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Hollis Hills Bayside Jewish Center

A Jewish Community Built on Caring, Prayer and Learning

210-10 Union Turnpike, Hollis Hills, NY 11364
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Weekly Shabbat Message

Shabbat Behar/Behukotai 5777

  • Posted on May 19, 2017
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In Jewish law, how does one assert ownership? The Talmudic term is “Hamotzi mehavero–alav hare-ayah–the burden of proof is on the one who wants to remove the object from his fellow.” Or, as we say in English, “possession is 9/10 of the law.” This legal principle applies to those objects that can in fact be Continue Reading »

Shabbat Emor 5777

  • Posted on May 12, 2017
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As is the case every year at this time, I was asked this week, “Rabbi, why do we count the ‘Omer?” In classic rabbinic form, I answered, “Because the Torah tells us to.” I know that’s not a particularly helpful answer, and while I always enjoy connecting the counting period between Pesah and Shavuot to Continue Reading »

Shabbat Aharei-Mot/Kedoshim 5777

  • Posted on May 5, 2017
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The debate over health care in the US reached another peak/valley this week (depending on your perspective on the vote). Since our Torah reading this week includes some of the most critical moral teachings our tradition has to offer, I thought it would be worthwhile for us to explore our sources to answer a few Continue Reading »

Shabbat Tazria’-Metzora’ 5777

  • Posted on May 1, 2017
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On Sunday evening this coming week, Israelis at home and abroad will commemorate Yom HaZikaron, a day of remembering all those who fell in Israel’s armed forces, in the security branches, and as victims of terror. Unlike the contemporary Memorial Day observances in the United States, there will be no department store sales, trips to Continue Reading »

Shabbat Shemini 5777

  • Posted on April 24, 2017
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We know where the Torah begins and where it ends. But what is its midpoint? It depends on what tool we use for measurement. The Talmud (Bavli Kiddushin 30a) tells us: “The ‘first ones’ were called sofrim (scribes or counters) because they counted all the letters in the Torah. They said: the vav in the Continue Reading »

Shabbat Vayikra 5777

  • Posted on March 31, 2017
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Now that we’ve entered the month of Nisan, it’s time to begin delving into the Haggadah as we prepare for Passover. Since I’ll be away for Pesah, I’ll be teaching about the holiday this Shabbat and next. My own preparation for this year has been with the help of the haggadah commentary of the Vilna Continue Reading »

Shabbat Ki Tissa/Parah 5777

  • Posted on March 17, 2017
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When I teach at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires in the summer, one of our most popular activities is the Biblical Victims Unit. We look at classic stories from the Torah and set up courtrooms to put various characters on trial, such as Ya’akov for stealing his brother’s blessing, or Moshe for killing the Egyptian Continue Reading »

Shabbat Tetzaveh/Zakhor 5777

  • Posted on March 10, 2017
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On this Shabbat Zakhor, the Shabbat before Purim, we will take a deep dive into chapter 2 of Megillat Esther at our pre-Purim lunch and learn. Vashti has been deposed, and the vacancy is going to be filled. The king’s advisors hatch a plan for an empire-wide search for a replacement. In this chapter, we Continue Reading »

Shabbat Terumah 5777

  • Posted on March 3, 2017
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How big, according to Jewish tradition, is God? I imagine your inclination would be to spread your arms as wide as you are able and say something like, “so much bigger than this.” We express the idea of God’s enormity every time we say the kedushah: “M’lo khol ha-aretz k’vodo–God’s glory fills the entire land.” Continue Reading »

Shabbat Mishpatim/Shekalim 5777

  • Posted on February 24, 2017
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What actually happened when God revealed the Torah? Well, it depends which Biblical passage you ask!  This Shabbat, in Parshat Mishpatim, we will read a somewhat different narrative than the one we saw last week. As JTS bible professor Dr. Benjamin Sommer wrote in his book Revelation and Authority, “Commentators have long debated whether Exodus Continue Reading »

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