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Showing posts from June, 2008

You Don't Mess with the Zohan

Ok I admit it. I have seen Adam Sandler's new movie "You Don't Mess with the Zohan." It was a great laugh. There was no great message, no insightful sermon material, except it is good to laugh out loud. Part of what was so funny is that the premise is absurd--all Israelis and Palestinians have to do to make peace is move to Amerika, cut and style hair, fight corporate greed, fall in love and make love--a lot. It reminded me of the outrageous short film, West Bank Story . Nonetheless it is healthy to laugh out loud and not take yourself too seriously all the time--at least in a darkened movie theatre. I also enjoyed how much Israeli music was featured in the film. I am a big fan of Israeli hip hop, especially the popular group HaDag Nahash (Snake Fish). I thought you would enjoy the YouTube video of the song " Hene Ani Ba " (Here I Come) featured in the movie. Also be sure to check out the group's classic song, " Shirat HaStiker " (The Sticker

Counting Our Blessings

Hadassah Magazine June/July 2008 Commentary: Counting Our Blessings The Talmud teaches that a person who enjoys the pleasures of this world without reciting a blessing is like a thief who steals from God (Berakhot 35a). So the rabbis composed blessings for every imaginable event. Some are familiar, such as Ha-motzi on bread or the Sheheheyanu we recite on momentous occasions. Others are less familiar: on seeing a rainbow or the ocean or hearing thunder. We can even express gratitude for the fragrance of a rose.... I followed the rabbis’ counsel at Sam’s bar mitzva. An autistic boy with significant special needs, Sam fidgeted about the bima, picking at his talis, which agitated him at times. In lieu of a sermon, he read brief explanations of drawings of the Torah portion. Still, he touched the tzitzit to the exact place in the Torah and then recited the aliya blessing from memory. The congregation sang “Siman Tov,” but it did not seem appropriate to wish him the threefold hope of Jew

Masters of Our Own Fate

Hadassah Magazine May 2008 Commentary: Masters of Our Own Fate This month, the State of Israel is celebrating its 60th birthday, and most Jews have grown accustomed to the nation’s existence. One day when I was teaching the kin­dergartners in my synagogue school, I asked them, “How old do you think Israel is?” “A thousand years.” “Oh, no,” I said. “Five thousand years?” They kept shouting out higher numbers. When I finally told them the correct answer, they stared at me in disbelief. I explained how the history of Israel is ancient, but the state is very young. I told them that some of their great-grandparents fought to make Israel an independent nation. Do we take Israel for granted? I hope not, since only in Israel can our freedom be wed to our ancient land. Only in Israel do Jewish rights and history come first and foremost.... Last summer, on one erev Shabbat, I strolled down the trendy Emek Refaim Street in Je­ru­salem. The day was winding down. There was very little traffic. Peo