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flinstones verses the jetsons

04/02/2020 01:04:51 PM

Apr2

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

With Zoom conference calls galore and religious services now online, it can feel like we are living in an exciting time. You might even be tempted to describe it as the era of the Jetsons.   But then again, have you watched an episode of the Jetsons recently? If you pay close attention, you’ll notice that the show is actually the worst of 1960s thinking wrapped into 2020 technology. Years into the future, the best the show’s writers...Read more...

"What Day is it?"

04/02/2020 01:00:01 PM

Apr2

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

One of the most often asked questions in the midst of the quarantine is ‘What day is it?’ When our lives were tethered to routine it was easy not to be lost with the passage of time. Every day had an identity. But now, when our environment doesn’t change and our schedule is redundant, we find ourselves wondering ‘What day is it?’ As our heads spin trying to make sense of the senseless, trying to grab hold of a shifting universe we are...Read more...

04/02/2020 12:58:57 PM

Apr2

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necessity is the mother of invention

03/26/2020 10:18:15 AM

Mar26

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

If necessity truly is the mother of invention, I would say that we’ve seen that in full force this week.   Instead of broadcasting into your living room, news reporters are now broadcasting live from their living rooms. To the chagrin of most accountants, tax Season will now extend into mid-July. All of our favorite local joints that need our support--from Bagelicious to Capozzi’s--are offering curbside service.   Oh, and...Read more...

beyond the bubble

03/26/2020 10:07:44 AM

Mar26

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

When called upon to fight an enemy in a conventional war, we are shown how to shoot a gun. Drive a tank. Parachute from a plane. Dig a fox hole and avoid land mines. We put our lives at risk, but that is what we do when the enemy is at our gate. There will be blood, but that is what we do in defense of our homeland and in defense of our principles. We do what we must even as every moment in combat could become our yahrzeit.
Today we are at...Read more...

Passover and covid-19

03/19/2020 10:25:46 AM

Mar19

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

Do we celebrate a Passover Seder during COVID-19? Do we keep Passover at all? What traditions do we do, and what do we scale back?   This morning, I received an email from my cousin in Philadelphia (also a rabbi) who decided to cancel our first night Seder. Understandably, the 75 people he had in mind is not going to work. If we even have second night at my parents’ home, it’s not entirely likely that my grandparents in their 90s (the...Read more...

This toO shall pass

03/19/2020 10:18:12 AM

Mar19

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

It’s an old legend but it possesses new meaning. King Solomon sends out his servant to find a magic ring that makes happy people sad and sad people happy. After a year in fruitless search, the frustrated servant is reluctantly prepared to return to his king empty handed when he stumbles upon a jeweler near the palace gate. He explains to the artisan what he is seeking and is told to return the next day. He does and is handed the magical ring...Read more...

The phishing hack

03/12/2020 10:49:48 AM

Mar12

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

On Sunday I received no fewer than forty five emails and text messages from congregants (and yes, even one caterer) concerned about a suspicious email. The email came from the address rabbidorschetzchaim@gmail.com, and the writer, pretending to be yours truly, asked people to send gift cards to help the poor. Thankfully, everyone had the good sense to realize that this is a common email scam known as phishing.   I was truly touched by...Read more...

We got the Meats

03/12/2020 10:38:25 AM

Mar12

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

In a recent email to his/her subdivision, an anonymous vegan jogger asked neighbors not to barbecue meat outdoors and when grilling meat indoors, to close the windows because of the ‘…overpowering, offensive odor.’ This whining narcissist pleads for empathy for #plant-based neighbors. There are so many points of entry into this idiocy I’m not sure where to start so let me just jump in. How about empathy for carnivores? How about running...Read more...

In shushan, the world nearly went mad

03/05/2020 04:19:40 PM

Mar5

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

In the story of Purim, the world nearly went mad. According to a famous rabbinic midrash, large, frivolous parties were held in Shushan on golden plates once used to worship in the Jerusalem Temple. A king drunk with power declared an end to the Jewish people, while a wicked advisor wielding unchecked influence nearly got away with genocide.   Then, with the help of one courageous individual, something extraordinary happened: The world...Read more...

There are masks and there are masks

03/05/2020 04:09:20 PM

Mar5

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

There are masks and there are masks. Purim is days away and celebrated in an assortment of ways. One festive gesture is the wearing of masks. We hide our identity, pretending to be a murderous villain or a Jewish queen or a Ninja Turtle. It is all in fun, lasting for a short while during a carnival or a parade or a religious service. In time we shed our frailach facade returning to our authentic identity and to routine. It is a joyous holiday...Read more...

"Shame on you"

02/27/2020 03:35:10 PM

Feb27

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be attending AIPAC’s policy conference this coming Sunday. I support AIPAC not only because an otherwise divided Jewish people is brought together on an issue of common love, but because the security of the State of Israel and its sacrosanct relationship with America remains perhaps the last issue in Washington where there appears to be a real consensus.   Every year I attend the policy...Read more...

My Father's Yahrzeit

02/27/2020 03:25:35 PM

Feb27

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

My father and I walked this earth together for 59 years until his death 12 years ago this week. In the days following shiva, I wrote a piece that I shared then and share now, once again. It comforted me in the confusing haze of loss and provides me today with a tear and a smile. For permitting me this personal moment of reflection when I first became a mourner, I thank you. Perhaps in some way it will serve as comfort for others of you who have...Read more...

Becoming an adult b'nai mitzvah

02/20/2020 12:33:38 PM

Feb20

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

I’m beginning to get really excited about our Adult B'nai Mitzvah service on April 25. Why? Because each time I meet with one of the participants, I am beginning to see how profoundly they have been shaped by this experience.   Together, my class has spent nearly thirty Sundays over the past year and a half learning the intricacies of Judaism. Many had never before read Hebrew, let alone used our Melton curriculum to explore the...Read more...

Serenity at the four way stop

02/20/2020 12:30:05 PM

Feb20

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

It has been a typical week of frustration for the exhausted soul seeking a moment’s respite from the grip of depression. The massacre of 11 innocents by a Far-Right zealot in Germany. The soaring numbers of victims stricken with the Coronavirus. Syria on the verge of a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. And, of course, all the other meshugas that makes the headlines. It is brutal. Beats us up. Yet from out of the...Read more...

assistant rabbi search update

02/13/2020 12:03:04 PM

Feb13

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

Like the prodigal son, I finally returned earlier this week to the Jewish Theological Seminary to interview candidates to fill our assistant rabbi position (yes, I am aware of the irony of the first half of that sentence doesn’t quite match with the second).   I was blessed to spend the better part of my formative years learning Torah at the Jewish Theological Seminary as a List College undergraduate and then as a rabbinical student....Read more...

Shalom for class president

02/13/2020 11:59:46 AM

Feb13

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

From out of nowhere, the humming cadence of today can be shaken by distant memories. These sudden intrusions transport us to places long forgotten. Unconsidered. We are catapulted back to long abandoned moments that filled but minutes of our history yet are surprisingly vivid. Journeys that take us back decades to fleeting episodes of youth. And so, in the midst of our day we pause and ponder the by-gone triggered by a melody. A fragrance....Read more...

The Distate of our union

02/06/2020 10:43:58 AM

Feb6

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

Whether you are a republican or a democrat, we should all feel embarrassed by the hyper-partisanship on full display at the State of the Union.   You may have enjoyed listening to the speech. Or, you may have absolutely hated it. But you all know me well enough to know that this column is not going to be a policy discussion: You and I can have that discussion over a drink at Suburban Tap.   Today, I feel embarrassed because as a...Read more...

differences between a human being and a dog

02/06/2020 10:25:39 AM

Feb6

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

We watched a video this week of our 11 month old grandson Noah scampering up stairs. We admired his assent with pride as he passed another threshold of early life, giggling with every step conquered. As we observed this milestone I recalled when Jack, our 12 year old Shitzu, accomplished the same. No larger at birth than a black Rawlings we kvelled as he climbed up the carpeted steps in our home. Such nachas....Read more...

Kobe Bryant

01/30/2020 04:06:01 PM

Jan30

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

If you were involved with the JCC Kaiserman in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania in the 1990s, you knew the Bryant family. They lived in a normal home on Remington Road almost across from my childhood synagogue, which was down the road from the JCC. Joe “Jelly Bean” Bryant may have played for the Philadelphia 76ers, but after returning from playing in Europe, his first gig was coaching the Akiba Hebrew Academy Women’s...Read more...

Peace in the middle east

01/30/2020 03:59:24 PM

Jan30

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

The Deal of the Century is not a new TV game show but the long-awaited plan for the stalled Israel-Palestinian peace talks. Introduced this week, it was praised by some, vilified by others. Was it an authentic, creative break through or Oval Office hyperbole?

 

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Vote for MERCAZ, Slate 6, in the World Zionist Elections 

01/23/2020 10:17:06 AM

Jan23

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

It’s hard to believe that right now there are two important elections concerning the future of the Jewish people. The one you’ve probably been reading about is Israel’s third parliamentary election. In so many months, no one has been able to form a coalition. As American citizens, it’s frustrating to watch. We sit on the sidelines as we watch Israeli democracy at work.   Yet, there is also a second election going on right now....Read more...

The Movie list

01/23/2020 10:01:13 AM

Jan23

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

Night and Fog was the first Holocaust movie I ever saw. It was a scorching black and white documentary that became the stuff of nightmares. Its theological impact cannot be discounted sending many once faithful Jews scurrying into the cold embrace of atheism.

 

Since then, I have seen many films on this subject as have, we all. The Boy...Read more...

Next year at great wolf lodge

01/16/2020 03:58:42 PM

Jan16

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

In the winter edition of the Jewish Review of Books, I came across an astounding claim by writer Tal Keinan that “expatriate Israelis are even more likely to intermarry than American Jews.”   Since reading that statement, I’ve done a cursory web search. I’ve been unable to find evidence to back that claim up. Nonetheless, I have to admit that if it’s even partially true, a large part of me would not find it to be all that...Read more...

The Ultimate journey

01/16/2020 03:51:07 PM

Jan16

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

 

Death is unnerving for many, even if departure is years away. We wrap protective amulets around our neck. Hold our breath when strolling by a graveyard. Change our names to confound the Angel of Death. There are countless superstitions we follow in an attempt to avoid confronting the inevitable.

 

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Where's Waldo? He's Studying talmud

01/09/2020 03:57:28 PM

Jan9

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

Please click the link below to enjoy Rabbi Dorsch's blog in the Atlanta Jewish Times.

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A Question to Ponder

01/09/2020 03:51:17 PM

Jan9

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

A question to ponder. (Think the final fairy tale scene in Tarantino's "Inglorious Basterds"). If the entire Nazi leadership were gathered in one place. If Hitler and Eichmann, Heydrich and Goebbels, Goering and Himmler…If all the savages who ran the Third Reich were in the Reichstag Heil Hitlering, planning the destruction of the West, would we evaluate, deliberate, hesitate or would...Read more...

Don't worry about tomorrow, live for today

01/02/2020 03:01:47 PM

Jan2

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

This week, I was deeply saddened to find out about the tragic death of one of my colleagues, Rabbi Adam Feldman. At fifty-five years old, he was in many ways a carbon copy of me, only about twenty years ahead. Both homegrown conservative Jews, we grew up at Camp Ramah in the Poconos and served on the senior staff. We were both USY regional officers in the Hagesher region. We both served as assistant rabbis in large communities and went on to...Read more...

The Film clip

01/02/2020 02:55:58 PM

Jan2

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

He was a member of our shul and passed away a number of years ago. In the eulogy delivered, I shared the excitement of seeing him on YouTube playing a Miami cop in the Jerry Lewis comedy classic The Bellboy.

 

During the shiva his three children told me they never knew of his movie role, hearing of it for the first time in my graveside...Read more...

Dona, Dona

12/26/2019 11:00:18 AM

Dec26

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

I haven’t had a good cry in a while. But it happened when I was listening to Theodore Bikel’s Yiddish rendition of “Dona, Dona” while I was driving Haley to school. She’s become obsessed with listening to a version of Dayenu on Hankus Netsky’s (last year’s scholar in residence) Passover CD and has had me playing it on repeat. Finally, “Dayenu!” she let me listen to something else.   I doubt that many people of my...Read more...
Tue, April 7 2020 13 Nisan 5780