“Man is condemned to be free,” stated French philosopher Sartre. Judaism is in accord. For if we weren’t free agents, then we would have neither a moral footing to abhor serial murderers and rapists, nor the validity to praise the righteous and the just. Sadly, many people perpetrate what psychologist Fromm called “Escape From Freedom.” […]

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In the Torah, the book of  Exodus is essentially the “Book of Freedom.” Both that which philosopher Isaiah Berlin deemed as “Negative Liberty,” – freedom from external political coercion, and also “Positive Liberty,” – the freedom to grow in soul, and to lead an elevated life of growth and altruism. From all the manifold Biblical […]

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The Universality of Judaism

We read this week about the receiving of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, and the corresponding election of our people as G-d’s vehicle, to proliferate monotheism and humanism throughout the world. Lest we err into thinking that this vocation entails a-priori privilege over others, our sages wisely named this week’s Torah portion after a […]

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Moses: The Supreme Pedagogue

As Rabbi Sacks of righteous memory observed, Moses had several oratory options on the threshold of the exodus from Egypt. Moses could have delivered a Churchill-like speech, and promise the newly emancipated nation nothing but “blood, toil, sweat and tears,” in the impending military campaigns against the Amalekites and other pernicious foes of the Jewish […]

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Moses: The Birth of Empathy

What brought about our eventual political emancipation from the shackles of dehumanization and servitude in Egypt? The answer lies with Moses. Moses was a supremely empathic being. He chose loyalty to his impoverished and subjugated biological family, over the prospect of a luxurious and pastorale existence in the despot’s (Pharaoh’s) palace. Moses did this, because […]

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Shabbat Shalom

Dear friends, This past week, we were blessed to virtually host the honorable David Suissa and the honorable Sam Yebri in our midst. Kudos and gratitude to our presidents Kamran & Raymond, and also – to our new Senior VP Roxy Eli, to Neda, Rita, Avi and Dan for making this happen (apologies if I […]

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Beginning Anew: Time for Introspection

The Torah teaches us that time and again when Moses and Aaron approached Pharaoh to free the Israelites from bondage, he refused. Each time the brothers demanded for their brothers and sisters to be freed, Pharaoh’s heart hardened. A new plague cursed Egypt when Pharaoh refused to comply. The plagues became successively worse, and yet […]

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Albert Bourla: A Jewish Role Model

The CEO of Pfizer, is a Greek Sephardic Jew by the name of Albert Bourla. His parents are Holocaust survivors from Salonica, a port city which was decimated more than any other Jewish city during World War Two. Bourla has been relentless in pushing the company he serves to develop the Covid vaccine. Thanks to […]

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This week’s Torah portion describes Joseph’s encounter with his brothers in Egypt. Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers who were jealous of his relationship with his father. In Egypt, while still captive, Joseph interpreted one of Pharaoh’s dreams about an upcoming famine. So impressed was Pharaoh by Joseph’s ability to save […]

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Thank you President Nickfardjam

This Shabbat, as the civil year 2020 comes to a close, we would all like to thank and salute our synagogue president, Mr. Kamran Nickfardjam, as this Shabbat is his concluding Shabbat as president. Mr. Nickfardjam, a gentle and worthy soul, has been leading our syangogue with exemplary humility, gentility and warmth of heart, during […]

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