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Hollis Hills Bayside Jewish Center

A Jewish Community Built on Caring, Prayer and Learning

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Weekly Shabbat Message

Shabbat Beha’alotekha 5779

  • Posted on June 20, 2019
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What gets you up and moving in the morning? For the Israelites, there were two signals that it was time for the camp to mobilize. One was the cloud (Numbers 9:15-23), and the other was the trumpets (10:1-10). Almost immediately after we learn of these signals in this week’s Torah reading, Beha’alotekha, there’s a travel crisis. Continue Reading »

Shabbat Naso 5779

  • Posted on June 14, 2019
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The most famous passage in this week’s Torah portion, Naso, is the priestly blessing, Birkat Kohanim. We use it liturgically in the repetition of the ‘Amidah, and it forms our regular blessing of children at Shabbat dinner. Its magnificent conclusion is the ultimate blessing–that of peace.   Thus, it is noteworthy and somewhat ironic that this blessing appears in Sefer Bemidbar, Numbers, Continue Reading »

Shabbat Bemidbar 5779

  • Posted on June 6, 2019
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As we prepare to enter Shabbat Bemidbar and Shavu’ot, we are attuned to the sounds of Revelation. The area I’d like us to consider this year is the pitch and tone of those sounds. Our theme for Saturday night’s Tikkun Leil Shavu’ot is “Women’s Voices in Torah.” In anticipation, I’d like us to consider how our gender might influence the Continue Reading »

Shabbat Behukotai 5779

  • Posted on May 31, 2019
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The great Bible scholar and translator Robert Alter, became famous decades ago with two classic books: The Art of Biblical Narrative and The Art of Biblical Poetry. He has never written a book called “The Art of Priestly Legal Minutiae.” And that is unfortunate.   As we come to the end of Sefer Vayikra, Leviticus, perhaps we should consider Continue Reading »

Shabbat Behar 5779

  • Posted on May 23, 2019
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If someone were to research every published sermon by American rabbis on this week’s Torah portion, Behar, I would be willing to wager that the most common verse cited in these sermons would be Leviticus 25:9. “You shall proclaim freedom throughout the land for all its inhabitants.” After all, that’s the Scriptural passage that appears on Continue Reading »

Shabbat Emor 5779

  • Posted on May 17, 2019
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At the end of this week’s Torah portion, Emor, we find a curious episode of blasphemy. A rare moment of narrative in a sea of ritual detail, the story goes like this: “There came out among the Israelites one whose mother was Israelite and whose father was Egyptian. And a fight broke out in the camp Continue Reading »

Shabbat Kedoshim 5779

  • Posted on May 13, 2019
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It has been said that Parshat Kedoshim, particularly Leviticus 19, is the core of the entire Torah, and that at the heart of that core chapter is the phrase “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (19:18). “Amar Rabbi Akiva: zeh klal gadol baTorah–Rabbi Akiva said that this is a central principle of the Torah.” That being said, Continue Reading »

Shabbat Aharei-Mot 5779

  • Posted on May 3, 2019
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We know the ritual of the scapegoat, the seh la’azazel, from the Torah reading for Yom kippur morning, and it comes from this week’s parashah, Aharei-Mot. On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest designates two goats for different roles. One is to be offered as the sacred day’s sacrifice on the altar; let’s call him the Continue Reading »

Shabbat/Eighth Day of Pesah 5779

  • Posted on April 25, 2019
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We refer to Pesah as zeman heruteinu, the time of our freedom. Maybe that’s why this is one of the most observed holidays among American Jews, as liberty is a core American concept. But are the Jewish and American versions of freedom/liberty one and the same? And if they are not, are they even compatible? Continue Reading »

Shabbat/First Day of Pesah 5779

  • Posted on April 18, 2019
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The best books are the ones with pictures, especially Haggadot. One of our family’s favorite Seder traditions is comparing the pictures or drawings of the Four Children. Some of the Haggadot we use have collections of drawings and artistic images depicting the wise, rebellious, simple and unable-to-ask children.   The agenda and biases of a particular artist or editor can Continue Reading »