D'var Torah


Shabbat to Shabbat: Around the World Gala

Written by // Rabbi Bradley G. Levenberg Categories D'var Torah

I make a mean beignet.

I may not be able to swing a baseball bat or shoot a 3-pointer or run to the endzone but when it comes to making beignets I’ve got game.

It is a craft that I’ve been carefully curating for two decades and a skill that has been shared with precious few. It is how I became the most popular person in my hall at my undergraduate institution and it is how I wooed Rebecca. A few years ago I had the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to Café Du Monde in New Orleans, perhaps the most sacred ground for those of us who know and love the delicacies. (For those wondering, yes, it IS worth the two hour wait in line.) So I know beignets and, though I am humble in many areas of life, I know that I make a mean beignet.


Shabbat to Shabbat: Welcome Cantor Patti Linsky

Written by // Rabbi Ron M. Segal Categories D'var Torah

For many, this week saw the happy return of pizza, pasta, bread and other delicious, leavened carbohydrates following the conclusion of our Passover festival. Of the countless lessons we learn from our Seders and Passover observance each year, I personally find that the spiritual messages never fail to speak to me clearly and powerfully. For instance, one timeless teaching which is always in need of repeating reminds us that, just as we remove leavened products from our homes and diet, so, too, should we strive during Passover to remove those personal qualities which have become ‘puffed up’ within us – arrogance, narcissism, egotism, etc. Now that Passover has concluded, the invitation, of course, is that while we may resume consuming leavened foods, we should still strive to remain humble, gracious and compassionate in spirit.


Shabbat to Shabbat: Counting the Omer

Written by // Rabbi Samantha Shabman Categories D'var Torah

By now, we are in the trenches of our Matzah eating week. Personally, I am longing for Wonder Bread.

Wonder Bread reminds me of sleep away camp. Aside from slathering my bread with butter and 7 packets of sugar, I would also squash the bread into a big ball and eat it like an apple. Bread puffs up, its fluffy, there is air in it.


Shabbat to Shabbat: A Time to Ask Questions

Written by // Beth Schafer Categories D'var Torah

Passover: A time to ask questions and tell stories

Passover is our holiday of liberation and a time to ask questions, four to be exact. Why do we ask questions? To elicit answers, to tell stories. We explain the seder and retell the story of the Exodus from Egypt so that another generation will feel the importance of becoming a free people. At my seder table when the kids were little and even now, we had a tradition. To give the kids incentive to ask questions beyond the prescribed four, and to keep the storytelling as a central theme of our seder, we rewarded every question with a marshmallow. My marshmallow hurling skills got decent over the years and it was not uncommon to see marshmallows flying across the table to the engaged kids who asked us for information and begged us to tell stories of Passovers of old. 


Shabbat to Shabbat: Join Hands and March Together

Written by // Rabbi Samantha Shabman Categories D'var Torah

Today I was part of something amazing, the Atlanta Initiative Against Anti-semitism (AIAAS). A gathering of over 100 organizations, coming together to say NO to hatred. From leaders of AT&T and to Chick-fil-A, to school teachers, police officers, government officials, rabbis, cantors, reverends and beyond, we all sat together. We listened to one another, and spoke our minds. And ultimately we affirmed that injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. We built relationships, shared dreams, and imagined how together we can create a more tolerant society and world.  

A few days ago, I was sitting in Washington, DC, having similar conversation at the AIPAC Policy Conference. With thousands of people, we too imagined and dreamed about creating a more tolerant world...and insured that Israel will always be a part of this vision and process.  We again affirmed that injustice anywhere, is injustice everywhere.

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