Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Elie Wiesel: Mentor and Teacher of Generations Elie Wiesel was a soul on fire. The spiritual intensity of his Chassidic upbringing permeated and fashioned the core of his being. Like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, Wiesel was one of those rare and exceptional individuals who became living legends during their...

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Steven Spielberg’s Antisemitic Childhood Steven Spielberg is a living cinematic legend. He also carries with him to this day the scars of an antisemitic adolescence. When Spielberg was a teenager, his parents divorced, and Spielberg moved with his mother to San Jose. It was during his last year of high...

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

The Torah of Lebron James Last Sunday, millions of people throughout the world watched the world-renowned basketball player LeBron James frying (Steph) Curry around dinner time, thereby winning Cleveland its first ever NBA championship. Over the years, LeBron alienated some people and became a controversial figure. Setting this aside, I...

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Judaism: The Never-Dying Empire of Eternity Paul Kennedy, a distinguished Yale scholar, wrote a fabulous book about the “Rise and Fall of Great Powers.” In this book, Kennedy’s essential argument is that superpowers tend to disintegrate because of “iron and gold”, i.e. – because of a paucity of fundamental material...

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

On Books The greatest living Hebrew writer is the Israeli novelist Amos oz. In his memoirs, Oz writes that his father (Dr. Yehudah-Arieh Klausner Z”L) was a man “horny for books” . According to his son, Dr. Klausner was a man existentially stimulated by books. The author’s father would sensuously...

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

The Tragedies of Theodor Herzl Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), is remembered as the man who created the organizational and political infrastructure of the Zionist cause, culminating in the establishment of the State of Israel, some four and a half decades after his death. Herzl led a brief and volatile existence. Tragically,...

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Love Your Neighbor: Utopia or a Realistic Goal? Rabbi Akiba, a great second century sage, privileged the mitzvah of “Love your neighbor as you love yourself, I am G-d” (Leviticus 19:18), which appears in our parahsha, as one of the cornerstones of Jewish theology. Maimonides followed suit in his halachic...

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

From Jackie Slutske With Love Dear friends, some eight days ago our synagogue lost a beloved and esteemed member of our community, the late Jackie Slutske. Prior to her death, Jackie wrote down her own spiritual legacy and life vision for her family and for all of us. It was...

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Two Threats to the Jewish People In the Passover Haggadah, which we read last week, a somewhat crypt phrase reads in the Hebrew as follows: “Arami oved avi.” There are two ways to understand this verse. One way is “An Aramite sought to destroy my father.” This reading reminds us...

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

We Are The Children Jewish spirituality has always been captivated by the mystery and majesty of the development of self. As we prepare to leave Egypt in the Torah, Moses’s speech to the people does not address the wars ahead, nor the great rendezvous with destiny on Mount Sinai, but...

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