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Israel’s Holidays and the Counting of the Omer

05/09/2019 11:58:56 AM

May9

On the second night of Pesach we began performing a curious Biblical mitzvah – the counting of the Omer. Omer means a measure of raw grain and refers to both the barley and the wheat growing seasons in ancient Israel. We count 49 days between Pesach and Shavuot – historically, the time between our escaping from Egypt and the receiving of the Torah. The beginning of the period of the Omer is the barley harvest, and the wheat harvest begins...Read more...

 Yom HaShoah and Chabad: The Lessons of Tragedy and Loss

05/01/2019 04:09:23 PM

May1

We are in mourning this week, from past and recent trauma. Yom HaShoah, the day on our Jewish calendar dedicated to remembering and learning from the Holocaust, is the 27th of Nisan, which corresponds to May 2. Jewish communities everywhere are holding commemorations and ours will be 7:00 pm Thursday evening at Ner Tamid. We are also shocked, outraged and bereaved by the tragedy perpetrated on Chabad of Poway last Shabbat. Lori Kaye, z”l,...Read more...

Parshat Tazria: The Torah as Medical Textbook

04/03/2019 06:00:14 PM

Apr3

 

Parshat Tazria is famous for its detailed clinical descriptions of various types of skin lesions and recommendations for both communal and spiritual remedies. There is no aspect of life too disgusting or messy for our holy Torah. In addition to being the story of our ancestors’ personal encounter with God, the Torah is concerned with how to create a just, loving and healthy society. The leadership of the priests was not...Read more...

Parshat Shemini: What’s Wrong With Pigs, Anyway?

03/27/2019 08:50:07 PM

Mar27

The last third of Parshat Shemini is an extensive list of animals the Israelites are either permitted or forbidden to eat.  Specific animals are named, as well as physical characteristics that can help identify which animals to eat. NO REASON IS GIVEN!   Many people through the centuries, including all of the rabbinic Torah commentators, have speculated about the reasons for these restrictions.  It is popular to view the...Read more...

Musical Commentary on the Limits of Leadership – Parshat Tzav

03/20/2019 02:04:38 PM

Mar20

At Purim we are taught to turn our usual world upside down. In the spirit of Purim I would like to consider how the music of Torah can be a form of non-verbal commentary. In this week’s Parsha, the Tabernacle is finished and there is nothing left but to consecrate and install Aaron and his sons as the priests and the High Priest. Moses robes his brother in special garments, anoints him with oil and makes the various sacrifices appropriate...Read more...

Parshat Vayikra -  Hearing a Voice Out Of Silence

03/13/2019 04:01:27 PM

Mar13

This week I drove up to Los Angeles to attend my Talmud class in person at the Academy for Jewish Religion. Normally I am a long-distance student, and I participate in class through a videochat platform called ZOOM. However, this week was the first week that we would be studying b’chevruta, in pairs or small groups – and I wanted to be there in person. I stayed overnight with a friend in Orange County, but still had to get up and be on...Read more...

What’s In a Name?   Pekudei and Vayakhel

03/07/2019 01:04:06 PM

Mar7

Parshayot Pekudei and Vayakhel are often read together. This year we read them separately because it is a Jewish leap year – a year with two months of Adar. These two sections of Torah are linked by more than just proximity. As a matter of fact, some commentators suggest that the two names seem to have switched places!

 

Parshat Vayakhel reviews each of the...Read more...

Parshat Vayahkel  Wisdom of the Heart

02/27/2019 03:59:00 PM

Feb27

In Parshat Vayakhel, we are given a vision of an entire community engaged in artistic craftsmanship. Two chief designer-artists are named: Bezalel and Oholiab, who are given the task of executing God’s instructions for building the Mishkan – the desert Sanctuary. Not only must they engineer a method of construction that can be assembled or dismantled in one day and be fully portable – every piece of it must be exquisitely made and...Read more...

Parashat Ki Tissa: Let me see your face?

02/22/2019 01:51:45 PM

Feb22

After Moses has won forgiveness from God for the sin of the Golden Calf, God begins to travel
with the people in the form of a cloud. Moses goes into a special tent to speak to God “…as one
man speaks to another”. At these times the people can see the cloud descend and envelope the
tent and they know God is near. In one of these encounters, Moses asks “Oh let me behold
Your Presence!” God says “…you cannot see My...Read more...

Cantor's Corner: Valentine's Day

02/13/2019 05:55:43 PM

Feb13

Cantors Corner February 14

 

Valentine’s Day Is Not A Jewish Holiday….

 

But we can’t escape it, can we? Valentine’s Day has both pagan and Christian origins. Just as Judaism took a pagan holiday such as the fall harvest festival, overlaid it with Jewish historical and spiritual content and created Sukkot – the Christians similarly transformed popular pagan holidays. The legend of St....Read more...

Cantor’s Corner Parshat Beshallach

01/17/2019 10:49:30 AM

Jan17

Shabbat Shira – The Sabbath of Song and Musical Archaeology

This Shabbat we will hear the chanting of the Shirat HaYam – The Song of the Sea.  The Shira is written in a style of Hebrew much older than the rest of the book of Shemot/Exodus. Most scholars consider it the oldest surviving text describing the Exodus from Egypt.  Additionally, the special melody used when it is chanted is considered the oldest surviving piece...Read more...

Parshat Bo

01/09/2019 05:22:19 PM

Jan9

 

This week’s parsha begins with God speaking to Moses, saying “Go again to Pharaoh….”  The word “Bo”, meaning “Go”, is in the command verb form.  This moment echoes the moment in the book of B’reishit when God says to Abraham “Lech Lecha”, meaning “Go Forward! You!”.  Lech comes from the verb “to walk” and Bo means “go” or “come”.  The verbs are different but the command...Read more...

Cantor’s Corner December 20, 2018

12/19/2018 05:19:38 PM

Dec19

Welcoming the Stranger – 3,000 Years Ago And Right Now!

The current immigration crisis on the Mexican border is a hugely divisive issue that inflames opinions and emotions.  Exaggeration and “catastrophizing” are common to all side of the debate.  

Our Torah tell us 36 times to “welcome the stranger”.  This commandment is repeated more times than any other commandment in the Torah.  The...Read more...

Joseph and Chanukah – Assimilation and Intermarriage  

12/12/2018 05:19:00 PM

Dec12

The stories about Joseph in the Torah that we are reading during these weeks address surprisingly contemporary themes.  Assimilation is on our minds at this time of year.   How much of Christmas to tolerate or allow in to our lives?  For example, do you correct people who say “Merry Christmas” to you?  Do you go to Christmas parties or share the holiday with non-Jewish family or friends or politely decline? ...Read more...

Pirsum Ha-Nes – Publicizing the Miracle

12/05/2018 05:27:10 PM

Dec5

The Talmud discussion about the proper way to light Chanukah lights seems to have a definite agenda.  The spiritual goal of all the debate about how many lights on which night, what kind of wicks, what kind of oil, where to put the candelabra – menorah or Chanukiah –is to publicize the miracle of the oil.  This may be a surprise to many.  Most of us are focused on the lighting itself, the beauty of the light for its own...Read more...

Is Thanksgiving a Jewish Holiday?

11/21/2018 06:18:42 PM

Nov21

In their search for religious freedom, the Puritans viewed their journey to America as a mirror image of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. England was Egypt, the king was Pharaoh, the Atlantic Ocean their Red Sea, and the Puritans were the Israelites, entering into a new covenant with God in a new Promised Land. In fact, most of the Puritans had Hebrew names and there was even a proposal to make Hebrew the language of the...Read more...

Cantor Bromberg’s Remarks at POINT Thanksgiving Service, November 14, 2018Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, Poway

11/14/2018 06:04:13 PM

Nov14

 

I am so grateful for the honor to address YOU – grateful for the effort each one of you went through to be here – from putting it on your calendar, to parking just a few minutes ago.  Grateful to POINT for organizing this event and to the Poway Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints for hosting us this evening.

As a representative of the Jewish community I was deeply touched and grateful for the love...Read more...

Parshat Toledot Esau

11/09/2018 07:56:34 AM

Nov9

 

In Parshat Toledot Esau sells his birthright to Jacob for food when he is “dying” of hunger.  Then later Jacob also gets the blessing of the firstborn by tricking his father with his mother’s help.  These two things together seem to be an inheritance which is irretrievably lost to Esau.  He is effectively disinherited.

Esau becomes part of the line of Ishmael – marrying one of his daughters. ...Read more...

Parshat Chayeh Sarah – Judaism’s Loving Approach to Loss

11/01/2018 12:00:00 AM

Nov1

Although our parsha this week is called “The Life of Sarah”, it tells the story of her death.  This story teaches us the importance of our conduct upon the loss of a loved one – our mourning practices establish our presence and dignity as a people.   This horrible and painful week, we have been shocked, bereaved, have mourned, have reached out and been answered by people of faith and hope and have taken action.  We...Read more...

Sun, July 21 2019 18 Tammuz 5779