I didn't want to get on the airplane. There was a meeting of the Central Conference of American Rabbis in New York City earlier this week, and because I am Vice President of the organization, I was supposed to be there. It would be the first time I had flown since September 11, and I was nervous. I talked to several people about how I was feeling. They all told me I was being irrational - that it was riskier to get in my car than to get on a plane, that this was probably the safest time to fly,...
I live in a Dream World.
I'm a Jewish Educator.
I fantasize about efficient, educative tzedakah collection.
I dream about a perfect Sunday Program Schedule.
I spend time imagining the best Judaica curriculum for fifth graders.
And I always expect other people
To get excited
about Jewish education too.
Every time other people laugh at my
When people aren't as excited as I am,
they often find my excitement
mysterious or amusing.
dreams about homemade-Haggadot?
Shanah Tovah. Good yontif.
My wife Jacqueline and I just celebrated our fifth anniversary. We marked the day as we usually do by going out for a nice dinner and a movie and then coming home to watch our wedding video.
Now, I did not even want a video made of our wedding. I didn't want the videographers swarming about--I thought it would take away from the experience. Every year as we sit enjoying the memories of that special day I'm reminded of how wrong I was.
The video is precious to us for a few reasons. It helps us...
One Congregant wrote an angry letter to the Rabbi.
The Congregant complained:
"No matter what I do, I cannot reach God.
I attend synagogue.
I bless before I eat. I even buy kosher food.
No matter how hard I pray,
I cannot get God to listen to me.
I cannot bring God into my life."
The Rabbi read this letter with intense concentration and then returned it.
When the Congregant opened the envelope, he saw red.
With a red pen, the Rabbi had...
An old Yiddish proverb says, "Men tracht un Got lacht." Freely translated, it means "the best way to make God laugh is to tell Her your plans." Like many Yiddish proverbs, it has its funny side, but there's an edge to it. It recognizes that the universe is still in many ways impenetrable. We can chart the structure of the genome; we can chart the courses of the stars; but we can't come close to mapping out the future. We make our plans; we strategize and build and set up structures of meaning, and then life comes along and blows...
Each year about 2,300,000 people die in the United States. Each year, about 4 million babies are born. "At the moment of birth," writes Russell Baker, "each tiny howler is all potential. He may become Socrates; she, Cleopatra. She may become Catherine the Great; he, Al Capone. Anything is possible at the instant these new people greet the world. Each new life begins an exploration to discover what its potential may be....When reading an obituary we have turned to the end of the book to see how it comes out. Death is the end of all that awesome potential that...