Genesis 12 Adonai
said to Abram, “Go forth from your native land and from your
father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, And I
will bless you; I will make your name great, And you shall be a blessing. I will bless
those who bless you And curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth
Shall bless themselves by you.” Abram went forth as the God had commanded him,
and Lot went with him. Abram was seventyfive
Genesis 12 Adonai
The great sage Ben Zoma said: “Who is wise? The one who learns from everyone. Who is mighty? The one who controls his inclinations. Who is rich? The one who is happy with his portion. Who is honored? The one who honors others.” (Pirkei Avot 4:1) But Ben Zoma could have just said, “Who is wise? Dean Oja. Who is mighty? Dean Oja. Who is rich? Dean Oja. And who is honored? Dean Oja.”
Tonight we honor Dean as he retires after almost 20 years of service to Beth Am. You all know how hardworking, conscientious, kind, and extremely skillful...
Good evening ladies and gentlemen (Rabbi Marder, the host committee,
and especially Helene Lipton and Joanne Donsky. It is
truly special to be home, here in Beth Am, and it is
wonderful to be joined my so many of you who have
played such a sustaining role my life and that of my
I’m honored to be with you tonight, and to be able to
start an important conversation with you. I promise we
can talk about the media, but first I want to ask you
What do you...
In a book called H is for Hawk, Helen MacDonald describes a morning several years ago when she got up very early on a quest to see some wild birds. The area she visited, just north of Cambridge, is a protected domain set aside for endangered species, with a mix of pine forest and sandy heath. It’s one of the driest areas in England. Because of its harsh and desolate terrain, it’s called the Brecklands – literally, the broken lands.
She writes: “The day built itself. A sparrowhawk, light as a toy of balsa-wood…zipped past at knee level, kiting up...
Thank you for the introduction.
And thank you for being here tonight. I know that there are a lot of other places that you could be – it’s Sukkot for example and Shabbat dinner in a sukkah is really special. There is also a Beer Walk in downtown Los Altos tonight, Devil’s Canyon Brewery in San Carlos has its weekly food truck night on Fridays, there’s a concert at Shoreline, the Dodgers and Giants open the final series of the regular season, and as of this writing, the Giants still were not eliminated from mathematically eliminating the Dodgers from the...
On this Shabbat, after Yom Kippur and before Sukkot begins on Sunday night, I thought I’d share a story with you, an old Chassidic story from Eastern Europe. It’s a reminder of the importance of respecting our desire for solitude, and of our simultaneous human need for community and connection:
Everyone loved Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz. Wherever he went, he was surrounded. As he walked briskly to the synagogue early on Shabbat, his students would catch up to him to try to acquire a morsel of learning. As he sat in the synagogue praying, children would come and sit on...