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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?

 

Read more...

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.

 

Read more...

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.

Update this content.

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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...

Thank god for chanukah

12/26/2019 10:42:15 AM

Dec26

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

We might imagine that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the most popular holidays because of the attendance. At no other time during the year is the sanctuary and beyond so full. No other festival comes close. Perhaps Shabbos attendance in the annual aggregate surpasses the High Holidays but for a singular sanctuary moment it’s indisputably the Big Two.  And yet there is more to these demographics than pew...Read more...

 Holiday Heroes

12/18/2019 03:59:55 PM

Dec18

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

Every year I inevitably get an email from a concerned parent of a young child asking what to do about Santa Claus. Their child has asked them if Santa is real. Or, he or she is worried that Santa Claus won’t come to Jewish houses.

 

Forgetting for a moment that the modern day...Read more...

Death Tells a greater story than birth

12/18/2019 03:53:06 PM

Dec18

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

This week I celebrate another birthday. Thankfully, I am still dodging the Grim Reaper. I have not become a Dressler stat and am successfully medicating my aging body into healthy submission.

 

The Bible is an incredibly rich compendium of all knowledge. Whatever tidbit we seek, it is found in our Tanach, yet there is only one mention...Read more...

american judaism

12/12/2019 04:30:49 PM

Dec12

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

Earlier this week, I jet-setted up north to the United Synagogue/Rabbinical Assembly Convention in Boston. Keeping in mind W.H. Auden’s famous quote that “thou shalt not sit with statisticians,” here’s some quick food for thought related to future trends related to American Judaism:   1. I find fascinating, although not at all surprising, that not every person who belongs to a conservative synagogue identifies as a conservative...Read more...

The Bris

12/12/2019 04:24:53 PM

Dec12

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

He was perhaps the most famous mohel in history. He was not a Biblical personality nor did he achieve fame performing ritual circumcisions for the rich and famous. His name was Charles Levin and he died recently in Oregon at the age of seventy.

 

In 1993, he was catapulted into fame as the neurotic mohel on Seinfeld. I remember well the...Read more...

jacob's ladder

12/05/2019 12:38:21 PM

Dec5

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

 

This week a congregant shared with me an interpretation of the story of Jacob’s ladder that had to do with the survival of the Jewish people. According to the interpretation she heard, the angel moving up and down the ladder yet always surviving is symbolic of how we, the Jewish people, have endured throughout our history.

 Read more...

pride and the Middle east

12/05/2019 12:27:48 PM

Dec5

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

I love when self-righteous piety gets exposed as moral idiocy and bigotry.

 

What is the only country in the Middle East that has gay pride parades? Gay bars? Gay neighborhoods? Gay celebrities? Gay rights? The obvious answer is, of course, Israel. And yet, many in the progressive LGBTQ community despise Israel, discriminating against her, celebrating the Palestinian state.

 

It gets juicer. The...Read more...

"Boomers"

11/27/2019 11:56:39 AM

Nov27

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

Just in time your annual Thanksgiving argument, Liel Leibovitz penned an article in Tablet Magazine that places the blame for all of the challenges faced by contemporary Judaism squarely on baby boomers. Rifting on the now popular internet meme “Ok, Boomer,” he accuses boomers as being hypocritical and out of touch. Boomers, he writes, are experts on decrying the Jewish choices that their children fail to...Read more...

Giving thanks

11/27/2019 11:12:56 AM

Nov27

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

Her name was Yasmine. She was my Uber driver last week when I found myself in need of transportation. She pulled up to the house in a gray Toyota. I checked credentials. All was in order and off we went.

 

She was a beautiful woman, in her mid-twenties. Her dark hair was wrapped in a tidy kerchief and her outfit was quite stylish. We...Read more...

The Gift

11/21/2019 10:07:04 AM

Nov21

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

Sophia Becker and her husband Mordechai were at one time members of Congregation Etz Chaim. They lived in Indian Hills. They built a business here. Feeling a sense of affinity toward our community, it was therefore not a surprise that at that time, they purchased plots in the Etz Chaim section of Arlington Cemetery.

 

Mordechai passed...Read more...

The visitor and the cast

11/21/2019 09:46:40 AM

Nov21

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

She wished to meet with a rabbi to discuss the book of Prophets in the Bible. She was teaching a class in her church and wanted insight. We made an appointment. She showed up right on time. I welcomed her. She sat down with pad and pen and we began the Q and A.

 

Her questions were reasonable and well thought out. It was a pleasant chat...Read more...

Zionism and israel

11/14/2019 03:22:09 PM

Nov14

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

Quoting the Jewish satirist Ephraim Kishon, Israeli politician Yair Lapid wrote this past week that “The State of Israel wasn’t founded so that anti-Semitism would end. It was founded so that we could tell the anti-Semites to shove it.”

 

Why am I a Zionist? Why do I support the State of Israel? It’s not only because after...Read more...

todays anti-semitism

11/14/2019 03:13:37 PM

Nov14

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

This is the eightieth anniversary year of Kristallnacht arguably the official start of the Shoah. Jewish businesses were vandalized. Synagogues torched. Innocent Jews rounded up. This was raw, unapologetic anti-Semitism that ended in the destruction of European Jewry.

 

This assault was Kristal clear. Pathological. Savage. Today’s...Read more...

Challenges for Jewish families in the 21st century

11/07/2019 10:24:21 AM

Nov7

Rabbi Dan Dorsch

This week, I did something a little subversive. But first, a little background:

 

There is little question that the decision whether or not to send our children to school on festivals like Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, or Simchat Torah, let alone on the High Holy Days, is challenging for...Read more...

linguistic bond

11/07/2019 09:39:04 AM

Nov7

Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

It was a casual conversation about observance when in the appropriate context I mentioned the term licht benchin. My counterpart nodded as the banter smoothly continued. Our shared vocabulary required no explanation nor translation. We spoke the same language and our discussion flowed easily. But then I wondered and grew concerned. I had a linguistic bond with this person. A shared dictionary of memories. But what...Read more...

Wed, February 19 2020 24 Shevat 5780