Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Schedule for Upcoming December Visit!


Thursday, December 2, 2010 6:15pm-7:45pm (contact me for location) –

Book Discussion: The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson

Read the New York Times Review

Read the NPR Review which includes excerpts



Thursday, December 2, 2010 8:00 pm (Colby College Pugh Center)

Blood, Guts, and Girls: The Real Stories of Hanukkah

Come and explore the many traditional, tawdry, and titillating traditions of Hanukkah and the Maccabees with Rabbi Isaacs.

Friday, December 3, 2010: 9:00 am (Hillel Lounge at Colby College)

Friday morning minyan.

Friday, December 3, 2010: 7:00 pm (Beth Israel Congregation)

Friday night services that will include song, prayer, and learning. To be followed by a dessert oneg.

Saturday, December 4, 2010: 6:00 pm (Beth Israel Congregation)

HANUKKAH PARTY!!! Will include activities for kids of all ages.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Yom Hodu Sameach!

Happy Thanksgiving to All! In Hebrew "Hodu" means "turkey" and "thanks," making it the best term to celebrate this holiday. May this day be full of blessings for all!



Monday, November 22, 2010

Jews Come from All Corners of the Earth


A fascinating story about the Jewish community in Indonesia. I would have never expected this! From the New York Times:

"In a Sliver of Indonesia, Public Embrace of Judaism"


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Great Chanukkah Music: Ma'oz Tzur

This is a beautiful modern Israeli rendition of the Chanukkah classic Ma'oz Tzur, better known as "Rock of Ages." By Dov Rosenblatt, Deena Goodman & Rosi Golan--via shemspeed.

Click Here to Download

Lyrics:

Maoz tzur y'shuati l'cha naeh l'shabeach

Tikon beit t'filati v'sham todah n'zabeach.

L'eit tachin matbeach mitzar hamnabeach

Az egmor b'shir mizmor chanukat hamizbeach.

Translation:
Rock of Ages let our song,
Praise thy saving power;
Thou amidst the raging foes,
Wast our shelt'rng tower.

Furious they assailed us,
But Thine arm availed us,
And Thy word broke their sword,
When our own strength failed us.
And Thy word broke their sword,
When our own strength failed us.




Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What's Love Got to Do With it?

Generally we do not look to the Torah for guidance about love and relationships...and sometimes with good reason. However, in the case of our parasha this week, Parashat Vayishlach, we are provided with great food for thought about what love means and how it functions in our lives. The Torah text tells us that Schehem, the man who violated Dina, "loved" her after "taking her and...humbling her."

Genesis 34:2-3

ב וַיַּרְא אֹתָהּ שְׁכֶם בֶּן-חֲמוֹר, הַחִוִּי--נְשִׂיא הָאָרֶץ; וַיִּקַּח אֹתָהּ וַיִּשְׁכַּב אֹתָהּ, וַיְעַנֶּהָ. 2 And Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her; and he took her, and lay with her, and humbled her.
ג וַתִּדְבַּק נַפְשׁוֹ, בְּדִינָה בַּת-יַעֲקֹב; וַיֶּאֱהַב, אֶת-הַנַּעֲרָ, וַיְדַבֵּר, עַל-לֵב הַנַּעֲרָ. 3 And his soul did cleave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spoke comfortingly unto the damsel.

What does it mean that Shechem "loved" Dina? Does the Torah misunderstand love? Is it the best word that the Author could find with a limited Hebrew lexicon? To contend that maybe Schehem actually did love Dina in a legitimate way would make most of us furious. Nevertheless, we need to think about what the Torah is trying to communicate. What is good love and what is bad love? How do we apply this knowledge to our lives?

How does this love compare to that of Jacob who loved Rachel after seeing her only? How does this compare to the love that Abraham has for Isaac, the son he is willing to put on the altar? How does this love compare to that of Jonathan and David whose love was described thusly in 2 Samuel 1:23-26

כג שָׁאוּל וִיהוֹנָתָן, הַנֶּאֱהָבִים וְהַנְּעִימִם בְּחַיֵּיהֶם, וּבְמוֹתָם, לֹא נִפְרָדוּ; מִנְּשָׁרִים קַלּוּ, מֵאֲרָיוֹת גָּבֵרוּ. 23 Saul and Jonathan, the lovely and the pleasant in their lives, even in their death they were not divided; they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.
כד בְּנוֹת, יִשְׂרָאֵל--אֶל-שָׁאוּל, בְּכֶינָה; הַמַּלְבִּשְׁכֶם שָׁנִי, עִם-עֲדָנִים, הַמַּעֲלֶה עֲדִי זָהָב, עַל לְבוּשְׁכֶן. 24 Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put ornaments of gold upon your apparel.
כה אֵיךְ נָפְלוּ גִבֹּרִים, בְּתוֹךְ הַמִּלְחָמָה--יְהוֹנָתָן, עַל-בָּמוֹתֶיךָ חָלָל. 25 How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan upon thy high places is slain!
כו צַר-לִי עָלֶיךָ, אָחִי יְהוֹנָתָן--נָעַמְתָּ לִּי, מְאֹד; נִפְלְאַתָה אַהֲבָתְךָ לִי, מֵאַהֲבַת נָשִׁים. 26 I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant hast thou been unto me; wonderful was thy love to me, passing the love of women.

This Torah story provides us with more questions than answers, but they are questions we need to ask ourselves and discuss with those we care about, especially our children. We should talk about healthy and unhealthy love, how to know the difference, and develop safe and fruitful relationships.

Shabbat Shalom



Sunday, November 14, 2010

Schedule for December Visit: December 2-5, 2010


Thursday, December 2, 2010 6:15pm-7:45pm (contact me for location) –

Book Discussion: The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson

Read the New York Times Review

Read the NPR Review which includes excerpts



Thursday, December 2, 2010 8:00 pm (Colby College Pugh Center)

Blood, Guts, and Girls: The Real Stories of Hanukkah

Come and explore the many traditional, tawdry, and titillating traditions of Hanukkah and the Maccabees with Rabbi Isaacs.

Friday, December 3, 2010: 9:00 am (Hillel Lounge at Colby College)

Friday morning minyan.

Friday, December 3, 2010: 7:00 pm (Beth Israel Congregation)

Friday night services that will include song, prayer, and learning. To be followed by a dessert oneg.

Saturday, December 4, 2010: 6:00 pm (Beth Israel Congregation)

HANUKKAH PARTY!!! Will include activities for kids of all ages.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Jews Come in All Shapes and Sizes


Here is a fascinating article in the New York Times about a famous hip hop artist that found Judaism in the States and is now living in Jerusalem. Click here to read the article.



My Senior Sermon


Here is my senior sermon, based largely on my experiences in Waterville. It was a great success!

Click Here for my Senior Sermon

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thursday Night Dinner Location

Thursday night dinner with Rabbi Isaacs will be in the Bullock Dining Area in the Dana Dining Hall. All are invited and I'm excited to see you there!