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Siz Shver Zol Zayn a Yid: Anti-Semitism is Alive and Well: But So Are We

10/10/2019 02:35:46 PM

Oct10

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

Tonight, I am going to give the sermon that when I entered into the rabbinate I swore I was never going to give: because I was never going to be the rabbi who never talked about guilt. I had big plans: I was going to be the rabbi who each high holy days left my community feeling uplifted and who talked about what Judaism was going to do for your life, not siz shver zol zayn a yid, how hard it is to be a Jew. I was...Read more...

Jew from the Pew

10/10/2019 02:19:33 PM

Oct10

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

 

Over these last days from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur, I was asked by not a few curious well wishers how I enjoyed retirement and sitting in the congregation. I replied that the view from the pew for this Jew was a delight. For decades I have been looking at the congregation from the bima. The drama of ark openings. Yizkor. Kol Nidre. The timeless beauty of pulpit...Read more...

rosh hashanah 5780: Living a chayim tovim, A good life

10/03/2019 11:25:18 AM

Oct3

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

This summer, we watched as the world’s most dangerous mountain climb became even more dangerous. And even though HotLanta was really hot this summer, I am not talking about Kennesaw Mountain which has an elevation of 1,800 (a good Jewish number). I am talking about Mt. Everest at 29,029 feet, during which 11 people died trying to summit this year. Bringing the total to over 300 who have died trying to get to the...Read more...

The Camel Ride

10/03/2019 10:02:11 AM

Oct3

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

 

After a plodding camel ride into the Sahara to witness an exquisite sunrise in the desert. After greeting the dawn with words of prayer. We stumbled and tumbled down a sand dune, climbed back onto our waiting camels to return to our jeeps in the distance.

 

Our youthful camel drivers knew the...Read more...

Drashing with Dorsch

09/25/2019 12:18:21 PM

Sep25

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

Because Rabbi Dorsch has been so busy with the Yid Brothers and admiring our new Sanctuary, he has not had a chance to pen a blog this week. See you back here next week...

 

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Bucket List: Morocco 

09/25/2019 12:12:28 PM

Sep25

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

 

Another bucket list adventure checked off. Though still in the throes of jet lag permit me a gnawing, persistent thought from our recent trip to Morocco.

 

It was everything we expected and more. A land of paradox. Modern and primitive. Lush but desert. Tolerant yet autocratic. But upon reflection I left with a stubborn...Read more...

Egalitarian Duchening

09/20/2019 09:21:22 AM

Sep20

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

 

Rachel Schwartz, the daughter of Jay and Elaine (and sister of our board of trustees member, Josh) just finished her second year studying at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. The Yeshiva is one of the crown-jewels of our movement: today, the brightest scholars, rabbinical students, and products of our conservative synagogues learn, teach, and debate the future of...Read more...

saying Kaddish

09/20/2019 09:07:58 AM

Sep20

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

In recent weeks a number of our congregants completed the eleven months of kaddish following the death of their parent. I shared with them the words that my Talmud professor shared with me following the passing of my father. His kindness helped me as I entered the unchartered tears of loss. “Shalom”, he counselled, “You will experience the death of your aba twice. The first time is now, his physical departure as you sit shiva. The...Read more...

Dual Loyalty?

09/12/2019 10:29:24 AM

Sep12

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

If the United States went to war with Israel, which side would you pick?   Thank God, in the year 2019, this scenario seems like an utter impossibility. It’s more unlikely than the Phillies making the playoffs this season.   However, as a teenager who attended Jewish summer camp and youth group, I must have been asked this question in at least fifteen different settings. Each instance would stir vociferous debate. The group would...Read more...

Rabbi Lewis

09/12/2019 10:27:41 AM

Sep12

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

Rabbi Lewis is davening on the Marrakech Express this week.

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Proselytizing Jews

09/05/2019 03:30:37 PM

Sep5

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

  About a week ago, several of you received copies of a book in your mailboxes from a man named Sid Roth called They Thought for Themselves. You don’t have to read far beyond the attached letter to understand that this is a book written by a Messianic Jew and it was placed into mailboxes of people with Jewish sounding last names. Needless to say, Dorsch didn’t make the cut.   In today’s day and age, there has been a resurgence...Read more...

Justice Justice you shall persue

09/05/2019 03:22:48 PM

Sep5

Rabbi Shalom Lewis

Hemingway once said that ‘We are stronger in the broken places’, but respectfully I disagree with Papa. My proof is a nursery rhyme. A Chassidic tale and words from Torah. We all are familiar with Humpty Dumpty. He fell off a wall and ‘…all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again’. Next.

 

Read more...

Quitting the gym

08/29/2019 02:38:26 PM

Aug29

Rabbi Daniel Dorsch

 

Don’t tell my doctor, but for the first time in nearly half a year, I finally went back to the gym.

 

I have to admit that I’ve debated cancelling my LA Fitness Membership for months. To put it simply--because I don’t use it all of the time--I don’t want to pay anymore for it.

 Read more...

We were out of town

08/29/2019 02:34:14 PM

Aug29

Rabbi Shalom Lewis

This past weekend we were out of town. On Shabbos I davened at a nearby shul within walking distance. The attendance was sparse. Perhaps three minyanim of seniors. No children. They were friendly and honored me with an aliya. The service was pleasant with familiar melodies. The rabbi gracious and chit chatty. Traditional pastries and beverages followed the kiddush and hamotzi. But as I walked back to where we were...Read more...

striving to be an installation professional

08/22/2019 03:40:46 PM

Aug22

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

Since his retirement, our former Religion Vice President Joe Ziskend has become a Ring Doorbell Installation Professional. I can say this because after about eight hours of hard labor at my home, Joe finally succeeded in coming up with a “hack” that has enabled the doorbell to be installed alongside my Nutone intercom system.

Watching Joe, who is a trained electrical...Read more...

culinary delights

08/22/2019 03:08:11 PM

Aug22

Rabbi Shalom Lewis

The Garden of Eden was an idyllic place where Adam and Eve lived in harmony alongside a menagerie, while gathering sustenance from nature’s bounty. This was God’s intent at Creation.

Humanity were caretakers of the earth and not carnivores. But as we read on, we discover that the Good Lord weakened in His resolve of a parave world, granting dietary allowance to meat eaters....Read more...

The backpack blessing

08/15/2019 12:57:40 PM

Aug15

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

I couldn’t help but notice signs last week advertising LCI’s (our next door neighbor) “Blessing of the Backpack.”   I have no idea what in the Lutheran Tradition such a blessing over a backpack would look like. But as we send our kids off to school, I’ve been wondering: is there a Jewish equivalent?   You might think that the Shehechiyanu would be appropriate. It’s become the Jewish “catch-all” blessing for...Read more...

The Midrash of Mice and Man

08/15/2019 12:51:02 PM

Aug15

Rabbi Shalom Lewis, Emeritus

There is a midrash of a king who would put to death receivers of stolen property but allowed the thieves to go free. He was criticized for his odd behavior. And so, to explain the rational for his actions, he commanded his subjects gather in the arena. Next, he placed mice in front of piles of food. The mice took the food and scampered into their holes. The next day he ordered his people to...Read more...

our american temple is on fire

08/07/2019 02:24:58 PM

Aug7

Rabbi Daniel Dorsch

 

Our American Temple is on fire.  

A growing crisis in mental health.  The growing feeling of subjectivity when it comes to truth.  Deranged individuals abusing firearms.  You could argue any number of these reasons and more were responsible for the heartbreaking tragedies in Dayton and El Paso that have gripped our country this week.

On Tisha B’av we remember a time in Jewish history...Read more...

We walk a fragile, bewildering path

08/07/2019 02:20:56 PM

Aug7

Rabbi Shalom Lewis

We walk a fragile, bewildering path between security and freedom. Ben Franklin cautioned years ago that…’those who give up essential freedom, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety’. I recall a visit to the Soviet Union many years ago and traveling on the metro in the wee hours. I experienced no fear nor angst as the subway whisked me from station to station in the cold, dark Russian night....Read more...

08/07/2019 02:20:26 PM

Aug7

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To get a babysitter, or not to get a babysitter: that is the question.

08/01/2019 12:19:47 PM

Aug1

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

This week, Amy and I found ourselves at the same venue twice, The Ameris Bank Amphitheatre in Alpharetta, for completely different reasons.   The first reason was for the Dave Matthews Band Concert last Tuesday.   Yes, even rabbis occasionally need a night out.   The weather for the concert was picture perfect. As we sat on our own lawn chairs on the lawn on a rare, cool evening, you could not have picked a better night...Read more...

farewell to The gray lady

08/01/2019 12:12:39 PM

Aug1

Rabbi Emeritus, Shalom Lewis

She would visit every Sunday morning. Three pounds on our front stoop of all the news that’s fit to print. The Gray Lady was loved by my parents. Powerful. Stylishly written. Pulitzer plump. As a child I was in awe. It had no Sunday comics but somehow it possessed a peerless nobility that I sensed even in my youth. I was a fan but didn’t quite understand why.

As I grew up I...Read more...

Jewish Tradition has it all wrong

07/25/2019 03:14:53 PM

Jul25

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

I think Jewish tradition has it all wrong.   We pray that God should be like a parent who forgives his or her child.   Instead, I believe that we should be praying that God be like a young child who forgives his or her parent.   Our young children love us unconditionally, and on occasion, throw a tantrum. These bring us to our limits. But calm inevitably follows the storm. “Weeping may stay the night, but rejoicing...Read more...

Blending Tradition and change

07/25/2019 02:09:24 PM

Jul25

Rabbi Shalom Lewis

We are a nation of kvetches. Going back thousands of years we have always complained that Judaism was too strict. Too legalistic. Too restrictive. We moaned that our faith limited our enjoyment of life at every juncture, imposing prohibitions and rules that promoted resentment, infidelity and defection. We got one shot at life so why can’t we suck the marrow out of our three score and ten?   To make the point in the extremist, many of...Read more...

"Gone Fishing"

07/18/2019 03:15:18 PM

Jul18

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

Rabbi Dorsch is currently out of town. 

My Take on this weeks torah portion Balak

07/18/2019 03:00:41 PM

Jul18

Rabbi Shalom Lewis

In the opening chapter of this week’s parsha, the Moabite king cries out in a familiar, Catskillian trope, ‘The Yiddish are coming. The Yiddish are coming’. Indeed, the Israelites were approaching Balak’s kingdom and he trembled at the sight of the Jewish warriors. And so, what does he do in defense of his land? He hires Bilaam, a local shaman, who will curse the Jews and bring them down.

The story is entertaining, introducing...Read more...

technology and the Middle east

07/11/2019 03:16:14 PM

Jul11

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

After morning minyan, I caught up with a congregant whose daughter is attending a summer program in Israel. Through the Life360 iPhone application, each day he could literally watch where she was traveling. The app gives new meaning to “living vicariously.”

One day, he told me, he started to get some odd cell phone roaming charges from Lebanon. Slightly concerned (the...Read more...

Amazon and Censorship

07/11/2019 03:08:11 PM

Jul11

Rabbi Shalom Lewis

Ever hear of Joseph Nicolosi? He was a Catholic psychologist who wrote a number of books on ‘conversion therapy’. Nicolosi claimed that with an assortment of treatments, strategies and medications same sex attraction can be rerouted into heterosexuality. He had believers from reluctant gays to Christian fundamentalists. But for those of us who live in the world of authentic science and sexual reality, his...Read more...

houses -vs- homes

07/03/2019 10:06:35 AM

Jul3

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

One of the more interesting parts of being a rabbi they don’t put on the job description is that you get to see the insides of a great many houses. Shiva visits. Baby namings. Brises. It’s probably why I’ve lost interest in watching HGTV.

Over these visits, a critical life lesson has been reinforced for me: and that is, that there is a great difference between houses and...Read more...

Wed, October 16 2019 17 Tishrei 5780