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Temple Israel of Scranton

Temple Israel of Scranton

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918 East Gibson Street, Scranton, PA 18510
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Rabbi’s D’var Torah


Posted on May 28, 2021

Antisemitism May 28 5781 The other day, before I got off a Zoom call with a local Christian colleague, she said to me: “I know things are rough for Jews in America right now. Is there anything I can do to stand with you?” I told her that there was. So often when people come Continue Reading »

Behar-Bechukotai 5781

Posted on May 7, 2021

From the Rabbi’s Desk My father’s one and only rabbinical sabbatical coincided with my junior year in college; my parents, my sisters, Jeffrey and I all ended up in Israel together. It was, as you might imagine, quite the year. We studied, we traveled, my father worked on the book he was writing, my sister Continue Reading »


Posted on April 30, 2021

From the Rabbi’s Desk Emor, 5781 The River Sambatyon Rages and Roars  There is a playful rabbinic legend about a miraculous river called the Sambatyon. It is said that this river flows violently 6 days a week. Six days a week the River Sambatyon rages and roars; on Shabbat the River Sambatyon stops raging and Continue Reading »

Where did those Omer Inspirations come from?

Posted on April 23, 2021

Every night from the second seder until Shavuot, we count the days, tying together the physical exodus from Egypt with the Jewish people beginning to say yes to God at Mount Sinai. There is a Kabbalistic custom to connect the counting of the omer (sefirat ha’omer) with the kabbalistic understanding of the attributes of God Continue Reading »

Tazria-Metzora 5781

Posted on April 16, 2021

From the Rabbi’s desk  Tazria-Metzora, a double parashah about skin disease and the treatment of skin disease, is a remarkably apt parashah for what we are going through right now as we emerge from our isolation.  We read that at the conclusion of the purification process, the priest was to apply the blood of the Continue Reading »

One of my very favorite brakhot

Posted on April 9, 2021

From the Rabbi’s Desk One of my very favorite brakhot is the one said only once a year when the trees begin to flower and one sees at least two flowering trees together.  The ideal time for this blessing is the month of Nisan, though of course it depends on where you live. When we Continue Reading »

Pesach provides a day-of-the-week prediction for most Jewish holidays

Posted on April 1, 2021

Atba”sh. Did you know that Pesach provides a day-of-the-week prediction for most Jewish holidays? The trick is to use the Hebrew alphabet backward, correlated to the days of Pesach.  Day 1 of Pesach. תשעה באב = ת Sunday 2021 Tish’ah B’Av is always exactly 16 weeks after the first day of Pesach and thus on Continue Reading »

Fasting on Yom HaShoah

Posted on April 1, 2021

From the Rabbi’s Desk April 2nd 5781 Moadim l’simhah! I hope everyone’s Pesah is going well and that your seders, whether live or by zoom or some combination, were full of family, friends, good food, fun songs, and meaningful discussion. Pesach ends Sunday night; after 9 PM Sunday, April 4th we may again eat hametz.  Continue Reading »

Vayak’hel-Pekudei 5781

Posted on March 12, 2021

Vayak’hel-Pekudei 5781 The very end of the book of Exodus might cause us to give a double-take: When Moses had finished the work, the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the Presence of the LORD filled the Tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting, because the cloud had settled upon it and Continue Reading »

Ki Tisa 5781

Posted on March 5, 2021

HIAS Refugee Shabbat The Torah tells us that Moshe and God would speak to each other “face to face, as one man speaks to another.” (Ex. 32:11). Right after that, we read that Moshe said to God:  “Lord, You told me that You know me by name and that you approve of me. If that Continue Reading »

Parashat Terumah 5781

Posted on February 19, 2021

Feb. 19th, 2021 Dancing the Mishkan When my kids were little, I used to do little dances with them after they did something especially good. A couple of months ago I did something that particularly pleased my daughter Arielle who lives with us and she said, “Ima, we are going to do a ‘hurray you Continue Reading »

Mishpatim, 5781

Posted on February 12, 2021

Does anyone notice how beautiful the moon was last night? Trick question. Of course, you did not. It is Rosh Hodesh Adar, the beginning of the Hebrew month of Adar, and the moon is not visible on Rosh Hodesh (regardless of how cloudy or clear the night may be).   The Shabbat that precedes or coincides Continue Reading »