Customs and Minhagim

By | January 3rd, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Let’s Visit the Relatives

There is the strangest line in this Torah portion that, for all intents and purposes, goes completely unnoticed.    After describing the Jacob's quarrel with Esau, Isaac's settling in Gerar, the digging of wells by Isaac's servants and a peace agreement with Abimelech, the text throws in a line that comes out of nowhere: ‎ [...]

By | November 6th, 2018|Rabbi Cy's Blog|0 Comments

In Light of Evil

The profoundly horrific events of Pittsburgh at the Tree of Life synagogue this past Shabbat has given us all pause to consider what it means to be Jewish in America.  There are the statistics that show quite clearly how contemporary American society finds it all too easy to attack Jews.  It reminds me of something [...]

By | October 30th, 2018|Rabbi Cy's Blog|0 Comments


This week's parasha, Vayeira,  is one of those 'pivotal moments' in Jewish history.  The text says: ‎וַיֵּרָ֤א אֵלָיו֙ יְהוָ֔ה בְּאֵלֹנֵ֖י מַמְרֵ֑א וְה֛וּא יֹשֵׁ֥ב פֶּֽתַח־הָאֹ֖הֶל כְּחֹ֥ם הַיּֽוֹם׃2 וַיִּשָּׂ֤א עֵינָיו֙ וַיַּ֔רְא וְהִנֵּה֙ שְׁלֹשָׁ֣ה אֲנָשִׁ֔ים נִצָּבִ֖ים עָלָ֑יו וַיַּ֗רְא וַיָּ֤רָץ לִקְרָאתָם֙ מִפֶּ֣תַח הָאֹ֔הֶל וַיִּשְׁתַּ֖חוּ אָֽרְצָה׃ 3 וַיֹּאמַ֑ר אֲדֹנָ֗י אִם־נָ֙א מָצָ֤אתִי חֵן֙ בְּעֵינֶ֔יךָ אַל־נָ֥א תַעֲבֹ֖ר מֵעַ֥ל עַבְדֶּֽךָ׃ 4 יֻקַּֽח־נָ֣א מְעַט־מַ֔יִם [...]

By | October 24th, 2018|Rabbi Cy's Blog|0 Comments

The New Tower Builder

The story of Abram (before he becomes Abraham) is one of the inflection points in the Torah.  After Abram, everything begins happening for the Jewish people.  But let's take a look at where this story is located and what it is trying to teach us. Here is the text: ‎וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־אַבְרָ֔ם לֶךְ־לְךָ֛ מֵאַרְצְךָ֥ וּמִמּֽוֹלַדְתְּךָ֖ [...]

By | October 15th, 2018|Rabbi Cy's Blog|0 Comments

Tearing out a Page from the Book of Life: Yom Kippur Morning 2018 Sermon

Yom Kippur Morning 2018/5779 – Tearing out a Page from the Book of Life Rabbi Cy Stanway Temple Beth Miriam When I was a young rabbinic student and had just come back from my first year in Israel, I arrived in Cincinnati for a crash course in leading High Holiday services.  I wasn’t worried about [...]

By | September 25th, 2018|Rabbi Cy's Blog, TBM Blog|0 Comments

Thoughts in Elul

This is the month before the Days of Awe.  Called Elul, the Sages saw the name of the month as referencing 'Ani Ldodi Vdodi Li' - using the first letters of the phrase from the Song of Songs as referring to the month of Elul.  And what is this phrase and why did the Rabbis [...]

By | August 22nd, 2018|Rabbi Cy's Blog|0 Comments

White Helmets and Truth

By now everyone who watches the news or reads a paper knows that Israel saved some 98 White Helmet workers and their families from almost-certain death in Syria. Who are the "White Helmets"? Here is the Wikipedia entry: The White Helmets (Arabic: الخوذ البيضاء ,القبعات البيضاء‎ al-Ḫawdh al-bayḍāʾ / al-Qubaʿāt al-Bayḍāʾ), officially known as Syria Civil [...]

By | July 25th, 2018|Rabbi Cy's Blog|0 Comments

I Will Not Go to My Grave Without Screaming

When I was in Religious School in about Grade 7, we began our study of the Holocaust.  Of course, one of the questions that we raised was 'how could such a thing have happened.'  It was a naive question, I realize now.  Hitler's willing executioners were not the generals and the soldiers.  They were the [...]

By | June 15th, 2018|Rabbi Cy's Blog|0 Comments

They Burn, We Plant

Do you want to know the real difference between Israel and Hamas?  Once again, Hamas has underscored what all but the most oblivious have known for years: Hamas (an acronym in Arabic but a Hebrew word meaning 'utter destruction') is good only at destroying.  Frankly, I don't expect anything else.  There are lots of theories [...]

By | June 8th, 2018|Rabbi Cy's Blog|0 Comments