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Temple Israel of Scranton

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Rabbi’s D’var Torah

Parashat Va’era, 5781

Posted on January 15, 2021

Time, Toads, and Tomorrow Moshe and Aharon stood before Pharaoh.  There were frogs all over Egypt, frogs everywhere – in the palace and in the bedrooms, in the houses and the ovens and the cooking bowls– and the people were miserable.  “Tell your God to get rid of these blasted frogs and I will let Continue Reading »

Saying a Blessing Upon Receiving the Vaccine 

Posted on December 24, 2020

A Gentile associate of mine once said to me with admiration: “Jews have blessings for everything!”  Soon we will all be receiving the Covid 19 vaccine. I would like to share with you the blessings that I have been collecting for this momentous occasion. They are written (mostly) by rabbis who are seeking to express Continue Reading »

From the Rabbi’s Desk Hanukkah 5781

Posted on December 11, 2020

Hanukkah falls in what is absolutely the darkest time of year, no matter where (in the northern hemisphere) you live. The days are the shortest, the nights are the longest, and the moon is the dimmest. Hanukkah comes at the very end and the very beginning of the Hebrew month when we can scarcely see Continue Reading »

Parashat Vayetze 5781

Posted on November 27, 2020

From the Rabbi’s Desk Parashat Vayetze 5781 The Supreme Court ruled the other night that it is unconstitutional for the government to place restrictions on numbers of people allowed to attend religious services during the pandemic (or any other time). It did not, of course, require houses of worship to themselves allow unrestricted attendance. House Continue Reading »

Hayei Sarah 5781

Posted on November 13, 2020

From the Rabbi’s Desk Hayei Sarah 5781 “Rabbi, you read all those names on the misheberakh list in Hebrew and I don’t know who they are. Couldn’t you read the names in English?” She has a point. After all, the purpose of the misheberakh list is two-fold. It is to beseech God for healing and Continue Reading »

Parashat Vayera, 5781

Posted on November 6, 2020

Parashat Vayera, 5781 From a comic that I have hanging on my bulletin board: Isaac: “Here’s the wood for the sacrifice, Dad.”  Abraham: “Groovy.” Isaac: “Here’s the dagger for the sacrifice, Dad.” Abraham: “Keen.” Isaac looks all around.  Isaac:  “Where’s the sacrifice?” Abraham: “God will provide Isaac.” Isaac: “Wait! Did you say, ‘God will provide, Continue Reading »

Parashat Lekh lekha 5781

Posted on October 30, 2020

Lekh lekha 5781 In the middle of parashat lekh lekha God appears to Avram in a vision and says: “Know well that your offspring shall be strangers in a land not theirs, and they shall be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years, but I will execute judgment on the nation they shall serve, and in Continue Reading »

Parashat Noah, 5781

Posted on October 23, 2020

Shel Silverstein’s Unicorn Song has been stuck in my head all week. I keep humming about those green alligators and long-necked geese, humpty-backed camels and some chimpanzees,  cats and rats and elephants, but sure as I’m born, I ain’t gonna see no unicorn. (adapted) It is, of course, Parashat Noah this week. And one of Continue Reading »

Parashat Beresheet 5781

Posted on October 16, 2020

From the Rabbi’s Desk Parashat Beresheet 5781 The first thing that is described in the Torah as kadosh, holy, is not a place or a part of nature or an item. It is a time: the 7th day, Shabbat. Gen. 2:3  And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, ויקדש אותו. The first Continue Reading »

Erev Sukkot 5781

Posted on October 1, 2020

Rabbi Miriam T. Spitzer Erev Sukkot 5781 The cartoon showed someone speaking on the phone saying: “I am making Sukkot plans. Are you not coming to us or are we not coming to you?” Sukkot is our family holiday. We are accustomed to having guests in high numbers and high in enthusiasm.  Many families are Continue Reading »

How to prepare for Sukkot this year

Posted on September 10, 2020

From the Rabbi’s desk How to prepare for Sukkot this year 22 Elul 5780 Rabbi Miriam T. Spitzer  Build a Sukkah There is nothing like the experience of having a sukkah. Last year I was not able to build my own sukkah as we were living in a 4th-floor apartment with no balcony. That was Continue Reading »

How to prepare for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur this year

Posted on September 4, 2020

From the Rabbi’s Desk:   How to prepare for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur this year Rabbi Miriam T. Spitzer 15 Elul 5780 On Pesah, we ask: “How is this night different from all other nights?”  This Rosh HaShanah we do not have to ask “How is this High Holy Day experience different from all other Continue Reading »