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What Will You Answer About What You Did to Confront Anti-Semitism?

This Sermon was delivered at Boca Raton Synagogue on Shabbos, March 16, 2019 Last time I checked, Tel Aviv is not disputed territory in anyone’s book.  It isn’t a “settlement,” “occupied” or an “obstacle to peace.”  When rockets are launched at Tel Aviv, whether someone pushed the button on purpose or by accident, they areRead More...

Don't Just Dress Up As Mordechai, Be An Ish Yehudi Like Mordechai

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Are We Playing God? Leadership, Vaccination and a Communal Policy

The ultimate measure of a leader is not where he or she stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he or she stands in times of challenge and controversy, when decisions bring about uncomfortable consequences. In a recent post titled “Vaccines and Jewish Leadership Hypocrisy,” a colleague and friend of ours challenges aRead More...

Co-authored with Rabbi David Shabtai, MD

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It is Time for Outrage, Not Silence!

Adapted from a Sermon delivered at Boca Raton Synagogue January 19, 2019 – Shabbos Parshas Beshalach Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday we will mark this Monday, spoke powerfully about the danger and potential damage of silence.  He once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”  OnRead More...

Where are Our Friends Protesting Anti-Semitism?

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Tragedy Has Struck, Now What?

This weekend, our community lost an incredible woman, a young mother, extraordinary teacher and tremendous example, Dannie Grajower z”l. On the way back from her funeral in NY, I sent this letter to our BRS community reflecting on her loss and the horrific tragedy in Pittsburgh that is on all of our minds. _________________________ DearRead More...

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18 Million Reasons Why You Should Vote This Election

Do you feel strongly about Israel’s safety, security and the US-Israel relationship? Do you have concerns about the environment, gun control, or the justice system? Do you have opinions about how the tax code impacts the economy and your personal finances? Has the cost of tuition for Jewish day school impacted you or your familyRead More...

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Questions Responsible Parents Are Prepared to Answer

With school out, the period of the year designated for formal education has come to a close.  Nevertheless, for many children, summer presents different types of education, many of them negative or dangerous.  While parents find relief in not having to supervise studying, prepare for tests or make lunches, in some ways more supervision isRead More...

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Beyond #MeToo – Continuing the Conversation

Time Magazine’s 2017 Person of the Year was “the silence breakers, the voices that launched a movement.”  That movement, well known by its hashtag, #metoo, continues to hold accountable violators of abuse and exploitation.  The movement is several months old and shows no signs of slowing. Just last week, a South Korean politician once consideredRead More...

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How Confident Are You That What You Are Reading is True?

In his book “Other People’s Money and How Bankers Use It,” Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously wrote, “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” Shining a spotlight on an issue can expose and reveal corruption, dishonesty, fraud or abuse that otherwiseRead More...

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Did the Anti-Trump Protests Stand Up for Femininity or Compromise It?

Just when you thought our society could not get more morally depraved and immodest, two recent events have set the bar even lower.  On January 8th, the 16th annual No Pants Subway Ride took place in sixty cities across twenty-five countries around the world including, sadly, our holy city of Yerushalayim.  This outrageous “tradition” beganRead More...

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I Was Shocked by What I Learned on My Trip to Cuba This Week

It is no secret that the incoming president of the United States is highly unpopular among significant segments of the country.  At least 60 Democratic members of the House of Representatives, representing over 10 percent of Congress, do not plan to attend the inauguration.  I personally disagree with their intended actions, as I disagree withRead More...

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Sitting it Out Should Not be an Option: Get Out and Vote, It Matters!

After what feels like forever, thank God it is finally here.  November 8 could not come any sooner.  This election has created an incredibly divisive atmosphere filled with vitriol, rhetoric, and people on both sides having a general disbelief that anyone could possibly tolerate, let alone support, the “other” candidate.  Our mailboxes, inboxes, televisions, andRead More...

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Preserving Privacy and Protecting Capacity for Intimacy

Despite what you may have been told as a child, sharing is not always caring. We are living in a transparent generation where the trend is towards sharing in the extreme. Over coffee with friends, at the water cooler with co-workers, and increasingly on social media, people are revealing more and more about their personalRead More...

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Two Dollars for the License to Dream

I have a confession to make – I bought a lottery ticket for the Power Ball. After all, you’ve got to be in it to win it and this Wednesday night, winning it means winning $1.3 billion. True, the lump sum payout comes to only $806,000,000 but I think we can find a way toRead More...

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New is Not Necessarily Better

Change is inevitable. Attitudes and social norms are constantly changing, as are career opportunities and artistic tastes. Perhaps the most perceptible arena of constant change is in the evolution of technology. Through the millennia, enormous advancements in science have revolutionized fields ranging from medicine to warfare, and innovative technological discoveries have dramatically altered normative modesRead More...

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Technology – Playing with Fire

The Fall 2015 issue of Klal Perspectives addresses Technology and the 21st Century Orthodox Community. The following is my article in the journal. There is no denying that technology has significantly improved our lives. The proliferation and increasing sophistication of appliances, gadgets, electronics, devices and software provide ever-greater convenience, comfort and enjoyment. And technology hasRead More...

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Don’t Put Off Having the Talk

When I was a kid, the most difficult and awkward conversation between parents and children was the talk about “the birds and the bees.” Due to the Internet, increasingly graphic pop culture and explicit billboards and ads, today’s children can be considered precocious in this area and likely know a great deal about the topicRead More...

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Dealing With Depression

When I was a young rabbi and I first encountered someone with depression, I vividly remember thinking to myself, why can’t he just snap out of it? What does he mean when he says he sleeps most of the day and can’t concentrate on anything? We are all tired and dealing with stress. Just resolveRead More...

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Fifty Shades of Red

In his book first published in 1989, “Doesn’t Anyone Blush Anymore,” Rabbi Manis Friedman bemoans the loss of modesty and decency in society, and describes it as the greatest obstacle to achieving authentic love and intimacy. If twenty-six years ago people failed to blush when exposed to indecency, perhaps today one could best describe ourRead More...

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Don’t Confuse Earning a Living with Living

A few summers ago, I had the pleasure of attending a wedding in which I hardly knew anyone present other than the family of the bride.  At the meal, I found myself sitting at a table full of people, most of whom I had never met.  In an attempt to be friendly to the manRead More...

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Moral Greatness vs. Moral Degradation

  Super Bowl XLIX will take place this Sunday night and it is anticipated that it will be watched by more than 113 million people who will consume 1.25 billion chicken wings. And yet, the biggest story leading up to the game is not which quarterback is better, who has a better running game, orRead More...

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Baseball vs. Football – Helping the Homeless be Safe at Home

Comedian George Carlin had a fantastic routine called “Baseball vs. Football.” Baseball is a 19th-century pastoral game. Football is a 20th-century technological struggle. Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park. The baseball park! Football is played on a gridiron, in a stadium, sometimes called Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium. Baseball begins inRead More...

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Your Private Information Has Been Hacked

A terribly disturbing scandal occurred this week that generated varying reactions.   A number of celebrities who saved highly personal pictures in a storage cloud were hacked and their revealing pictures were leaked online. When the FBI catches those responsible, they could face hundreds of years in prison for the crimes they committed and theRead More...

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Battling Under the Mask

Like many others, I was terribly upset to learn of the untimely passing of Robin Williams, who took his own life this week after apparently battling psychiatric illness, depression and addiction for many years. The man who made so many others so happy was in fact himself so incredibly sad. There are many lessons toRead More...

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Anonymous Bloggers – Cowards or Courageous?

In his book “Other People’s Money and How Bankers Use It,” Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously wrote, “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” Shining a spotlight on an issue can expose and reveal corruption, dishonesty, or fraud that otherwiseRead More...

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Just Because it is Permissible, Doesn’t Mean it is Right

Last month, the United States Supreme Court heard the case of a rabbi who was suing Delta airlines for revoking his Platinum Elite Status after he complained 24 times in 8 months and negotiated his way to $1,925 in travel credit vouchers, 78,500 extra bonus miles, a travel voucher for his son and $491 inRead More...

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Struggling With Intellectual Dishonesty

When King Solomon, the wisest of all men, said, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than a house of celebration,” he probably didn’t have in mind three funerals in two days.  All three funerals I participated in this week were of special individuals from whom we can learn so much asRead More...

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Selfies and Na’arcissism

(Adapted from Sermon, Parshas Vayeishev 2013) This week, the most prestigious dictionary in the world, the Oxford Dictionary, released its word of the year.  You see, every year they choose a word that best captures the ethos and culture of that year.   In a sad statement about contemporary society, the guardian of the English language,Read More...

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Our Generation’s Sacrifice

There is no question that it takes great mesirus nefesh, personal sacrifice, to be Jewish.  For too much of Jewish history, our people have been asked to make the ultimate sacrifice – giving up their lives for clinging to their Jewish identity.  In stark contrast, we are privileged and blessed to live in a timeRead More...

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American Jewry’s Existential Threat

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu delivered an impassioned speech to the United Nations and addressed what he describes as nothing short of an existential threat to the State of Israel: Iran.  The same day, the results of a Pew Research Center survey of American Jews were published, revealing nothing short of an existentialRead More...

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Be on the Correct Side of This Issue!

This time of the year, Rabbis everywhere can be heard lecturing and preaching about teshuva, repentance.  They are likely invoking the famous formula of the Rambam, Maimonides, who instructs us that authentic, genuine self reflection and introspection are made up of three crucial elements:  we must verbally confess the error of our ways, we mustRead More...

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What is the Most Important Discussion the Orthodox Community Should be Having?

Recently, a self-described Orthodox Rabbi wrote what has become a highly controversial article challenging the authorship of the Torah. His radical approach, which shares more in common with the conclusions of academic Biblical criticism than with traditional Rabbinic Judaism, garnered a harsh reaction and prompted a firestorm of articles, posts, and blog entries. Many immediatelyRead More...

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Having “The Talk”

When I was a kid, the most difficult and awkward conversation between parents and children was the talk about “the birds and the bees.” Due to the Internet, increasingly graphic pop culture and explicit billboards and ads, today’s children can be considered precocious in this area and likely know a great deal about the topicRead More...

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Remembering on Memorial Day

For many, Memorial Day is the official start of summer. For others, it is a day for barbeques and picnics. Some look forward eagerly to Memorial Day for the Indy 500 race, the Memorial Golf Tournament, fantastic shopping sales, or a great parade through their town. Many look forward to Memorial Day, but sadly, fewRead More...

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Missionaries in the Neighborhood

Last week, three harmless looking women were walking around Montoya Circle going door to door. They were not selling Girl Scout cookies or vacuum cleaners. Instead, they were on a mission selling their savior to the unsuspecting family member that happened to answer the door for them. These women were Christian missionaries with Bibles inRead More...

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Be Part of the Solution – Agunah Prevention

“Let my people go!” This refrain, introduced by Moshe in Egypt when he appealed to Pharaoh to liberate the Jewish people from bondage, has not only been referenced throughout Jewish history, but has been embraced by multiple peoples and cultures around the world in campaigns against injustice. In our time, I can vividly remember chanting,Read More...

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The Flip Side of Anonymity

The election season is officially underway with the Iowa Caucus just a few weeks away. There are many variables that contribute to the decision making process of how we choose our candidates and indeed how we vote in elections. The candidate’s appearance, eloquence, pedigree, upbringing, and professional and civic accomplishments all play a role inRead More...

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More than Just Clothes: What True Modern Modesty Looks Like

Last Saturday night, we hosted our 3rd Community Conversation, a moderated dialogue among members of the BRS community on important issues of the day. This latest event focused on the question of Living Modestly in the 21st Century and included panelists Andrea Zucker, Ari Beim, Penny Pearlman and Leah Rosen. All of us want toRead More...

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Is Orthodoxy Turning Jews On or Off?

A colleague of mine in Boca gave a sermon on Rosh Hashana bemoaning the current lack of Jewish affiliation and identity. He wondered out loud, why is it that so many are not showing up in Synagogue, Jewish day schools, Federations or anything Jewish? His question is a disturbing one, but frankly so was hisRead More...