Posted on

What Brings a Reform and Orthodox Synagogue Together? Giving Israeli Combat Veterans Some Peace of Mind

As American Jews or Jewish Americans, even if we don’t formally have dual citizenship, we unapologetically feel loyalty, appreciation and devotion to both America and Israel.  But make no mistake, the freedoms we enjoy, both in America and Israel, don’t come without a cost. It is no secret that America and Israel have enemies, adversariesRead More...

Posted on

Am Yisrael Chai – A Slogan or a Prayer?

Upon capturing Yerushalayim fifty years ago, Motta Gur uttered the now iconic words, “Har Ha’bayit b’yadeinu, the Temple Mount is in our hands.”  Those who ascend the holiest place on earth, might disagree.  Since taking the Old City in 1967, Israeli law has barred Jews from praying on Har HaBayis, or even from bringing aRead More...

Posted on

Coalition or Opposition: Lessons From My Week in Israel with Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Rabbinical Students

There is a large, flat monitor mounted in the lobby of Israel’s Knesset that displays headshots of all the current members of Knesset.  Interestingly, in an effort towards transparency, the screen indicates which members are present in the building at any given time.  As I looked over the pictures, it occurred to me what aRead More...

Posted on

The Six Day War Changed Israel, But Did it Change You?

The Klausenberger Rebbe zt”l, R’ Yekusiel Yehuda Halberstam, lost his wife and eleven children in the Holocaust.  After the war, he gathered a small community of followers who had also survived, and from that small group eventually rebuilt a beautiful community.  Rabbi Shlomo Riskin describes a visit to the Beis Medrash of the Klausenberger RebbeRead More...

Posted on

Beyond Blue and White and Daglanut: What Does it Mean to be a Religious Zionist in America?

A few weeks ago, we marked Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, celebrating a return of Jewish sovereignty to our homeland after nearly 2,000 years of longing and praying for it.  Our community held a Yom Hazikaron/Yom Ha’atzmaut program with approximately 250 people in attendance.  By most measures, that number indicates a successful event.  But, whenRead More...

Posted on

Visit Chalutza and Witness the Fulfillment of God’s Promise

Whatever one’s politics or perspective on the evacuation of Amona may be, the pictures and videos of Jews pulling other Jews out of their homes and Shul were indisputably heart- wrenching.  Though the circumstances were not identical, the images were reminiscent of the 2005 Gaza withdrawal and the painful evacuation of 10,000 Jews from theirRead More...

Posted on

Their Job is to Look After Israel, our Job is to Look After Them

The emotionally charged expression “Sharing the Burden” means different things in different contexts.  In the context of the Jewish Day School tuition crisis conversation, sharing the burden means helping families find relief from the debilitating levels of tuition. In the presidential election season, sharing the burden is code for raising taxes. When it comes toRead More...

Posted on

Light the Candles and Be Inspired to Light Up the World

If Tisha B’av or Yom HaShoah represent days that commemorate dying al Kiddush Hashem, sanctifying God’s name, Chanuka is the holiday that celebrates living al Kiddush Hashem. Overcoming enormous pressure and persecution, the Maccabees refused to abandon their Torah way of life and to assimilate into the culture and religion that surrounded them. While facingRead More...

Posted on

We May Be In The West, But Our Hearts Are In The East

  Almost every time I interact with individuals who have close family living far away who are going through a difficult time, they say something along the lines of, “It is so hard to know they are suffering and to be so far away. I think about them all day and only wish I couldRead More...

Posted on

Shabbos Nachamu – Comfort Through Unity

This was supposed to be the week of nechama, of comfort and consolation. We just got up off the ground where we were mourning the tragedies and atrocities of the last 2,000 years and reflecting on the root cause of our suffering, specifically baseless hatred. In the very week in which we were to learnRead More...

Posted on

Lobbying Those Below as a Prayer to the One Above

Despite suffering the catastrophic calamities and tragedies of the last two thousands years, we nevertheless remain an eternally optimistic people always wanting to believe that somehow regardless of the most recent enemy declaring his intent of wiping our people and our homeland off the map, everything is going to be alright. Optimism has served ourRead More...

Posted on

Heaven is Knocking; Are You Answering?

On Yom Ha’Atzmaut 1956, Rabbi Soloveitchik delivered a lecture in Yiddish at Yeshiva University in which he sought to put the extraordinary events that had occurred less than a decade earlier into a context and perspective. In his opinion, the remarkably close proximity of the worst atrocity and darkest period in Jewish history to theRead More...

Posted on

Is There a Place in Zionism for the Diaspora Jew?

In July of 2004, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told a gathering of North American Jewish federation leaders: “If I have to advocate to our brothers in France, I will tell them one thing: Move to Israel as early as possible… I say that to Jews all around the world, but there I think it’s a mustRead More...

Posted on

Sometimes Confusion Breeds Clarity

**NASA astronauts have a special word to describe how re-entry feels, and it isn’t heaven. I wrote this during the 72 hour ceasefire this week in which Israel and those who care deeply about her experienced a re-entry into a small semblance of quiet and normal.  Though Hamas has resumed launching rockets and Israel hasRead More...

Posted on

Don’t be Apathetic

While the response to our proposed mission was positive, unfortunately, due to a number of factors, the mission sadly did not come together in the end. I sincerely hope our community will find the ability to successfully organize a large mission of support and solidarity to Israel in the future. While we may not beRead More...

Posted on

Be Israel’s Iron Dome

Watching the short clip you cannot help but feel you are seeing a fictional scene produced by Hollywood. A rocket is fired at civilians and a missile immediately launches swirling through the sky until it calculates the trajectory of the incoming missile, changing course to meet it high in the sky where it explodes withoutRead More...

Posted on

“Ema, Was it Very Meaningful?” (Guest Post)

My sister in law, Shayna Goldberg, who lives in Alon Shvut near where the boys were kidnapped, shared her reflections upon attending the tragic funeral for Eyal, Naftali and Gil-ad z’l this week.  I found her words incredibly powerful, inspirational and worth sharing: “Are they dead?” Asked my 8 year old Tuesday morning after weRead More...

Posted on

The Temple Mount is in Your Hands

In his incredible book “The Prime Ministers,” Yehudah Avner describes the remarkable circumstances surrounding the capture of the Old City of Jerusalem and the reunification of the eternal capital of the Jewish people. Menachem Begin’s brain was so crammed with thoughts that he could not sleep. Tossing and turning, he was gripped by Jewish memoriesRead More...

Posted on

Israel – A Major Part of Judaism

Once again, this year’s AIPAC policy conference proved to be nothing short of extraordinary.  Being together with 14,000 like-minded pro-Israel advocates, people of all religions, ethnicities and backgrounds, united by our shared passion and commitment towards a strong U.S.–Israel relationship, was exhilarating and electrifying. This year’s goose bump moments for me included observing a showcaseRead More...

Posted on

Disagreeing with Dignity – Interfaith Lunch with Secretary Kerry

In October, Boca Raton Synagogue adopted a Civility Policy (since renamed Derech Eretz Policy) as an affirmation of our community’s commitment to debate, dialogue and disagree with respect and dignity, always focusing on issues and policies, rather than on people.  Last week, I was reminded of the importance of this commitment when I traveled toRead More...

Posted on

Sharing the Burden

The emotionally charged expression “Sharing the Burden” has been bandied about of late, but has a variety of meanings depending on the setting in which it is used. In the context of the Jewish Day School tuition crisis conversation, sharing the burden means helping families find relief from the debilitating levels of tuition. During theRead More...

Posted on

Say Little, Do Much

News of President Carter receiving an award from Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law broke last week and the Internet lit up immediately.  Graduates of the law school, graduates of Yeshiva University, and concerned pro-Israel advocates were outraged, incensed, and bewildered.  How could the subsidiary of a Jewish University, the sister school of a Yeshiva,Read More...

Posted on

Holy Candles and Holy Guns

When a convert stands in the Mikvah about to immerse and undergo an existential transformation, we ask him or her a series of questions. One of the most poignant and yet seemingly irrelevant is the following: “You know that Jews have been subject to persecution, anti Semitism, and attempted extermination throughout the millennia. If youRead More...

Posted on

The Fame and Infamy of November 29th

There is only one street that I know of named for a date on the calendar.  Rechov Chaf Tet B’November, November 29th Street, runs through the Katamon neighborhood of Yerushalayim.   Why would a street in our Holy City be named for a date on the Gregorian calendar? Just a short time after the darkest periodRead More...

Posted on

Is the Glass of Redemption Half Full or Half Empty?

Last week, an Israeli Rabbi wrote an article in a weekend magazine wondering out loud why we still observe the fast of the 17th of Tammuz. After all, we have recovered Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel, we have a thriving State of Israel, and more people are learning Torah in Israel than everRead More...

Posted on

Two Remarkable Graduations

Greetings from the Holy Land. When it comes to the State of Israel, there is never a shortage of things to worry about.  It seems that since its birth just a few years ago, Israel remains in a state of perpetual crisis due to enemies from the outside, and tragically sometimes from the inside.    InRead More...

Posted on

But Is It Anti-Semitism?

The organized effort to delegitimize and demonize Israel recently arrived right here in our local Boca Raton backyard. Two weeks ago, students at FAU opened their dormitory doors to find a mock eviction notice posted, complete with an illegally placed seal from the Palm Beach County Commission. An insidious group called Students for Justice inRead More...

Posted on

Stand Up and Fight Back

Many of us saw our parents fight for soviet Jewry.  Others saw their parents fight for the birth of the state of Israel or on her behalf after the 6 day war and Yom Kippur war.  Some saw their parents fight to pioneer Jewish communities and found day schools, Shuls and Mikvahs.  What do ourRead More...

Posted on

Confounded and Conflicted

Zman simchaseinu, Sukkos as a time of great joy, took on a whole new meaning this year with the announcement that Gilad Shalit will be released in the next few days.  After 5 years languishing in a Hamas dungeon in an undisclosed location with absolutely no visits or contact from family, the people of IsraelRead More...

Posted on

Criticism When Appropriate, Praise When Warranted

A very noteworthy incident took place last weekend, though it was significantly overshadowed by the 10th anniversary of 9/11. An angry mob attacked the Israeli embassy in Cairo, breached the security wall, and advanced on six Israeli diplomats with one goal in mind. The Israelis barricaded themselves in a room with only one locked doorRead More...