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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
(718) 776-3500

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Weekly Shabbat Message

>Shabbat Ki-Tavo 5771

  • Posted on September 15, 2011
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In our urban environment, it’s not easy for us to relate to the Torah’s agriculturally-based laws. But although we are not farmers, there is still much to learn from passages that spoke directly to those who did work the land. Our parashah begins with a first law for a people who will first enter the Continue Reading »

>Shabbat Ki-Tetzei 5771

  • Posted on September 8, 2011
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“If, along the the road, you chance upon a bird’s nest, in any tree or on the ground, with fledglings or eggs and the mother sitting over the fledglings or on the eggs, do not take the mother together with her young. Let the mother go, and take only the young, in order that you Continue Reading »

>Shabbat Shoftim 5771

  • Posted on September 1, 2011
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Parshat Shoftim provides advance guidance in anticipation of the inevitable request of the Israelites to be like other nations and establish a monarchy. The Torah provides a number of limitations on kings, including a restriction on foreigners and limits on royal wealth and excess.  Two particular rules catch my attention. The first is a warning Continue Reading »

>Shabbat Re-eh 5771

  • Posted on August 25, 2011
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The Torah doesn’t much like idolatry. And it’s even more concerned with idolatry’s PR machine. Chapter 13 of Deuteronomy gives instructions for dealing with those who might instigate the larger community to turn away from God and cast their lots with false gods. Three different scenarios are presented. In the first, a prophet advocates for Continue Reading »

>Shabbat ‘Ekev 5771

  • Posted on August 18, 2011
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Why be good? Why bother? This painfully simple question is at the root of religious and philosophical thought. In more complex language, it raises the tension between the intrinsic and extrinsic value of our actions. In other words, do we do what is right–in this case, observance of God’s mitzvot–because those commandments are intrinsically good Continue Reading »

>Shabbat Vaet-hanan 5771

  • Posted on August 11, 2011
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In our tradition of mitzvot, we are commanded to do (or not to do) many things. Rarely are we commanded to feel something. Love, in particular, is rarely commanded; in fact, such a mitzvah appears just three times in the Torah. We are required to love our fellow [as ourselves] (Leviticus 19:18); we must love Continue Reading »

>Shabbat Devarim 5771

  • Posted on August 4, 2011
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We always “celebrate” Shabbat, but this particular Shabbat is the most mournful one of the year. It is called Shabbat Hazon, based on the opening word of our haftarah and the Book of Isaiah. That passage is a scathing critique of Israel’s behavior, foretelling the fall of the First Jewish Commonwealth. Most of the haftarah Continue Reading »

>Shabbat Mas’ei 5771

  • Posted on July 28, 2011
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Until this week, I wasn’t familiar with the word “prolix,” an adjective meaning “tediously lengthy.” (I was familiar with the concept; just not the word.) Then I stumbled on it twice in one day. Once was while reading about the 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, which invites submissions of the worst possible opening sentence to a Continue Reading »

>Shabbat Korah 5771

  • Posted on June 23, 2011
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When Mayor Bloomberg’s mother, Charlotte Rubens Bloomberg, died earlier this week, we read how little her son’s immense wealth and fame changed her personality and values. She was happy to remain in her modest house in Medford, MA. When he sent limousines to pick her up, she reimbursed him. She was proud of him, but Continue Reading »

>Shabbat Shelah-Lekha 5771

  • Posted on June 16, 2011
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“I’d like to use my lifeline, Regis.” With these words, a contestant on the hit TV game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire can phone a friend, ask the audience, or narrow the choices from four to two and “stay alive” in the game. The show’s creators picked an interesting term for these helping Continue Reading »