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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 Mishpatim/Shekalim 5773

  • Posted on February 7, 2013
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With Parshat Mishpatim we begin what is called Sefer HaBrit, the Book of the Covenant. Its appearance so soon after last week’s reading of the Decalogue, God’s will revealed at Mount Sinai, tells us that we are on the hook for more than just the “Ten Commandments.” How, exactly, are we “on the hook?” Notice that early in Continue Reading »

Shabbat Yitro 5773

  • Posted on January 31, 2013
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When someone who isn’t Jewish looks at you, what does he or she see? Is it anything like this classic movie scene? Woody Allen has been criticized severely for his ambivalent Jewish identity, but in that classic clip from Annie Hall, he may have been on to something. No, we don’t all have black hats and payes, but Continue Reading »

Shabbat Beshalah/Tu Bishvat 5773

  • Posted on January 24, 2013
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How different this seder is from all others! I refer to Seder Tu Bishvat, which we will conduct on Shabbat afternoon followingminhah in the waning hour of the day designated as the New Year for nature. A Tu Bishvat seder is not merely an opportunity to eat rare fruit in great quantity, or to experiment in shades of grape juice. It’s Continue Reading »

Shabbat Bo 5773

  • Posted on January 17, 2013
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Who shot J.R.? Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Who killed all the Egyptian firstborn? The classic line in the haggadah for Pesah says that God did the deed, in all Divine glory: “Not by way of an angel, nor by way of a seraph, nor by way of an agent.” The basis of this is a verse in our parashah: “For Continue Reading »

Shabbat Va-era 5773

  • Posted on January 10, 2013
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Justice is complicated. Finding the appropriate way to punish wrongdoing is a challenging business for lawmakers in any legal system. Societies set policy in an attempt to balance the needs of the victim of the crime (or his/her survivors) and the need to educate/improve/punish the perpetrator. In our parashah, even God has to come up with Continue Reading »

Shabbat Shemot 5773

  • Posted on January 3, 2013
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On the day that the survivors of Sandy Hook Elementary School return to class, albeit in a new building, I’m remembering a Facebook posting I saw a number of times in the days after the horrific shootings. It went like this: “Dear God,  Why do you allow so much violence in our schools? Signed,  A Continue Reading »

Shabbat Vayehi 5773

  • Posted on December 27, 2012
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One of the featured motifs of Sefer Bereshit, the Book of Genesis, is sibling discord. It began with fratricide when Cain killed Abel, and continued in each generation of the patriarchal/matriarchal narrative. Yitzhak and Yishma’el couldn’t coexist; the twins Ya’akov and Esav had to separate for 20 years before they could see each other again; and Continue Reading »

Shabbat Vayigash 5773

  • Posted on December 20, 2012
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Of all the heroes in the Bible, only one character earns the title Tzaddik, righteous, from the Rabbis. That character is Yosef, the man who rises from obnoxious teenager to Egypt’s chief economic adviser, from slave to master of his family’s destiny. And perhaps most significantly, Yosef is the one to break the cycle of sibling Continue Reading »

Shabbat Miketz/Hanukkah 5773

  • Posted on December 13, 2012
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Nothing tells the story of Hanukkah quite like its repertoire of songs. Each song emphasizes a different angle to the holiday–the fun of spinning the dreidel (Sevivon), God’s role in the miracle (Ma’oz Tzur), the power of the Maccabees (Mi Yemalel). But to me, there’s one song that is really what Hanukkah should mean in the 21st Continue Reading »

Shabbat Vayeshev 5773

  • Posted on December 6, 2012
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As the eldest of 12 brothers, Reuven should have immense authority. And in a moment of crisis, he steps forward. Hearing his brothers’ murderous designs on Yosef, he makes an attempt to save his obnoxious younger sibling’s life: “He said, ‘Let us not take his life.’ And Reuben went on, ‘Shed no blood! Cast him Continue Reading »

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