestly, I was taken aback by this question.  If I answer absolutely yes, will they think that I am a religious fanatic?  If I answer no, will they doubt my commitment to our tradition and history?  But I searched deep down and gave them the following answer from my heart:  “I do believe we should build a third Temple, however, it must be under the following circumstances:  that every streamline of Judaism be represented inside the Temple, and they must exist in perfect harmony and peace with each other.  However, in order for this typ…

Jealousy and Humility© Parashat Behukotai - 5775/2015

Jealousy and Humility© Parashat Behukotai - 5775/2015 Rabbi David Baum, Congregation Shaarei Kodesh
I want to share a story with you all, honestly, it's kind of personal, and it's not one of my finest moments. I received an email from my brother, an article quoting him in the Sun Sentinel. My brother, a congregant here at CSK, has been the Director of Testing for Broward County Schools, an important but behind the scenes kind of job. It was the first time he had ever been quoted in the paper.
I heard all of this, and I heard my yetzer harah speaking to me, “how many articles in this paper have I been quoted in? Where was that praise from my family then?” That yetzer harah actually has a name – kinah, jealousy.
It was interesting, but at that moment, I became competitive with my brother, whom I consider my best friend.
I know I'm not alone. We all have our stories of sibling rivalries, in fact, it's timeless. We see a great example of this in our parashah this week…