Rabbi’s Blog

Recent Posts

  • Rabbi’s Blog | An Israeli flag on the moon!
    April 12, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, Ok, so it was not the soft lunar landing for which the project had hoped and planned for more than 8 years. It was a crash landing of sorts after Israel had become the 7th country in the world to enter the moon’s orbit. BUT…make no mistake, there is now an Israeli flag
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Any bacon lovers out there?
    March 29, 2019
    Haha, I thought I would get your attention with that subject line! 🙂 Our tradition gives us a fascinating insight into human reality by way of this often-maligned, tasty (so I’m told!) animal. This week, we get a detailed list of the animals considered kosher and those that are not. As you
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Join us: Candle Light Vigil
    March 20, 2019
    Chaverim Shalom, Tonight begins the holiday of Purim, a time when forces of darkness conspired to take over the world. Yet the Jewish People, led by Esther and Mordechai, summon up the courage to defeat the overwhelming evil. Is this not a story that continually repeats itself?? As you all know, a
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Remember
    March 14, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, While we Jews excel at many things, I believe that memory must occupy the top of that list. Throughout history, we have elevated the act of remembering to an art form, as a way of eternalizing fleeting existence. Think of all the examples: The Jewish State, Israel, has the most
  • Rabbi’s Blog | 2 Milestones in 1 Week
    February 22, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, My wife had a couple of significant milestones in her life as this week comes to a close. She officially changed her name from Samantha Ashley Shabman to Samantha Shabman Trief. Yes, it turns out I am no longer the only rabbi with the unusual last name of Trief. Of course, though
  • Rabbi’s Blog | The First Jewish Building?
    February 8, 2019
    Chaverim Shalom, We Jews don’t rely on a physical space for prayer or to facilitate God’s presence. We believe that prayer and God can be found anywhere. For this reason, unlike so many cathedrals and mosques around the world, it is rare to see very elaborate and ornate synagogues. And
  • Rabbi’s Blog | March 16, 2018 | Vayikra: The Singular Power of Corned Beef
    February 1, 2019
    A sermon delivered at Beth Shalom Synagogue on March 16, 2018 When my unit underwent field-training in the IDF, there were some tough conditions to which we had to accustom ourselves. Carrying heavy weights, digging a hole in which to sleep, barely getting to use it, the intense discipline. But
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Does God talk to us?
    January 25, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, There’s a Jewish dating service cleverly named SawYouAtSinai, playing on the traditional idea that all Jewish souls, past and present (all 600,000 types) stood at Sinai for God’s revelation thousands of years ago. There’s something really comforting and
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Feb. 16, 2018 | Terumah, Valentine’s Day, Stubbornness and God
    January 18, 2019
    A sermon delivered at Beth Shalom Synagogue on Feb. 16, 2018 I’ve been accused frequently of being stubborn, mostly by my wife, sometimes by others, and yet I’ve always taken it as somewhat of a compliment, as a badge of honor. After all, aren’t us Jews am kshey oref, a stiff necked,
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Coming to Your Pharaoh
    January 11, 2019
    Chaverim Yekarim, What if Pharoah were part of us? We often think of Pharaoh as this cruel and unrelenting villain in Jewish history, refusing to let the Israelites out of slavery despite the calls from Moses and the ensuing plagues. And, indeed, he was this villain. But our Jewish tradition always
  • Rabbi’s Blog | July 14, 2017 |  Parshat Pinchas: Pinchas and True Peach
    January 4, 2019
    A sermon delivered at Beth Shalom Synagogue on July 14, 2017 Something very strange happens at the beginning of this week’s Torah portion based on what happened at the end of last week’s. For an act of extreme violence, Pinchas is rewarded by God with a brit shalom / a covenant of peace. As
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Our most amazing gift
    December 28, 2018
    Chaverim Yekarim, Hundreds of years ago in the Middle Ages, the rabbis gave human beings the nickname ha’midaber / the one who speaks, highlighting that crucial distinction between humans and other living creatures. It is that ability to speak that allows us to rise up from our bodies and
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Jan. 20, 2017 | Parshat Shemot: Naming It
    December 21, 2018
    A sermon delivered at Beth Shalom Synagogue on Jan. 20, 2017. I have always struggled with speaking, especially as a child. Sometimes the words just wouldn’t come out of my mouth no matter how much I willed them, I would get stuck on certain consonants, stutter my way through them. Sometimes I
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Vayigash
    December 14, 2018
    Chaverim Yekarim, As our reading of Genesis approaches its conclusion these next couple of weeks, we reflect on some of the lessons that we have learned. Our ancestors formed part of an epic drama, one in which they played an active role. Yes, God made a lot of things happen to them, but they also
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Mah Tevakesh – What are you seeking?
    November 30, 2018
    Chaverim Yekarim, This week, Joseph goes off in search of his brothers and loses his way until he stumbles upon a mysterious person. The Torah refers to this person simply as “ish / man,” and yet we must not confuse his anonymity with his importance. At a period of great physical and
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Happy Thanksgiving
    November 22, 2018
    Shalom Chaverim, Thanksgiving is the quintessential American AND Jewish holiday. As Jews, we do it everyday of our lives. It is hard-wired into our DNA. It is our very name! The word Jew comes from the Hebrew word yehudi, derived from the root l’hodot, to thank.  The Jewish People get
  • Rabbi’s Blog | #ShowUpForShabbat
    October 31, 2018
    Hatred has struck deep within our national fabric. Our People are left reeling after such a senseless and heinous act. And yet, as we have from time immemorial, we pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and get back to work. We do not let it define us because hope is the incurable Jewish condition.
  • Rabbi’s Blog | Our Jewish Family Shattered
    October 28, 2018
    Chaverim Shalom, My heart is with you all as we mourn the senseless murders at Tree of Life-Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We are but one Jewish family and this impacts us like a punch to the gut…this, the worst attack to hit our Jewish People in this Nation’s history.