Sukkot: Seeing Double

September 23, 2010 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
This week’s d’var Torah is sponsored by Gershon and Leah Vandenbrink with best wishes for a joyous Sukkot. 
In rabbinic literature, Sukkot is known simply as “Chag,” (the holiday), implying that it is the holiday par excellence. It is the most joyous of holidays both thematically and experientially. It is our z’man simchateinu, the time of our happiness.  In Temple times it was marked by the ...
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Yom Kippur: Just a Minute

September 18, 2010 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Parsha Thoughts: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The death of the righteous atones, our Sages teach, and it is for this reason that during Mussaf of Yom Kippur, just after recounting the special service done in the Temple, we read of the deaths of the “ten martyrs” so cruelly murdered by the Romans."They [the Romans] ordered the Rabbi Chananya ben Tradeyon be brought from his study hall, and they burned his body with bundles of branches. They placed saturated wool sponges on his chest to delay...
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Rosh Hashanah: The Right Focus

September 09, 2010 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Holiday Thoughts
“On Rosh Hashanah, it is written; and on Yom Kippur, it is sealed, who shall live and who shall die…” (Machzor). It is doubtful that there is a more powerful, emotional or poignant part of the davening on the yamim noraim than the recital of Unetaneh Tokef. The haunting tune sets the mood of the day, while the stark words highlight the fragility of life. If we are successful in taking its words to heart, we will be...
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The Morning After

September 02, 2010 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Money Matters
The High Holiday period is one (we hope!) filled with introspection, reflection and a commitment to try to become a better person. Our religious antennae are at their highest point as we spend the day in prayer and fasting. For many, it is the only time of the year that any significant amount of time is spent in communal prayer. It is a day in which we focus on the fragility of life, remembering those who are no longer and pleading that we be...
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Time to Share

July 05, 2010 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman Category: Money Matters
Bill Gates and Warren Buffet recently announced the launch of the “Giving Pledge” campaign, asking that all billionaires in America donate at least 50% of their wealth to charity—and to publicly outline their intentions with a written letter—during their lifetimes or upon their deaths. On June 16th, four families took up the challenge, publicly announcing their intent to do exactly that. Eli Broad, pledging to give away 75 percent of...
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