Shoftim: "Scout" and Pursue Justice

Shoftim: "Scout" and Pursue Justice
It’s been many years – decades, actually – since I’ve thought about my youth in the Boy Scouts.  As I realize this, I’m at least a little surprised.  I was extremely active in scouting, including serving as a &... Continue Reading »
Aug 29

Matot: A Time for War

Matot: A Time for War
With the Jewish world focused upon “Operation Protective Edge” in Gaza, and much of Israel under constant threat of rocket attacks, our thoughts this week inevitably, painfully, turn to war.   We recoil (a verb with ironic double-... Continue Reading »

Pinchas: The Most Important Verse in Torah

Pinchas: The Most Important Verse in Torah
Given on the occasion of the Inaugural Weekday Morning Minyan Service at: Temple Beth Tikvah, Fullerton, CA July 7, 2014; 9 Tammuz 5774 Which is the most important verse in Torah?  You might choose “Hear, O Israel, the Lord Our G-d,... Continue Reading »

Balak: Our Messianic Star Power

Balak: Our Messianic Star Power
In a small Russian Shtetl, the community council decides to pay a poor Jew a ruble a week to sit at the town’s entrance and be the first to greet the Messiah when he arrives.  The man’s brother comes to see him, and is puzzled why he... Continue Reading »

Chukkat: Embracing the Double Standard Toward Israel

Chukkat: Embracing the Double Standard Toward Israel
There’s no doubt that the world holds Israel to a double-standard. Why is the media so fixated upon a postage-stamp Middle Eastern democracy when the world is rife with tyrants, atrocities, brutality, and all manner of discrimination? Why are P... Continue Reading »

Korach: Why (Do We) Argue?

Korach: Why (Do We) Argue?
Last week I suggested that a leader’s most important characteristic is dedication to the interests of followers. I thank both my wife and Cindy Jacobson for responding that moral leadership is also key; after all, a leader may use improper mean... Continue Reading »
Jun 18

Beha'alotecha: Take Your Leader to Me!

Beha'alotecha: Take Your Leader to Me!
Which leadership characteristic is most important?    Perhaps surprisingly, “it” doesn’t appear among the typical list of leadership qualities.  "It" isn’t organizational talent, “big ideas,&r... Continue Reading »
Jun 05

Naso: Why Most Jews Consider “His Holiness” Holy

Naso: Why Most Jews Consider “His Holiness” Holy
[This D’var Torah is dedicated to the blessed and holy memory of my friend and rabbi, Rabbi Haim Asa, z”l, of Bulgaria, Israel, Argentina, and Fullerton, California, who escaped the Shoah, fought in Israel’s War of Independence, was]... Continue Reading »

Dvar Torah: Bamidbar: Keeping Our Status Symbols

When I was a boy, my uncle summarized his philosophy for getting along in life:  “One hand washes the other,” he taught me. He wasn’t referring to personal hygiene, but giving and getting help, doing and receiving favors, etc. ... Continue Reading »

Bechukotai: My Covenant with Fannie of Berdichev, z”l

Bechukotai: My Covenant with Fannie of Berdichev, z”l
... and I will remember My covenant [with] Jacob, and also My covenant [with] Isaac, and also My covenant [with] Abraham I will remember. And I will remember the Land,  (Leviticus 26:42) Do you know the names of your great-grandparents?  ... Continue Reading »
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A bird that you set free may be caught again, but a word that escapes your lips will not return.
Jewish Proverb