Showing posts from August, 2017

The ‘Glasses’ of Blessing© - Parashat Re’eh and a Response to #Charlottesville

The ‘Glasses’ of Blessing© Parashat Re’eh and a Response to Charlottesville Rabbi David Baum, Congregation Shaarei Kodesh
There’s a big event coming up in just a couple of days, the solar eclipse.But the aspect of this once in a century natural phenomena that interests me the most might surprise you:the eclipse glasses.

By now, you probably know it's not ok to stare directly into the sun. Although it feels less intuitive, the same rule applies during an eclipse. By looking directly at the sun, you are essentially cooking your eyes but because your retina doesn’t have pain sensors therefore you won’t feel your eyes being irreparably damaged.
I thought I could just pick the exclusive glasses up at the library, but they’ve been gone for months!I didn’t have any luck in any stores either – in fact, one store began by saying we don’t have eclipse glasses before I even said one word!
I finally got my pair – in fact, I had to buy 25 just to get 4, and if you’re wondering, I sold the rest of t…

Weekly Message - Seeing Fire (in response to #Charlottesville)

The kindling of light is synonymous with our holy days, Shabbat and holidays.  In our home, like many, it is a ritual where our whole family gathers around the candles.  We light them, place our hands over eyes, and together, we say the blessing.  It is hard to articulate how I feel after I open my eyes to see the lights in front of me, and my loving family surrounding me.  It is a mixture of gratitude, warmth, hope, but most of all, Shalom.  I see different colors - white, yellow, blue, and red.  Shalom does not just mean peace, but a sense of being whole.  In fact, the reason we light Shabbat candles every week is because of Shalom Bayit, peace in the home.  The original reason was quite practical - we could not light candles on Shabbat, so we light them before Shabbat begins in order to have lights at our Shabbat meal on Friday evening.  This prevents us from bumping into one another, but also, it shields us from the fears that come with darkness.  As we look upon these lights, we…

The Miracles in Our Places©

The Miracles in Our Places©   Parashat Ekev Rabbi David Baum It was the Wednesday, my fourth day at Camp Ramah Darom.  I came to Darom on Erev Rosh Hodesh Av, which is arguably the saddest month of the year.  During the month of Adar, our joy increase, but in Av, our joy decreases.  In order to show this decrease in joy during the first nine days of the month of Av, we do not drink wine or eat meat.  Now, abstaining from wine at a summer camp is not very difficult, but abstaining from meat can be a challenge for many (my apologies to our vegetarians and vegans in our congregation).  Luckily, for the Orthodox Carnivores at camp, there are some opportunities for taking a break from our vegetarian meals.  There's a little known exception to the no meat for nine days rule:  One can eat meat if he or she is part of a siyyum, the completion of a holy book.

Wednesday is always barbecue day at Camp Ramah Darom (and it was also Yom Sport or Color War), so a number of staff members came tog…