Rabbi Scolnic shares his favorite sermons.

Fighting Chaos

I keep thinking about the hurricane season that passed, because for a lot of the victims of those terrible catastrophes, the nightmare is far from over. After I continue to send funds to those who need, I try to understand these events. And I think about the story of the ancient Flood and how Noah survived: “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened” (Genesis 7:11).

Visiting The Sick

A recent Bat Mitzvah, Rachel Goldstein, does a wonderful mitzvah: she visits the Ronald McDonald House in New Haven to play with children whose siblings are being treated in near by hospitals. Rachel and her mother Tanya have gone to the house to do craft projects and play games with the kids while the parents are in the hospital with their siblings. A mitzvah is not just a good deed. It is a commandment: We are commanded to visit the sick.

The hateful march in Charlottesville,

the so-called Alt Right, White Supremacy.

The massacre in Las Vegas, Mass Murder, Gun Violence.

Sexual Harassment in Hollywood and many other spheres of society.

Light Bulbs

You know the joke: “How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a light bulb? None –it’s Ok; I’ll sit in the dark.”
Actually there’s a whole genre of Jewish light bulb jokes. Pretty soon, there were lots and lots of others being told. For instance:

The Home Run Derby and How We Think About Our Lives

In case you don’t know, the Home Run Derby is an annual home run hitting contest in Major League Baseball, customarily held the day before the MLB All-Star Game, which places the contest on a Monday in July. There is a kind of legend about the Home Run Derby, that there is a Curse: If you win, it will hurt your home run output for the rest of the season.

I Came In

We have a custom around here that a Bar or Bat Mitzvah can ask me to give a sermon at their ceremony on a subject of their interest. Usually, this means that I have to read a young adult book or watch a current popular show. A recent Bat Mitzvah, Sadie Meltzer asked me to deal with one of the most serious subjects there is, dealing with bad things you have no control over.

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