And you shall tell the story…

There are three essential mitzvoth of Passover: the removal of Chametz (made from one of five types of grains – wheat, barley, spelt, rye, & oats – mixed with water), eating Matzah, and telling the story of our ancestor’s liberation.  Of the three mitzvoth, ‘telling the story of our ancestor’s liberation’, may seem unnecessary – isn’t it obvious that we are going to tell the story anyway?  After all, its narrative serves as an instigator of Jewish memory and ritual. Continue reading

THE JEWISH LENS HIRES RABBI LEOR SINAI AS FIRST EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The Jewish Lens announced today the hiring of Rabbi Leor J. Sinai as its first Executive Director. The Jewish Lens is a non-profit educational organization that uses the photography of Zion Ozeri as a stimulus for exploring Jewish values, identity, and tradition. The ground-breaking curriculum program has been taught in more than 100 educational institutions throughout the U.S. and Israel. Continue reading

Tough Decisions…

Tradition teaches us that Moses ascended onto Mount Sinai on the first of Elul, forty days later the People of Israel received the Torah. Throughout these forty days the Israelites’ faith was tested, their level of spiritual connectivity and faith weakened by their unanswered cries to Moses and to God – in a way mirroring God’s unanswered cries to God’s People. Continue reading

Sh’lach L’cha (Numbers 13:1)

Send yourself forth.

A year ago this week’s Torah portion Sh’lach L’cha (Numbers 13:1) was my younger son, Cahlev Aharon’s Brit Milah. I dedicate these words to him and all of our children as they begin to crawl, walk, and at the blink of an eye – send themselves forth.

The Torah portion describes the account of Bnei Yisrael’s, the Children of Israel’s next step forward. At Sinai they already received the Ten Commandments and its divine inspiration resulting in partnership with Adonai, our Gd. Continue reading

A time for reflective liberation – Happy Passover!

Today, Jews from New York to Jerusalem and across the world, have their eye on the next few hours. It is around this time of the year that we go through old items, consider opportunities, conduct some spring cleaning around the house, and look forward to the changing of the seasons. Pesach, Passover, is on our minds. Our families and friends all gathering, coming together, a time when we all reach out – all planning for the communal festival of liberation and for the changes that lie ahead. Continue reading

Self Reflection

The vision I have of the rabbinate has grown out my diverse upbringing and exposure to Jewish life in the United States and Israel. Judaism and Israel have always played a role in my life and influenced my decision making process. As a child I attended a Hebrew Day school and was involved in other youth group activities. Throughout adulthood these experiences continue to evolve in the course of my association with various organizations and causes. Through it all there was one principal I always carry with me – Klal Yisrael. I never lost site of the value of communal inclusion among the Jewish People. Continue reading

Happy Tu B’shvat – 5769

In the midst of environmental, financial, and political uncertainties – today is Tu B’shvat – the New Year of the Trees.

It is a time when vegetation all around is awakening from dormancy, shaking off the dust and beginning to stretch, mother earth is preparing herself for another cycle of creation and life. It’s nothing new, though every year it seems to come “just at the right time”; where the winter season has us scrambling for warmth, this time of the year brings us optimism and hope. Continue reading