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Temple Israel of Scranton

Temple Israel of Scranton

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Rabbi’s D’var Torah

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 »

Yitro 5781

Posted on February 5, 2021

From the Rabbi’s Desk Lest anyone go through a whole day without studying any Torah, there is a tradition that a little bit of Torah study is inserted into the very early part of the morning service. You might think that if we were to choose only one section of Torah to read on a Continue Reading »

Shabbat Shirah Parashat BeShalach 5781

Posted on January 29, 2021

From the Rabbi’s Desk There is a custom to feed the birds on Shabbat Shirah. There are many reasons given for this custom — a sure sign that no one knows for sure why this custom exists. Perhaps it is as simple as an appreciation for nature’s singers on the Shabbat of Song. But my Continue Reading »

Parashat Bo January 22 5781

Posted on January 22, 2021

When our kids were little and we wanted to explain to them the concept of slavery, we told them that slaves were not able to control their own time. Other people were masters of their time. They could not choose what to do when. That is what slavery means. The very first mitzvah given to Continue Reading »

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 »