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Unholy Sacrifice

When I woke up this morning, I was hit by the news of the massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand and was revolted.  Forty-nine people dead so far, scores more injured and it would be of little surprise if more died from their injuries.  And, from all accounts, it appears that the one suspect we know [...]

By | March 15th, 2019|Rabbi Cy's Blog|0 Comments

As We Get Closer to Pesach

Passover is an intriguing holiday. According to Pirke Avot, the collection of pithy sayings collected by the Talmud, Shmuel HaKatan (Samuel Junior) once said that ‘When an enemy falls, be not glad and when one stumbles, let not your heart be joyous.’ This seems to be the very antithesis of human nature. After all, when [...]

By | March 8th, 2019|Rabbi Cy's Blog|0 Comments

Parashat Teruma: Take God With You Wherever You Go

One of the learnings my students take with them is just how adaptable Judaism is. Nothing is static. Even in the 'Orthodox' world Jewish tradition is always evolving. A good example are the halachot - Jewish laws - surrounding Shabbat (or any holiday for that matter). The mitzvah to celebrate Shabbat is riddled throughout the [...]

By | February 5th, 2019|Rabbi Cy's Blog|0 Comments

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

Eye-Popping

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