Showing posts from 2016

From Jacob to Tevye to Today - We Are All Fiddler's On the Roof©

From Jacob to Tevye to Today - We Are All Fiddler's On the Roof© Rabbi David Baum, Parashat Vayishlach

A fiddler on the roof.... Sounds crazy, no? But here, in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn’t easy. You may ask, why do we stay up there if it’s so dangerous? Well, we stay because Anatevka is our home. And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word! Tradition!(Fiddler on the Roof, act 1, scene 1)
Who in here is not instantly transformed to a different place when you hear this line?
Fiddler on the Roof opened up on Broadway on August 26, 1964 – it’s hard to believe, but Fiddler is 52 years old.American Jews in the 1960’s until today have flocked to this famous play, an adaptation of a story from the famous Yiddish writer, Shalom Aleichem.But it’s not just in America that people flock to Fiddler – the show has been translated into ma…

Parashat Va-yetzei – The Purpose of Our Lives©

Parashat Va-yetzei – The Purpose of Our Lives© Rabbi David Baum, Congregation Shaarei Kodesh
Have you ever asked yourself, what's the purpose of my life?

There's a famous story of Adam HaRishon, the very first human, who wondered this same thing.  It actually came out of a little know creation story.
The first animal that God created was the dog and said to the dog:  'Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years.'  The dog said: 'That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I'll give you back the other ten?'
So God agreed.
Then God created the monkey and said: 'Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span.'  The monkey said: 'Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the Dog did?'
And God agreed.
Then God …

Destroying the Idols of The 2016 Election©

Destroying the Idols of The 2016 Election© Post-Election 2016/577 Rabbi David Baum

It’s the end of the campaign, the election is over.  Roughly 50% of the country is upset, and roughly 50% of the country is exuberant.  As far as Jews, the numbers are not so even: in our state of Florida, according to a recent study, 68% of Jews voted for Hillary and 28% for Trump.  Nevertheless, as a rabbi, I have mainly stayed out of the presidential elections, and if you think I haven’t, you should hear from some of my colleagues who did talk about the election…a lot.  I’ve talked about broad issues – I’ve talked about themes, but I’ve been careful not to upset anyone or make them feel excluded.  But the election is over, and it’s time to time deal with the aftermath, and maybe it’s time to stop walking on egg shells, but it’s really not my personality.  Seriously, it’s not part of my personality, and I took the Meyers Briggs personality test which proved it.  In my personality test, it says that I…

A Service of Healing and Unity (post U.S. Elections 2016) - Rabbi David Baum

Unity and Healing Service November 9, 2016 - Congregation Shaarei Kodesh Part 1:
Listen and Hear

We are WITNESSES (עד) for each other...

Write down a word or sentence that you want someone to HEAR
Write down a word or sentence that you feel you need to LISTEN

Put them in your pockets...
Chant Together:Shema

Part 2:

(courtesy of Karov Adonai L'Chol Korav - Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman)

Let America Be America Again Langston Hughes, 1902 - 1967
Let America be America again. Let it be the dream it used to be. Let it be the pioneer on the plain Seeking a home where he himself is free. (America never was America to me.) Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed— Let it be that great strong land of love Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme That any man be crushed by one above. (It never was America to me.) O, let my land be a land where Liberty Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath, But opportunity is real, and life is free, Equality is in the air we breathe. (There’s never been equality …

The Building Deluge of Climate Change© Parashat Noah

The Building Deluge of Climate Change© Parashat Noah
I don’t know why, but we are obsessed with the idea of the world ending.In the movies, they end in various ways – in some, by alien invasion, in some, it’s disease, worldwide pandemic, in some – earthquakes, super tornados, and of course, floods, in some asteroids have crashed to earth, and of course, who doesn’t love a Zombie apocalypse.

Our parashah this week deals with the worst-case scenario the – the end of the world, and most human life.The flood story is perhaps one of the most well-known and popular narratives in the entire Torah, the scenario that started them all – the great flood.
We have become obsessed with catastrophe.Who didn’t worry about the Ebola virus in the United States two years ago, even though, as a news article stated, More Americans have been married to Kim Kardashian than have died of Ebola.Don’t get me wrong, Ebola is a serious illness that has killed thousands in Africa, but is it the end of the world a…

Eulogy for Irv Pomeranz

I rarely post eulogies online, but then again, Irv was a one of a kind guy.  

Blessed is the man who reveres Adonai, who delights in God’s commandments. His descendants will be honored in the land, a generation of the upright, they will be blessed. Prosperity fills his household, his righteousness is enduring. Even in the darkness, light shines for the upright, for the one who is gracious, compassionate, and just. All goes well with the man who is generous, whose dealings are marked by integrity. He shall never be shaken, his kindness will always be remembered. Evil tidings do not frighten him; his mind is firm, trusting in Adonai. His heart is steady, he will notbe fearful, for his enemies are destined to be overcome. He has given freely to the poor; his goodness is an inspiration to others; his life is exalted in honor. – Psalms 112:1-12
Eulogy for Irv Pomeranz by Rabbi David Baum Yisrael Hanokh ben Harav Tz'vi Aryeh u-Miryam
I walked into my home just a half hour after seeing Irv …