December 8, 2023 |


The VIP party

I meet Jews all the time who want to identify themselves as Jews to me. I get it - I like my people, too. I have Jewish pride. But it would be a lot easier for them if we had a secret handshake or signal to distinguish them as a member of the tribe. You see, I look overtly Jewish, with my kippa...

Clouds of Glory

Jews are a little crazy. So it shouldn't really surprise us that we've decided to build flimsy huts and spend lots of time in them right as the cold fall weather moves in.[1] And it shouldn't surprise that we are waving palm fronds and exotic 'lemons' around either. Regarding both the dwelling in...

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) -- Sukkot 5770

This week's Torah reading is related to the festival of Sukkot which commences with Shabbat. We won't be shaking the lulav and etrog until the second day this year, just as we had to wait for the second day of Rosh Hashonah to hear the shofar. Instead we'll be reading about the Jewish calendar which...


In 1961, I was returning from my first trip to Israel. At JFK at that time, there was a balcony, with a glass wall, from which people could watch arriving passengers go through customs. My father z”l, the traditional conservative rabbi, watched as I went through the required interrogation. I was...

My video divrei Torah on Sukkot by Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg Koheleth Lulav a sukkah sukkah-Hannukah tie 70...

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) -- Chol Chamoed Sukkot

We're a Parshah away from concluding the Torah but we take a break from the normal schedule this Shabbat for Chol Hamoed Sukkot. Instead we read parts of chapters 33 and 34 of the book of Exodus. Why was this selected for our Shabbat reading? Part of the reason are two verses known as the...

Temporary Housing

As I prepare for the holiday of Sukkot, and I prepare to tell managers & coworkers why I'm taking yet another two days off in the middle of the week, and then another two days a week later, I have been trying to come up with a good explanation for the thing I've been building in my backyard. The...

Welcoming Visitors in the Synagogue

This Sukkot, we had the honor of hosting a relative who happens to be an esteemed rabbi and scholar. On the first day he wanted to get to shul at the start of services, a goal that I strongly support but don’t often achieve. So I sent him off, with etrog and lulav in hand, and a plan to connect a...


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