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Showing posts from April, 2017

Taking the Plunge

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Taking the Plunge Passover, unlike the holiday of Sukkot, is very top heavy.  Most of the action seems to take place during the first two days in the form of the seder, and the rest of the holiday seems to be more about praying and eating matzah.  But the holiday is 8 days for a reason!  We can go deeper than the seders.  
On the 6th day of Passover, we went to the beach for a Passover-friendly picnic.  It was a beautiful day, but the waves were strong and we were not allowed to enter the water passed our knees.  It was a timely reminder of what we were about to mark on the 7th day of Passover - the splitting of the Sea of Reeds (Kriyat Yam Suf) and the children of Israel's first steps into freedom.  The very next day, we took the sea to Shaarei Kodesh by listening to the reading of the Song at the Sea.  Together, we studied the midrashim/rabbinic legends associated with this event.  When we think about the crossing of the Sea of Reeds, we often think that children of Israel had a…

The Silence of the Survivor© Parashat Shmini and Yom HaShoah/Holocaust Remembrance Day

The Silence of the Survivor© Parashat Shmini and Yom HaShoah/Holocaust Remembrance Day Rabbi David Baum
We all have stories to our names, all of us have someone for whom we are named after, and a piece of them lives on in us through the lives we live.
I want to tell you the story of how my cousin Brian, whose Hebrew name is Betzalel, received his name.My aunt told me the story - she had just given birth to her second child, her first boy, and her father, my grandfather had one immediate request: “It is very important for me that you name your son Betzalel.Would you please do me this favor?”Now, we’ve all been there.Our parents ‘suggest’ names for their grandkids, and then, when you don’t listen to them, they let you know how they feel.But she told me that this situation was different, and she pried a little.Why?And then, he shared a family secret with her.My grandfather was born in a town called Opole, Poland, but moved to Warsaw to become a tailor’s apprentice when he was in 2nd grade.Fr…

Pre-Passover Weekly Message - 2017/5777

Pre-Passover Weekly Message - 2017/5777
I hope everyone's Pesach preparations are going well.  Every year, we busy ourselves with kashering our kitchens, cleaning our homes from top to bottom, buying the appropriate kosher for passover foods (which often means wading through crowded aisles at kosher grocery stores), and of course, cooking if you are hosting a seder.  Unfortunately, we must not only physically prepare for Passover, but spiritually prepare.  In my weekly message, I have provided resources for both your physical and spiritual preparations for Pesach.  
1.  Passover Guide from the Rabbinical Assembly 2.  Some divrei torah/sermons I have delivered/written over the past couple of weeks about the holiday of Passover and related themes. 3.  Resources to spice up your Passover Seders 4.  Face to face learning on Sunday and Monday.  
On Shabbat morning (tomorrow), join us for Shabbat HaGadol as we honor our graduating seniors and welcome a guest speaker (speaking after services),…

Removing The Glass Wall At The Seder Table©

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Removing The Glass Wall At The Seder Table© Vayikra/Leviticus 2017/5777 By Rabbi David Baum
I will have to admit, I suffered through a bad case of #FOMO last week - it’s not a medical condition - but Fear of Missing Out can create great anxiety.Unfortunately, I could not attend this year’s AIPAC policy conference, but it is truly one of the wonders of the modern Jewish world.For those who do not know, AIPAC stands for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and its mission is to strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of the United States and Israel.They are proudly bi-partisan, engaging both Democrats and Republicans, and every year, they have a policy conference in Washington DC where people gather to learn, engage, and lobby for strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship.
This year was the largest gathering ever, 18,000 people who have one thing in common - they are pro-Israel.It is also the largest gathering of rabbis from …