Torah Portion

Model of leadership in the Torah    

Posted on: May 31, 2018 | 17 Sivan 5778 by Special to the Chronicle

The 38th weekly Torah portion, “Korach,” tells the story of a rebellion against Moses, led by a man named Korach. What can we learn from Korach? A small child measures everything by how it makes him or her feel, how it satiates their momentary needs.  Fulfill their desires and you’re “my friend.”  Spurn them, and you’re not. […]

When G-d asked if we accepted the Torah

When G-d asked if we accepted the Torah

Posted on: May 2, 2018 | 17 Iyyar 5778 by Special to the Chronicle

  The Talmud (Shabbat 88a) tells a version of how the Israelites accepted Torah at Sinai.  Based on the description of our people standing under Mount Sinai (Ex. 19:17), we learn that in fact, G-d held the mountain up over the Israelites and asked whether we accepted Torah, with a clear implication that if we […]

One of the oddest items in the Torah: strange fire

Posted on: April 3, 2018 | 18 Nisan 5778 by Special to the Chronicle

Parshat Shemini Leviticus 9:1 – 11:47 On April 14, a week after the end of Passover, the parshah contains one of the oddest and most inexplicable narrative episodes in the Torah – the episode of the “strange fire.” The entire book of Leviticus is mostly a handbook to the priests and Levites about how to […]

Parshat Ki Tisa: What is good leadership?

Posted on: March 1, 2018 | 14 Adar 5778 by Special to the Chronicle

Parshat Ki Tisa: What is good leadership? In this parsha, we find the story of the Golden Calf and Aaron’s role in its construction. Moses has been at the top of Mount Sinai receiving the Torah for a long time, and the Israelites are starting to get nervous. They want protection and reassurance, so they […]

7th graders built sukkah, found much more

Posted on: February 23, 2018 | 8 Adar 5778 by Special to the Chronicle

When Milwaukee Jewish Day School students Levi Gottlieb and Noah Bernstein spoke at the Milwaukee Jewish Federation board meeting in October, they delivered this D’var Torah. Hello, my name is Levi. And my name is Noah. And we are seventh graders from MJDS. This week there is a special parsha. It is special because it […]

The promise beneath the snow

The promise beneath the snow

Posted on: December 27, 2017 | 9 Tevet 5778 by Special to the Chronicle

  One of the many reasons I was delighted to move to Milwaukee from South Florida was that I missed the four seasons. Here in Milwaukee we certainly have the full spread of seasons. Sometimes it feels like we have all four even in one week! As I write this Dvar Torah, I look out […]

Rabbi: Jacob’s deceit and struggle

Rabbi: Jacob’s deceit and struggle

Posted on: November 28, 2017 | 10 Kislev 5778 by Special to the Chronicle

  This commentary is for Vayishlach (“and he sent Messengers”), Genesis 32: 23-43. A portion of parshat Vayishlach, is about Jacob and his struggles. In many ways he was very much like us. There certainly is much for us to learn from him. Jacob deceived his father, Isaac, into giving him the blessing that was supposed […]

When values are in conflict, as Americans or as Jews

When values are in conflict, as Americans or as Jews

Posted on: November 1, 2017 | 12 Heshvan 5778 by Special to the Chronicle

  The Torah portion for the week the Chronicle is published is parashat Vayeira  and it is one of my favorites and indeed one of my sermons for Yom Kippur this year, focused on the word that titles the parasha: vayeira. This year for the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe, I focused my teaching […]

The sukkah: A sign of tomorrow’s joy

The sukkah: A sign of tomorrow’s joy

Posted on: October 2, 2017 | 12 Tishri 5778 by Special to the Chronicle

The past few weeks have been difficult. Amid our soul-searching over Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we continued to hope, pray and aid those who suffered loss of life and property due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. We also continue to pray for those who were injured and mourn for those who were killed in […]

How do you want to be Jewish?

How do you want to be Jewish?

Posted on: June 30, 2017 | 6 Tammuz 5777 by Special to the Chronicle

  In this month’s Torah readings, we are ending our journey of 40 years in the desert. The Israelites had 40 extra years, initially as punishment, but also as an opportunity to transition from an enslaved people to a free people in our own homeland. This is one of many transitions we have been through […]