Showing posts from February, 2017

The Answer To Rising Waters Is Right In Front Of Us

The Answer To Rising Waters Is Right In Front Of Us B’Shalach/Tu Bish'vat 5777/2017 Rabbi David Baum, Congregation Shaarei Kodesh
A couple of years ago, during Parashat Noach, I gave a sermon that dealt with the issue of climate change and the role that we as humans have played in our changing environment. What was interesting was who was listening. In the congregation, there were a number of Canadian Jews. I’ll never forget the feedback I received from them in particular. “Rabbi, a good sermon, really, BUT…let me ask you something - you had a multi-national Jewish audience here listening to your sermon - why didn’t you speak about something that affects us all?!?
I looked at him in a sort of disbelief. At first, I could not understand what he was talking about - isn’t a message about climate change davka something that affects us all?!? But then I realized what he was talking about - he didn’t think it was a particularly Jewish message.
I am not for myself, who will be for me?
As Je…

My Father Was a Wandering European©

My Father Was a Wandering European© Parashat Bo – 2017/5777  Rabbi David Baum
My uncle Harry is the keeper of our history.  He was old enough when they left to remember what life was like in the old country, especially the challenges they faced on a daily basis, and he was old enough to remember the journey - and he’s alive to tell the story.  My uncle was taught by his father, my grandfather, to be a tailor, and so, he’s our family’s resident tailor, and when he’s working on hemming my pants, he tells me these stories.

I wanted to share one of these stories: the story of how they came here, to American in the 1960’s from Poland.  After my grandparents were liberated from Auschwitz, they went back to the familiar - the only language they knew, the only country they knew, the only people they knew - Poland.  They moved to a different city together, Włocławek and rebuilt their lives.  Following the war, Poland became a Communist country as it was.  My grandfather was a factory foreman …