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 code, and added that this […]

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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 read out loud at her […]

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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 of the way in which […]

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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 rather – Moses  speaks to […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

An Open Letter to Our Children Before every High Holiday and Passover season, Mrs. Neda Mehdizadeh spearheads the wonderful mitzvah of sending a care package to all of our college students. In addition, she also honors me with the opportunity to write a few words to our students. I am sharing with you here my […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

                                     Words that Heal, Words that Kill In Judaism, words are holy and sacred. The world was created by Divine speech, teaches us the opening chapter of the Torah.  Words are big in Jewish spirituality. So much so, that the concluding book of the Torah is actually called “Words” (“Devarim”). Moreover, in the opening paragraph […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

 The Jews of Spain: From Tragedy and Adversity to Triumph and Greatness 48 Hours ago, on Thursday 3/31, historically conscious Jews commemorated the 524th anniversary of the royal edict/decree issued by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, which announced the expulsion of all Spanish Jews who refused to convert to Christianity. The expulsion from Spain constitutes […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

The AIPAC Conference: Unity and Solidarity Eighteen thousand people congregated in Washington DC earlier this week, in order to send a clear and unequivocal message: “We stand with Israel”. The crowd was a veritable collage of American ethnicities and diverse backgrounds. In addition to numerous Jewish-Americans, the crowd also included Hispanic, African-American, and overall Christian […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

From Death to Exceeding Life Israel Krystal lives in the city of Haifa in Israel. Israel is a Holocaust survivor. During the Holocaust, Israel lost his wife and two children. He survived Auschwitz, and weighed only 82 pounds upon liberation. At that point, he was a walking skeleton. After the war, Israel moved to the […]

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Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

Everybody Counts When I was in kindergarten, the teacher spoke to us on Yom Hashoah about the holocaust. How do you explain the systematic dehumanization that took place in Nazi occupied Europe to a group of young children? My kindergarten teacher told us during circle time, ”The Nazis ordered people: Forget your name!” I found […]

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