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Hollis Hills Bayside Jewish Center : A Community Enriching Jewish Connections and Jewish Values

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Weekly Shabbat Message

Shabbat Bereshit 5780

  • Posted on October 24, 2019
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If you look carefully at the first chapters of the Torah, you will notice two different creation stories. Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 were traditionally understood to be one and the same narrative, but there are many clear differences between them. As we studied together in the waning minutes of Simhat Torah, the most glaring Continue Reading »

Shabbat Hol HaMo’ed Sukkot 5780

  • Posted on October 17, 2019
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It’s one of the Hebrew Bible’s most famous passages: chapter three of Kohelet, or Ecclesiastes. Pete Seeger’s folk song popularized it, and The Byrds recorded the version most people know: Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There is a Season). In our annual chapter-by-chapter ritual reading of Kohelet, we will chant and ruminate on this poignant passage this Shabbat Hol Continue Reading »

Shabbat Ha-azinu 5780

  • Posted on October 10, 2019
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This short week has a short Torah reading, Ha-azinu. In the traditional count of the 613 commandments, we reached the final mitzvah last week, in Parshat Vayelekh. The most famous Bar-Mitzvah gift in Jewish history, Sefer HaHinukh, which lists all 613, has no entry for this portion, seeing it as a poetic recap of Israelite history from Sinai, and a Continue Reading »

Shabbat Vayelekh/Shuvah 5780

  • Posted on October 3, 2019
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Every Yom Kippur afternoon, in the haftarah, we read one of the most fascinating short books in the Bible–Jonah. Because of time considerations, we spend more time chanting it than delving into it. So on this Shabbat Shuvah, when we are beckoned to return, we ought to look more carefully at the Jonah story and its thoughts Continue Reading »

Shabbat Nitzavim 5779

  • Posted on September 26, 2019
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Is teshuvah, repentance, easy or difficult? Your thoughts on this question will surely vary, depending on your experience. They might also vary based on what we think the Torah meant when it introduced us to teshuvah in this week’s Torah portion, Nitzavim.   Chapter 30 of Deuteronomy begins with a ten-verse section in which the word shav–return–appears seven times. Sometimes, Israel Continue Reading »

Shabbat Ki-Tavo 5779

  • Posted on September 19, 2019
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Near the end of this week’s reading, Parshat Ki-Tavo, after the ceremony of announcing the choice between rich reward and frightening punishment, Moshe tells the Israelites that it is as if they have no sense of their own history. He says: “The LORD did not give your heart the ability to know, eyes to see and Continue Reading »

Shabbat Shoftim 5779

  • Posted on September 5, 2019
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If you are connected to Floridians on social media, you probably witnessed their emotional rollercoaster over the past week. As forecasts for Hurricane Dorian projected catastrophic wind and rain for the heavily-populated coast, several of my relatives and friends prepared for the worst. They shopped for supplies, arranged for shutters to protect their homes, and Continue Reading »

Shabbat Re-eh 5779

  • Posted on August 30, 2019
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This week’s Torah portion, Re-eh, introduces us to false prophecy. “If there appears among you a prophet or a dream-diviner and he gives you a sign or a portent, saying, ‘Let us follow and worship another god’–whom you have not experienced–even if the sign or portent that he has named to you comes true, do not Continue Reading »

Shabbat Ekev 5779

  • Posted on August 22, 2019
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As he continues his farewell address to the Israelites, Moshe once again describes the Promised Land in glowing terms. “For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with streams and springs and fountains issuing from plain and hill; a land of wheat and barley, of vines, figs, and pomegranates, Continue Reading »

Shabbat Mattot-Mae’ei 5779

  • Posted on August 1, 2019
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It’s a nice coincidence for me that right after we’ll read Parshat Mas’ei this Shabbat, I’ll embark on two road trips–one to visit my mother in Toronto, and the other a family excursion to Virginia. As a young child, I would sit in the back seat on drives to New York or Chicago, so road trips are Continue Reading »