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Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

In My Opinion

CAUSE AND EFFECT 6/26/2016 12:38 AM

An article entitled: “What’s wrong with Conservative Judaism?” appeared in a recent issue of the Jerusalem Report magazine. This article was authored by Myron M. Fenster, the Rabbi Emeritus of the Shelter Rock Jewish Center of Roslyn, New York, a leading Conservative congregation. As the title of the article indicates, the movement is in trouble due to a dramatic decrease in its number of...

RABBI CHAIM ZELIG FASMAN 6/19/2016 02:31 PM

My beloved friend and study partner from my yeshiva days in Chicago, Rabbi Chaim Zelig Fasman, passed away recently. I was really brought up very short and greatly distressed at learning of his passing. Even though seventy years and the space of great continents separated us, one never forgets or is really distant from one’s learning partner – we studied together on a daily basis for nine...

SUMMERTIME 6/12/2016 03:13 PM

No matter what official calendars may say, there is no question that the summer has arrived here in Israel. We have had quite a number of hot spells already and there will undoubtedly be many more over the coming months. Summer generally has become synonymous with leisure, vacations, trips and a more relaxed view of life. Naturally, there are always uncertain events, completely unpredictable...

SHAVUOT 6/5/2016 12:27 PM

Although there is no really accurate way to measure the relative importance of the holidays of the Jewish calendar year, I think that we can all agree that the holiday of Shavuot appears to be the least dramatic of them all. The Torah describes it as an agricultural feast day commemorating the grain harvest and the greening of the first fruits of the season as an offering in the Temple in...

MACHERS 5/29/2016 01:00 PM

Because of the constantly creeping overreach of government into all areas of our lives, a new industry was created here in Israel – and certainly not only in Israel but in every other country and political system in the world. Here in Israel, people who are engaged full time in this industry are called “machers.” Loosely translated from the original Yiddish, the word connotes people who are...

NORMALCY 5/22/2016 03:12 PM

One of the most difficult standards to judge or even define is what is considered normal behavior. We all aspire to a sense of normalcy and in fact we wish to live him a society that is considered normal. The problem is how do we judge normalcy? What was abnormal or even abhorrent behavior just a few decades ago is today within the realm of acceptability. So, there is no doubt that any...

BOOKS Redux 5/18/2016 02:03 PM

A dear friend of mine recently immigrated here to Israel and Jerusalem. As is the case with almost all Western immigrants to our wonderful little country, he was forced to downsize. We all somehow learned to live here in apartments and houses half the size of those that we inhabited in the "old home." To those of us who are bibliophiles, this presents an especially painful problem. We...

MEMORIAL DAYS 5/5/2016 03:50 PM

The last days of April and the beginning days of May are days of memory and remembrance here in Israel. The last Monday in May is Memorial Day in the United States. Official days of remembrance are the feeble attempts of nations and governments to somehow strengthen and revitalize national memory. They recall for us difficult times, great human sacrifice and always attempt to teach a lesson from...

IT IS CLOSING DOWN 5/2/2016 03:12 PM

One of the great cardinal errors of early Zionism was its complete negation of the millennia old Exile and the achievements of the Jews in that Exile. The early Zionist leaders did not stress the spiritual, national and psychological allure of the Land of Israel as much as they emphasized the shortcomings of Jewish life in the lands of Jewish dispersion. This philosophy generated a great deal of...

PESACH 4/17/2016 12:49 PM

Aside from the actual lessons and topics regarding freedom from bondage and the emergence of the national identity of the Jewish people, Pesach conveys to us the wonders of the natural seasons of the year here in Israel. The great Song of Songs of King Solomon occupies a place of honor in the synagogue service of the holiday and recorded in that most holy work are recorded colorful descriptions...