Dear Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel Family, This Shabbat, one week after joyfully celebrating Shavuot, we find ourselves in a somber mood. During Shavuot, we rejoice as we remember G-d’s gift of the Torah on Mount Sinai seven weeks after our freedom from slavery and exodus from Egypt. We also recount the joys of the first […]

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Our Mission in Life

This Shabbat’s haftarah concludes with the Jewish spiritual mission statement in this world: “And I shall betroth You forever, and I shall betroth You with righteousness and law, and with loving-kindness and with mercy, and I shall betroth You in faith, and You shall know G-d”. In other words, in order to wed G-d, in […]

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Helping out the Spiritually Needy

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902-1994), also known as the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, was one of the greatest figures in Jewish history. Several years after the Nazis searched out, and murdered every third Jew in the world in hate, the Rebbe vowed to search out, and reach out to every Jew in love. When the Rebbe […]

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Always with God

Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapiro was a soul on fire. The intensity of his spiritual vigor permeated the core of his being. Also known as the Piaseczna Rebbe, this towering Chassidic master was as close as we get in Judaism to proclaiming a mere mortal flesh and blood a saintly martyr. His was a life of […]

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The Examined Life

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks always felt that he was living on borrowed time, and that he would probably die at a very young age. In the words of his youngest child, Dina Sacks, “He always knew that he was running out of time, not believing that he would live past the age of forty.” Rabbi […]

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The Redemption of Solitude

In 1998, the British literary world was shaken to its foundations, when a London bus driver named Magnus Mills was nominated for the prestigious Booker Prize in contemporary fiction for his debut novel. In his work, “The Restraint of Beasts,” Mills reflected on the millions of people who utilize public transportation on a daily basis, […]

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Build a Home, not a House

Growing up in the 1980s, I was raised on a rather immoderate cultural diet of popular TV shows such as “Dallas” and “Dynasty.” The heroes of these shows inhabited houses that were architecturally grandiose and aesthetically pleasing to the eye of the flesh. These towering structures were indeed, in Hemingway’s immortal words about Paris, a […]

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Work for Goals, Not Roles

In 2013, when Shimon Peres died at the age of 93, he was considered to be one of the world’s leading retired statesmen. This achievement was all the more astonishing, given the fact that Shimon Peres ran for prime minister five times (in 1977, 1981, 1984, 1988 and 1996), and never won a single election! […]

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Life as a Calling

Ever since my adolescence, I intuited that there must be more to life than the material dimension of human existence. That the human story is about so much more than what Karl Marx called “Homo faber,” – the human being as the producing and manufacturing animal. This deep-seated intuition, that there’s more to life than […]

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Vision and Detail

Throughout my life, I was privileged to meet with three Israeli Prime Ministers. One of them was Ehud Barak. As I sat down with PM Barak, the first thing I told him was that his eulogy of Yoni Netanyahu, the sole Israeli soldier who died during the raid on Entebbe in 1976, is in my […]

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