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History

SOME THOUGHTS FOR ELUL 9/8/2014 03:10 PM

The month of Elul has always been portrayed as a time of introspection. As we prepare for the coming good and blessed year of 5775, we should also stop to consider the occurrences and events of the past year, 5774. Like most of life, it was a year of contrasts and mixed messages. Israel and the Palestinian Authority negotiated for most of the year but any sort of meaningful agreement failed to...

BACK TO SCHOOL 9/2/2014 01:47 PM

This week marks the return of millions of our children to the regular routine of school. The yeshivot and seminaries of this and other countries have also begun their classroom schedules and study patterns. I think that even though we can all agree that school today is a very necessary part of our society, nevertheless we are also all aware that school contains a downside as well. Not all...

A STIFF-NECKED PEOPLE 8/17/2014 01:48 PM

The Jewish nation is described in the Torah as being a stiff- necked people. In the context of that particular Torah discussion this description of the people of Israel is not necessarily a complimentary one. It refers to the stubbornness of the generation of the desert of Sinai and their rebellious nature in constantly refusing to abide by God’s will and to accept Moshe’s authority and...

FECKLESSNESS AND UNWISDOM 7/28/2014 01:38 PM

In Winston Churchill's epic six-volume memoir of the Second World War, in the first volume entitled “The Gathering Storm,” he wrote of the British foreign policy of the 1930s as follows: “[The later disaster was caused by] the English-speaking peoples, [who] through their unwisdom, carelessness and good nature, allowed the wicked to rearm." A good nature is a necessity for personal...

IMPERFECT DEMOCRACY 7/21/2014 12:54 PM

Winston Churchill once famously said that “democracy is a terrible system of government but it is better than any other system.” The irony of that statement has been borne out by the past events of this last century and by current events. It is true that Hitler ruled as a megalomaniac dictator. However, his rise to power was by democratic means and through electoral success. Once in...

WHO WILL GO FOR US? 7/7/2014 12:26 PM

In the great vision that the prophet Isaiah witnessed in Heaven at the onset of his immortal prophetic career, he heard a voice that asked: “Who shall I send and who will go for us?" That verse in Isaiah has always been a marker for me as to how to judge Jewish leaders and other people of note. There are moments in life and in history when that question reverberates throughout the Jewish...

A GENERATION DEPARTS 6/16/2014 12:43 PM

Time inexorably does its work. King Solomon ruefully pointed out that “Generations come and generations leave and yet the earth itself eternally remains.” The generation that experienced World War II and the Holocaust Jews who lived through it is rapidly departing from our midst. At the seventieth D-Day commemorative ceremonies two weeks ago very few actual participants in that great venture...

PRAYING FOR PEACE 6/9/2014 11:54 AM

The much heralded public prayer for peace and reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority took place this week at the Vatican in Rome. The event was hosted and sponsored by Pope Francis and included the participation of religious leaders and official clergy of the three main monotheistic faiths. But the main stars of the event were Shimon Peres, Mohammed Abbas and naturally, the...

GREAT-GRANDFATHERHOOD 6/2/2014 01:14 PM

After a very long and busy tour of the United States on behalf of Destiny Foundation I was finally scheduled to return to Israel and my beloved congregation. But my granddaughter in New York gave birth to a baby boy a few days before my scheduled departure to Israel. Faced with a difficult decision as to whether to stay for the brit or not, I thought to myself: “There are many rabbis around...

IT IS ALWAYS OUR FAULT 5/19/2014 01:44 PM

Part of the fallout from the ill-starred negotiations that recently ended in failure is that somehow blame for this failure cannot be laid at the door of the facilitator, the American State Department and its Secretary of State, but rather it must be assigned to the participants themselves. Originally, President Obama seemed to be even- handed in blaming both participants for the failure of this...