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Weekly Message

Who's Your Candidate?

It was two weeks of passion. Seventy five souls celebrated at Sushi & Scotch in the Sukkah (see pics here), we prayed with four holiday Minyan's including the prayer for rain and the Yizkor memorial service and we relished with Chavie’s incessant gourmet meals. Yet, more than that, it was about the love, enthusiasm and boundless energy. To hear joyous souls singing melodious Hallel tunes, to observe the regular attendees excitedly offering the Shul newcomers the opportunity to bless the Lulav & Etrog and to take note of the heartfelt L'Chaim's being shared on Simchat Torah, made my heart soar.

It was with this booming holiday oomph that I arrived Wednesday morning to lecture on Judaism at Montana's Bible College. I shared with the knowledge thirsty students that in this week's Torah portion, Bereishit, the first of the Five Books of Moses, we read about Adam, Eve and Noah. We are taught that G-d commanded Adam to follow six universal ideas and then added a seventh to Noah, known since as the Seven Noachide Laws. They are: 1) Acknowledge that there is only one G‑d. 2) Respect the Creator. 3) Respect human life. 4) Respect the institution of marriage. 5) Respect the rights and property of others. 6) Respect G‑d's creatures. 7) Maintain justice.

It’s Judaism's belief that if all of humanity incorporated these seven ideas, made it their own, the world would be at peace, clarity would reign supreme and senselessness would vanish. So Instead of debating your friends about deleted emails and hidden tax returns, instead of arguing about which political candidate is more corrupt, vulgar and dishonest, let's create conversations that matter. Let's have open dialogues with our fellow citizens about how we envision the worlds’ future and what each of us can do to create that reality. I am voting for the Adam/Noah ticket. 

Civility, love and G-dliness are spreadable; creating a win win for all!

 

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May He protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

Praying with Fire!

It was deep, raw, and heartwarming; standing at the podium, watching fellow Jews, souls aglow, eighteen hours into their fast and four hours into the Yom Kippur service, still praying with zest, sincerity and piety par excellence. My personal inspiration grew, as less than 24 hours after breaking the fast, a packed Shul of friends, family and Shul-mates gathered to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of Moshe Ben Sarah, Max Goodwin. On his 13th birthday, Max was gifted with a stunning pair of Tefillin and was called to the Torah. His mom, Dr. Sarah Bronsky, was Kvelling with Nachas as were his Bubby and Zaidy watching live from Utah.

The future is in our hands.

Interestingly, this week’s Torah portion, Ha’azinu, the section of Max’s Aliyah, we read “Remember the days of old; reflect upon the years of other generations. Ask your father, and he will tell you; your elders, and they will inform you.” Children aren’t raised in a vacuum. It is the obligation of those who came before them, those entrusted with these souls, to ensure their spiritual wellbeing. If our children can quote Shakespeare, but not Moses, we have a problem. If they know the songs of Justin Bieber, but not King David in Psalms, we have a problem. If they are familiar with the Supreme Court, but not the Heavenly Court, we have a problem. We must emulate Dr. Bronsky, and show our children, by shining example, what Yiddishkait looks like and what truly matters to us.

Sunday night we will usher in the joyous festival of Sukkot. We celebrate under the stars in our temporary chilly dwelling. The Sukkah is powerful because it’s a Mitzvah in which our entire being is immersed. It’s not my hand, mouth, head or foot fulfilling G-d’s command, but all of me. I believe that this is a vital message for Jewry: If we want the IGeneration to appreciate their heritage, to love their background and to know the Ten Commandments, it will only happen when they are shown, especially by their loved ones, an indisputable passion for Judaism. When we "are all in", when we're on fire about our faith and observance, they will catch fire as well and it will spread, G-d willing, out of control.

May it never extinguish! 

 

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May He protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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