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Temple Israel of Scranton

Temple Israel of Scranton

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Rabbi’s D’var Torah

Parashat Ki Tetzei 5781

Posted on August 20, 2021

From the Rabbi’s Desk Livin’ the Good Life I came home last night and said: “Ki tetzei this week. I love parashat ki tetzei”. And Jeffrey cheerfully responded: “Yup. It is my favorite parashah.” I said: “Really? Your favorite?”  Jeffrey said: “Bar none.” That got me thinking. What is your favorite parashah? Is it Noah, Continue Reading »

Parashat Shoftim 

Posted on August 13, 2021

Imagine a king. We do not live in a monarchy but I venture a guess that you had no problem conjuring up an image of a king. Maybe he wore royal robes of red and gold velvet. Maybe he was sitting on a throne. Maybe he held a scepter.  But I highly doubt that your Continue Reading »

Parashat Re’eh 5781

Posted on August 6, 2021

A question that we have been asking all year — where can we worship God? — is addressed in tomorrow’s Torah portion:  כִּ֠י אִֽם־אֶל־הַמָּק֞וֹם אֲשֶׁר־יִבְחַ֨ר יְהֹוָ֤ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶם֙ מִכׇּל־שִׁבְטֵיכֶ֔ם לָשׂ֥וּם אֶת־שְׁמ֖וֹ שָׁ֑ם לְשִׁכְנ֥וֹ תִדְרְשׁ֖וּ וּבָ֥אתָ שָּֽׁמָּה׃  Look only to the site that the LORD your God will choose amidst all your tribes as habitation, to establish Continue Reading »

Shabbat Hazon

Posted on July 16, 2021

This week we begin the 5th book of the Torah, Sefer Devarim, Deuteronomy. Devarim, which literally means “words”, consists of the final speeches of Moshe Rabbenu before he dies and the People of Israel enter the Land of Israel without him. Moshe begins by saying: “The Lord our God spoke to us at Horeb saying: Continue Reading »

Parashat Pinhas 5781

Posted on July 2, 2021

As we near the end of Sefer B’Midbar, the Book of Numbers, the people of Israel are ready to enter the Land of Israel. The 40 years of traveling are coming to a close. Both Miriam and Aaron died in parashat Hukat, two weeks ago. The job of apportioning the Land of Israel to tribes Continue Reading »


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 »