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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 Shelakh-Lekha 5777

  • Posted on June 19, 2017
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The shootings in Washington this week introduced me to a phrase from American literature that I had never heard before. Bret Stephens quoted it in his New York Times column: it comes from Philip Roth, the great Jewish-American novelist. Roth, in referring to American violence in its many forms, called this phenomenon “the indigenous American Continue Reading »

Shabbat Beha’alotekha 5777

  • Posted on June 12, 2017
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After the idyllic, orderly details that dominate the opening chapters of Sefer Bemidbar, the Book of Numbers, all heck suddenly breaks loose in chapter 11. The Israelites begin to complain about the wilderness menu, and they are stricken by a plague. There’s a leadership crisis, and Moshe expresses abject despair in his ability to continue Continue Reading »

Shabbat Naso 5777

  • Posted on June 2, 2017
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Have you ever felt that living a religious life was a heavy burden on your shoulders? If so, you’re not alone. We all feel that way sometimes. Consider this nearly-concluded week: Tuesday felt like both a Monday (coming out of a weekend) and a Friday (it was erev Yom Tov). Friday feels like a Monday Continue Reading »

Shabbat Bemidbar 5777

  • Posted on May 26, 2017
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Having spent years in slavery, the Israelites know what it’s like to be a number and not a name. The dehumanization of chattel is crucial to the conscience of the slaveholder, but it may be the greatest source of pain for the slave, even beyond the physical suffering he or she endures.  So why, just Continue Reading »

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 »

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