Sunday, July 29, 2007

Did Jews doctor the Bible as some Muslims say?

Did Jews doctor the Bible as some Muslims say?
Question I got on youtube:
Rabbi Ginsburg, there have been Muslims I have talked to on Youtube, who say that the Jews corrupted the Torah. They use things such as David's sins, Joshua's attack on Jericho,Jacob fighting God and winning, and God resting on the 7th day as evidence. What can we say to that?

One-terms. the Torah is the five books of Moses. David and Josua are in the latter parts of the Bible, not the Torah.
Two-if they say we corrupted the Torah, where is their proof? We have the Torah. Archeological evidence confirms it more and more. They dead sea scrolls confirm more and more. Whatever text they have Quran is from 2700 years AFTER Abraham and fourteen hundred years AFTER Moses so which has a better chance of being right about the events at the time- a book written at the spot or shortly thereafter or one written many hundreds of years later. They have zero evidence for a completely absurd claim.
Three-before the printing press, we had and have very strict rules about copying sacred scrolls. They are checked many times to insure they would be completely accurate and anyone listening would instantly know, at the time, if there was a change.
Four-Muslims kill people and riot if someone says anything negative about their religion. Isn't it then wrong to say that the most sacred documents in Judaism, the Bible, sacred to Christians as well, and the basis of Western Civ. are doctored?
Five-its clear that whoever suggests these examples do not understand the Bible. God resting on the seventh day is not resting as we understand it-its impossible to understand God. Those are human terms to desribe the impossible. And a day to God could be a billion years to us-see my video on jewish time.
six-what evidence do they have for anything in the Quran being true-It was witnessed by one man. The Torah was witnessed by 2 1/2 million and the rest of the Hebrew Bible by countless.
seven-non-fundamentalist Jews know there are things in the Bible which are not accurate-we study them carefully. For example, I don't know what they say about Jericho, but I agree the walls probably did not fall at Joshua's time. I also don't believe the world was made in seven of our days. It wasn't "doctored". as science or to be taken literally.
Eight-If it was doctored, it would have left out the stuff that does not make apparent sense. the fact that was left in proves logically it was no doctored.
All in all-its completely baseless, insulting of the world's oldest, and I think best, religion. It is another of the many efforts of some Muslims to attack Judaism.(more) (less) (Delete) Why can't they just enjoy their religion without attacking others?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

7 New Videos on youtube

Interpreting Dreams,a Jewish view JewU 162
Jewish Blessings Brachote -2 JewU 166
Some Yiddish expressions JewU 167
Cliff notes on Jewish prayer and Bible melodies JewU 168
Secular Jewish Humanism JewU 169
Da Vinci, genius, the senses and Judaism JewU 170
History of religion -what order? JewU 171

Thursday, July 26, 2007

2 new videos on youtube

Jewish Blessings Brachote -2 JewU 166
Some Yiddish expressions JewU 167

Erev Rosh Hashanah- Starts with asking good questions

Sermon Erev Rosh hashanah starts with asking good questions

So who’s the smartest person who ever lived? Many people say Einstein. Jewish tradition suggested King Solomon. But actually, in a book about genius, Einstein is rated number ten. Shakespeare is number two, so who is the smartest, overall genius who ever lived? According to that genius book – Leonardo DiVinci.
I just read a new book called “How to think like Leonardo DiVinci.” Seven steps to genius every day. If that’s any book, Leonardo DiVinci certainly is one of the most amazing people ever. He thought of submarines, airplanes, helicopters and weapons that weren’t introduced in the battlefield for four hundred years. He helped reorganize biology, study of plants and animals, and the human body. He painted the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper, anticipated evolution, the law of gravity, and the sun not revolving around the earth way before the people that were credited with it anticipated it.
The thing I wanted to mention most about this book was that in the seven steps to think genius like Leonard DiVinci, guess what step number one is. It is something that a lot of Jewish mothers know intuitively. Because when a child comes back from Hebrew school, a lot of parents would say “What did you learn today?” But the Jewish mother is supposed to say to her child, “Did you ask a good question today?” Judaism is full of questions. Sometimes the questions are sometimes more important than the answer. Leonard DiVinci was a fellow that asked questions constantly, never stopped questioning. So this book calls the Italian word for curiosity the step number one in genius.
Yom Kippur demands we ask questions to begin the search for answers. Jews joke that a basic Jewish conversational style is answer a question with a question. How much did that cost? Why do you want to know? Or how much do you think it cost? Question after question was considered a key method of obtaining wisdom in ancient Greece, and is the basis of the Socratic school of learning.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said that coming to God is possible only after wonder-when we look at the universe and wonder how and why and what,

The bible really begins with a question. When Adam and Eve do the first naughty thing by violating G-d’s strict command not to eat from the tree, G-d asks a question. The question is the Hebrew word aleph yud chuf hay, ah yecha Where are you? That is the preeminent question that is asked in the ten days of awe. The basis of the question we must ask ourselves. Where are we? Where do we stand in relationship to the best that we could be. Where do we stand in relationship to G-d’s desire for how we’re supposed to live? Where do we stand in our relationship to our responsibilities to ourselves, to our family, to our community, to the world?
In the next generation after Adam, another question by God plays a central role in the story. When Cain killed Abel and so disappointed G-d. G-d simply said, “Where is your brother?” To which Cain gave the wrong answer, asking another question “Am I my brother’s keeper?” And the answer is obvious – “Yes, you are”. It reminds us of Moses challenge to the 2 ½ tribes in Numbers when they wanted to stop short of the land and Moses asked “will your brothers go to war and you stay here and do nothing?”

The first stage of thinking like a genius, like Davinci, is to ask the right questions-to always be wondering, asking, questioning.
Jews never had been content, even with respect to God. We question everything-even God. So many of our converts come to us with the frustration that in their prior religion, they could not ask. I have to admit that in my early Jewish education too, my parents were often frustrated when I reported that my questions were often answered with “because its geshribbin-its written-it’s a test of faith etc.
But that is not the true Jewish way. When God told Abraham in Genesis God was planning to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham asked him a question which was really a challenge-would not the Judge of all the earth do justice?
In Numbers, when the five daughters of the good man Zelophad died, they did not think it right that there dad’s land should be lost and challenged a law they thought unjust, and asked Moses who asked God, and God affirmed their challenge.

The most widely celebrated jewish experience of the year revolves around questions-the Torah says when you settle in the land your children will ask why do you observe these rituals? That came to be the basis of the 4 questions of the passover seder. No answer until you get a question

Feeling abandoned and hurt prompted questions-such as by the psalmist who said "I lift up my eyes to the heavens and wondered wherein comes my help" or Isaiah expressing god’s question-God looked down and saw injustice and wondered why there was no one to intervene.

It seems as though Yom Kippur is about answers-, not questions. We sinned thisly and thusly. Rabbi David Woznica is a prominent rabbi in the Los Angeles area,
Formerly the director of the Center for Jewish Life at the 92nd Street Y.
He is fond of telling the story of how, when he was a child,
His parents -- mistakenly -- informed him that the tradition was
To strike one's heart during the Al Chet
Only for the sins that one had actually performed.

So, throughout his childhood and adolescence, every Yom Kippur,
He would read the list of sins, and make a judgment for each one whether he was guilty of it that year, or not.
We have sinned against you by speaking recklessly - yeah, I did that one.
We have sinned against you through bribery - no, not that I can think of.
We have sinned against you through arrogance - okay, a little.
We have sinned against you through impure thoughts -- yeah, I had a couple of those.
Until one year, when he went to a more traditional synagogue for Yom Kippur
And -- during the Al Chet, as he was choosing judiciously when to strike his heart,
He noticed - that the guy next to him was striking himself for EVERY SINGLE LINE!

And David Woznica couldn't believe it!
Get a load of this guy! What a jerk!
How could he possibly have had TIME to do all those things!?
But then, of course, he was shocked to notice the guy on the OTHER side of him
Was ALSO striking himself for every single line.
And the person in front of him.
And behind him.
And finally he came to the conclusion that perhaps his parents hadn't accurately transmitted the tradition to him.....

But YK is really about questions-we are forced to continuously ask ourselves questions
• Am I satisfied with the way I’m living my life and the person I’ve become? What would I answer if a booming voice from heaven confronted me with the question, "What do you think you’re
Doing down there with the life I’ve given you?"• What has been the quality of love that I’ve given and received?
This past year? Have I been willing to invest myself in the spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical intimacy that’s needed to sustain love? • What have I learned and taught this past year? Have I accepted?
The obligation to be a lifelong learner, growing in my capacity to co-produce the world with God?
• How would my community be different if all of us were committed to the vision and path of Torah? Has my relationship with my community been as a passive consumer of social and
Religious services or an active producer of a commonwealth of righteousness, truth, justice, freedom, peace, and kindness? • What has been the effect of my work on the world, both in?
Terms of the individuals I’ve touched personally and the ripple effects my work has had? Have I made doing well—acquiring position, possessions, prestige, and power—the exclusive purpose
Of my work in the world, or have I made doing good my highest priority—using the gifts I’ve been given to create more of God’s goodness in the world?

A Sage in the Talmud suggested the questioning does not even end at our death. He suggested that when we die, our judgment is based on questions:

How did we use our time on earth? Did we do our work with integrity? Did we do our part for universal peace? Did we live Jewishly? Did we raise a family? Among others.

It’s fruitful to consider what questions we’ll be asked by God. The entire purpose of these questions on this Holiest of days is obviously to help guide our next year to make it as holy a year as we can.

Its important to know what questions God will probably not ask us to and what we will be asked:

1... God won't ask what kind of car you drove. He'll
ask how many people you drove who didn't have transportation.

2... God won't ask the square footage of your house,
He'll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.

3... God won't ask about the clothes you had in your closet, He'll ask how many you helped to clothe.

4... God won't ask what your highest salary was. He'll
ask if you compromised your character to obtain it.

5... God won't ask what your job title was. He'll ask
if you performed your job to the best of our ability.

6... God won't ask how many friends you had. He'll ask
how many people to whom you were a friend.

7... God won't ask in what neighborhood you lived, He'll ask how you treated your neighbors.

8... God won't ask about the color of your skin, He'll
ask about the content of your character.

These are not tough questions. Want tough questions? watch the tv show
being as smart as a Jewish fifth grader-learn. These are life enhanciong, holiness enhancing questions.

So what are the answer to these questions? That we should be seeking everyday. The starting point though, the key to the answer is this:
It’s the answer Abraham gave when G-d called his name in the Torah reading in the second day of Rosh Hashana. It comes from Isaiah when he’s called by God to serve as a prophet. It is the name of one of the most powerful prayers of Rosh Hashana – It is: Hineni, here I am.
Let’s ask ourselves everyday, starting right now. Let’s our answer first be., heneni-here I am ready-ready to aspire to higher levels of Holiness .

Debate on that Orthodox Rabbi

Dear Rabbi,

Your comments below has created a lot of discussion in my household. Some VERY NEGATIVE and some in agreement. The one thing that everyone agreed with is that by your sending out this email you in fact were doing, in another way, what that other Rabbi did to that lady. That is to create a dislike and no tolerance for another point of view, even though you don't agree with his position. We think it would have been better to just call the Rabbi and express your disdain. Not that it would do any good or change his attitude, but then you and he could agree to disagree.

My response

I don't agree, obviously with the negative views. There is a HUGE difference between criticizin, anonomously, a view of sinat chinom and public embarrament, with no criticism of Orthodoxy as a movement of judaism vs his diatribe against non-Orthodox Judaism and the sin of embarrasing someone sitting in front of him. This view among many Orthodox, must be brought to light. Sinat Chinom and public humiliation is a terrible sin. This holier- than- thou attitude among some religious, leads to disaster, as it did in the Second Temple's destruction. Public humiliation is akin to murder. The Torah commands us (Lev, 19) to rebuke when necessary. Its not just that Rabbi, whom I will call, who needs a reminder, but the Jewish people. Maybe those in your family who were upset will also be more attuned when they hear this kind of negativity. My view on this. The view that non-Orthodox rabbis aren't rabbis and teach lies, is prevalent in Israel, and is leading to a crisis in many directions.

Sermon topic: aren't sports wonderful

Sermon aren't sports wonderful

aren't sports wonderful-? or is anyone left riding bikes who hasn't taken drugs? Does Barry Bonds deserve the home run title? How many NBA games were fixed? And that is just from this week's news.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

10 Fall Holiday Videos of mine

10 Fall Holiday Videos of mine
Origins of Jewish holidays
Selihote-penitential service prior to Rosh Hashanah JewU 123
Origins of Jewish holidays
High Holiday Bible readings JewU 153
Rosh Hashanah Jewish New year
Shofar-Ram's horn JewU 94
Yom Kippur Jewish Atonement Day
Repentance-Teshuva in Judaism
Origin of Yizkor memorial service
How world's smartest person helps with Yom Kippur JewU 163

Erev Sukkot Sept 26 Yizkor
Oct. 4 Simhat Torah eve Oct. 4
Sukkot and Simhat Torah

A new History Major for JewU

14. Jewish History

Related Videos
Jewish history Abraham to Hannukah
12 tribes of Israel JewU 143
Cohenim Priests In Judaism
Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots JewU 164
False Messiahs in Jewish History JewU 165
Anti-Semitism-a brief history
Hasidim 101
Jewish Denominations Movements
Great Jews series Maimonides Rambam JEwU 118
Great Jews series Abraham Joshua Heschel 100 years JEwU 117

New videos

Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots JewU 164
False Messiahs in Jewish History JewU 165

My Veetchanan (weekly portion this week) related videos

My Veetchanan (weekly portion this week) related videos
Ten Commandments jewu 22

Mezuza-what is that box on a Jewish home? JewU 41

Shma first and last paragraphs sung JewU 149

The Shema-Hear O Israel Lord our God Lord is One JewU 89

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sign up form for May Israel trip

Ezra – Habonim, The Niles Township Jewish Congregation
May 18, 2008 (send in with $500 per person deposit to EHNTJC -$520 if by credit)

Passport Information: (Please include Mr., Mrs. Or other titles as Dr., Rabbi, etc.)
1. Name (as it appears on your passport) _________________________________ Nickname _______________
Birth date: ______________________________ Passport # _______________________________________________
Country of Origin ______________________________________________ Expiration Date __________________
2. Name (as it appears on your passport) _________________________________ Nickname ________________________
Birth date: ______________________________ Passport # _______________________________________________
Country of Origin ____________________________________________ Expiration Date __________________
Please attach a clear photocopy of your passport identification page. Passport should be valid for a minimum of 6 months after planned return. If you need a renewed passport, please contact the U.S. Passport office for information.

Mailing Address/ Telephone:
Street ______________________________________________________ Apt # __________________
City ______________________________ State ________________________Zip _______________________________
Home Telephone ( ) _________________________________________ Work ( ) ______________________
Fax ( ) _________________________ E- Mail Address _______________________________________________

Air Travel:
I wish to extend to Eilat _____ Yes _____ No

I/We would like to extend my stay in Israel until _______________________________________

I/We will need additional hotel arrangements _______________________________________

Special Arrangements:


Other Dietary Request (plane service only) ____________________________________________
On the plane I/We would like to sit next to (subject to availability) ________________________

Single Room ($ __________ additional cost) Assign me a roommate
I would like to room with ___________________________________________________________

(If we are unable to provide a roommate for you, the single supplement charge will apply. Roommates will be assigned on a first come first serve basis)

Insurance: In order to cover any pre-existing conditions – Anyone who wish to have travel insurance, the travel agent needs to know within 2 to 3 days of their deposit date. The insurance company will cover pre-existing conditions if insurance is bought within 13 days of deposit date.

new video- Aging well -a Jewish view JewU 158

A new video on youtube

Aging well -a Jewish view JewU 158

Israel 's achievements in the first month of 2007

Israel 's achievements in the first month of 2007
Despite the second Lebanon war, the divestments, and the boycotts,Israel's economy enjoyed the largest growth in its GNP of any Western country at 8% for the last quarter of 2006. Foreign investment hit a remarkable high of over US$13 billion and the budget deficit was under 1%. Industrial exports, excluding diamonds, rose 11% to $29.3 billion in 2006 with the hi-tech sector leading the surge, according to the Manufacturers Association of Israel . Israel 's hi-tech industry exported $14.1 billion in goods last year, growing 20% from 2005.

What follows is a selection of Israel 's achievements in the first month of 2007 :

1. Scientists in Israel found that the brackish water drilled from underground desert aquifers hundreds of feet deep could be used to raise warm-water fish. The geothermal water, less than one-tenth as saline as sea water, free of pollutants, and a toasty 98 degrees on average, proves an ideal environment.

2. Israeli-developed designer eyeglasses promise mobile phone and iPod users a personalized, high-tech video display. Available to US consumers next year, Lumus-Optical's lightweight and fashionable video eyeglasses feature a large transparent screen floating in front of the viewer's face that projects their choice of movie, TV show, or video game.

3. When Stephen Hawkings visited Israel recently, he shared his wisdom with scientists, students, and even the prime minister. But the world's most renown victim of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, also learned something - due to the Israeli Association for ALS' advanced work in both embryonic and adult stem cell research, as well as its proven track record with neurodegenerative diseases, the Israeli research community is well on its way to finding a treatment for this fatal disease which affects 30,000 Americans.

4. Israeli start-up Veterix has developed an inno vative new electronic capsule that sits in the stomach of a cow, sheep, or goat, sending out real-time information on the health of the herd to the farmer via email or cellphone. The e-capsule, which also sends out alerts if animals are distressed, injured, or lost, is now being tested on a herd of cows in the hopes that the device will lead to tastier and healthier meat and milk supplies.

5. The millions of Skype users worldwide will soon have access to the newly developed KishKish lie-detector. This free Internet service, based on voice stress analysis (a technique commonly used in criminal investigations), will be able to measure just how truthful that person on the other end of the line really is.

6. Beating cardiac tissue has been created in a lab from human embryonic stem cells by researchers at the Rappaport Medical Faculty and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology's biomedical engineering faculty. The work of Dr. Shulamit Levenberg and Prof. Lior Gepstein has also led to the creation of tiny blood vessels within the tissue, making possible its implantation in a human heart.

7. Israel 's Magal Security Systems is a worldwide leader in computerized security systems with products used in more than 70 countries around the world protecting anything from national borders to nuclear facilities, refineries, and airports. The company's latest product, DreamBox, a state-of-the-art security system that includes intelligent video, audio and sensor management, is now being used by a major water authority on the US East Coast to safeguard the utility's sites.

8. It's common knowledge that dogs have better night vision than humans and a vastly superior sense of smell and hearing. Israel 's Bio-Sense Technologies recently delved further and electronically analyzed 350 different barks. Finding that dogs of all breeds and sizes bark the same alarm when they sense a threat, the firm has designed the dog bark-reader, a sensor that can pick up a dog's alarm bark and alert the human operators. This is just one of a batch of innovative security systems to emerge from Israel , which Forbes calls "the go-to country anti-terrorism technologies."

9. Israeli company BioControl Medical sold its first electrical stimulator to treat urinary incontinence to a US company for $50 million. Now it is working on CardioFit, which uses electrical nerve stimulation to treat congestive heart failure. With nearly five million Americans presently affected by heart failure and more than 400,000 new cases diagnosed yearly, the CardioFit is already generating a great deal of excitement as the first device with the potential to halt this deadly disease.

10. One year after Norway 's Socialist Left Party launched its boycott Israel , the importing of Israeli goods has increased by 15%, the strongest increase in many years, Statistics Norway reports.

In contrast to the efforts of tiny Israel to make contributions to the world so as to better mankind, one has to ask what have those who have strived to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth done other than to create hate and bloodshed?

8 videos for the High Holidays on youtube

8 videos for the High Holidays on youtube

Origins of Jewish holidays
High Holiday Bible readings JewU 153
Rosh Hashanah Jewish New year
Shofar-Ram's horn JewU 94
Yom Kippur Jewish Atonement Day
Repentance-Teshuva in Judaism
Origin of Yizkor memorial service
How world's smartest person helps with Yom Kippur JewU 163

4 youtube videos for veetchanan portion

These 4 videos on youtube of mine are meaningfulo for this week's Torah portion-Vetchanan

Mezuza-what is that box on a Jewish home?
Ten Commandments
The Shema-Hear O Israel the Lord our God the Lord is One
Shma first and last paragraphs sung JewU 149

Sunday, July 22, 2007

New videos of mine on youtube

New videos of mine on youtube

Intro to Devarim-Deuteronomy JewU 160
Have a problem with a Biblical verse? JewU 161
How world's smartest person helps with Yom Kippur JewU 163

Trip to Israel Land Package

Israel Trip Land Package

The price for the above is per person in double occupancy based on bed and breakfast -Land Package $2350. This does not include ELAL roundtrip fare which we will have shortly.
20 participants minimum. If 28 go, there will be a per person refund of $170.
The price includes:
* 9 Full days English speaking guide, licensed by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.
* 9 Full days luxurious bus tourism standard.
* 3 Overnights driver and guide. (Tiberias & Tel Aviv )
* 9 Overnights 4 Star Hotels
*Jerusalem - May 19-25/2008- 6 nights
*Tiberias -May 25-27/2008- 2 nights
*Tel Aviv -May 27-28/2008 - 1 night
*All breakfasts.
*Tips to driver and guide
*5 Dinners
*Entrance fees to all sites mention in the itinerary.
*Single Supplement: $ 530
*Extension to Eilat and tour to Petra
Eilat May 28-31,2008 (3 nights)
$780 per person
Petra May 29,2008 (1 day)
$180 per person
*The prices does not include:
Meals not mentioned, personal expenses, etc.

Reserve your spot with $500 deposit check to EHNTJC or $520 if by credit card.
Tour operator needs to know ASAP about Eilat/Petrta extension because hotel rooms are in short supply

Question on "problematic" mitzvot

Question from Youtube viewer
Hi Rabbi,

I hope all is well.

I read today the majority of the 613 mitzvot for the first time.

I was hoping you could elaborate on some:

199 To keep the Canaanite slave forever (Lev. 25:46) (affirmative).

That does not sound good.

There was also about a rapist victim marrying a rapist.

302 That one who has raped a damsel and has then (in accordance with the law) married her, may not divorce her (Deut. 22:29) (negative).

I was hoping you can comment.

I understand thousands of years ago the system was slightly different (sort of hence why conservative Jews and reformists reinterpret Jewish law every generation), however are these mitzvot still "valid"? You mentioned yourself that there are 613 we should live by.

There are a couple of others but I do not have the time at the moment to go through the list again. I remember others also being about animal sacrifice in the temple (which I know many Jews hope to recreate 'when the time comes') which to me, especially as a vegetarian, sounds like a bad way of "connecting" with god with an out of date practise.

My reply: great question.
1.Of the 613, hundreds do no apply for those not in israel and since the temple was destroyed
2. The rabbis in the talmud defined and limited some of the "problematic" mitzvot in such a way that they were no longer issues-such as the ones you mentioned. Example-execute a stubborn and rebellious child (never was and never will be such a case) , or allowing a husband to anul a vow (only if the bride is 11-12 years old).
We are not a religion based on a literal reading of the Torah, that was the Karaites. Wew are a religion based on what our Sages said and say the Torah means.
See my video on sacrifices which explains that. Hope that helps a bit

Saturday, July 21, 2007

New video Asking Good Jewish questions, JewU 159

New video Asking Good Jewish questions, JewU 159

Aging "with young people of all ages."

A friend was once interviewed for the position of rabbi by a search committee who
asked me an interesting question: "Who do you get along better with, old
people or young people?" The answer came quickly, from some deep source
inside me. "I get along better," He replied, "with young people of all ages."
He got the position.

Friday, July 20, 2007

story from a Jew-by-Choice

I just received your newsletter about the Orthodox Rabbi. When I first wanted to convert, it took me months to work up enough nerve to go into a Synagogue and ask about conversion. I was happy all day knowing that that day would be the start of something very meaningful. I went into a synagogue on Devon Avenue in the city. I approached a man who I assumed was a Rabbi because of his clothing and beard, etc. I started asking about conversion and before I could even get past the first sentence, he said; "The only way for you to become Jewish is if you died and were reborn to a Jewish mother." And that was it. He also made it very clear that any further attempts at conversion would be met in a similar fashion.
I was absolutely devastated. I just walked around in absolute hopelessness and shock. I was so shaken up by this encounter that I don't even remember where I was parked, how long it took me to get back to my car or the name of the synagogue. It took several more months before I worked up enough courage to try it again. I have nothing bad to say about this person because he obviously was so devoted to his beliefs and Judaism that he felt obligated to be this stern with me. Had it not been for him, I would never have met you, proving that G-d ALWAYS knows how to work things out properly.

Update on that Orthodox rabbi

Update on that Orthodox rabbi. Someone who studied in our program but decded they wanted to try and go for an Orthodox conversion, was studying with that same Rabbi and gave up, and now wants to convert with us here. He told me he regularly heard that kind of evil talk about non-Orthodox Rabbis from that man.

PHD awarded

JewU is awarding its first BA, MA and PHD to a fellow in Oklahoma City who majored in
Synagogue and prayer. He watched 75 videos, took the test and sent me a list of all the videos. Congrats!!!!! For information about this go to my website at

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Read this and weep about an Orthodox rabbi:

Read this and weep about an Orthodox rabbi-:

A woman we taught and converted, together with her husband, were in the city and went looking for a Shabbat morning service. They walked into an Orthodox synagogue. The husband led part of the service. Afterwards, the Rabbi invited them back for lunch. According to the husband, the Rabbi kept probing about the wife, until the husband mentioned she had converted with us. The Rabbi then spent the entire rest of the meal, with his family present, telling them that she was not Jewish, that non-Orthodox Rabbis lies, that only Orthodox Judaism is right and that my wife, whom converted Conservative, and is a commited Jew and teacher of Judaism, is not even Jewish. He specifically singled my predecessor and me out as examples of non-Orthodox rabbis who teach lies. Now as far as I now, I have never met this man, he has never heard us teach, does not know my wife at all.
I believe Orthodox Judaism is founded on a few fundamental errors
which make it flawed. There are things about it that are good.
A few of the critical flaws inherent among all Orthodox believers:
1.They think the Torah is entitely written by Moses, dictated by God, That is patently false.
2.They have a fundamental misunderstanding of how Jwish law has changed, can change.
3. Women are treated completely unequally.
4. From this example and many others, many seem to be intolerant and demeaning about nonm-Orthodox Jews

But this is not even the main point
That rabbi sinned in numerous ways:
1. He defamed my wife and me
2. He committed the sin of sinat chinom-hatred of fellow jews
3. He committed a sin described as worse than murder in publicly embarrasing the wife.

I wish this were an isolated case but it happens way to often

I am going to call the rabbi to let him know that I know what happened. These stories need to be told to bring these horrors to light. We have enough challenges without small inded fantatics spewing causeless hatred about fellow teachers of Judaism and shaming innocent and sincere converts to Judaism.

Monday, July 16, 2007

New videos on youtube

Happiness from a Jewish view JewU 156
What we learn fromn the daughters of Zelophad JewU 157

Sunday, July 15, 2007

6 new videos on youtube

Enroll in JewU JewU150
Choseness and Judaism Jewu151
Biblical Book of Jonah-its meaning JewU 152
High Holiday Bible readings JewU 153
Introduction to the Torah JewU 154
How do non-Jews achieve salvation? Noahide laws JewU 155

Saturday, July 14, 2007

142 videos watched-this note makes it worthwhile

142 videos watched-a message on youtube
"Dear rabbi-
I'd like to thank you for the wonderful work you are doing by posting your videos.
I am a Jew living in Bucharest, Romania. I've watched your videos and I benefited enormously, since growing up in the communist Romania in the 80s made it impossible to get a proper Jewish education. In that age, as the communist regime was getting to the point where it collapsed eventually, it became more and more nationalistic and reclusive. Of course, this also meant more antisemitism and an abrupt fall of the living standard. Therefore, I only learned about Judaism what my father could tell me behind close doors. Only later in my live I tried to learn on my own. My father had died shortly after the fall of the communist regime, but he had given me an old notebook with a few transliterated prayers, so I was able to go to a synagogue and say kodesh.

After watching 142 of your videos I feel like I know you."

As soon as he chooses a major and takes the 100 question test, he will get my first phd-plenty hochma and deah degree from JewU.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

New Videos

New videos

Torah Portion Matot Masei ends Numbers JewU 148

Baha'i and Judaism JewU 147

Shma first and last paragraphs sung JewU 149

Jewish Songs and Prayers JewU 144

Jewish Songs and Prayers JewU 145
Jewish Songs and Prayers JewU 146

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Sermon – First Day of Rosh Hashanah-We are the World’s stewards.

Sermon – First Day of Rosh Hashanah-We are the World’s stewards.

Happy New Year, Chag Samach everyone. We come together on this first day of the new Jewish year of 5768 to celebrate as a people, an opportunity for a fresh start. One of the classic expressions associated with the New Year is Yom Horat Olam, the day of the creation of the world. Our sages said that this day marks the anniversary of the creation of the universe. Now we don’t believe this to be literally true, but it is fascinating that on the day on which most Jews come for a religious experience to the synagogue other than Yom Kippur, the main focus of our sages for this day had to do with not only the beginning of the ten days of repentance when we reflect on our own selves, but also to contemplate G-d’s creation of the universe and our role in it. I want to take the opportunity on this day and this year, to talk about our responsibility to our planet, whether we ae inflicting damaging and irreparable harm to it and what we can do.

The first question I want to address is, is it a Jewish problem? Whenever I approach a question as to whether it has Jewish aspects to it, I ask myself, “are there mitzvot involved”? The way in which Jews are to look at the world is from a viewpoint of Mitzvah. What has G-d commanded us regarding this particular issue? In reflecting on the question of the earth and our responsibility in terms of mitzvot/Jewish Observation, I come up with the following:

1. It says specifically in the Torah that we are to not only have dominion over the earth but also to guard the garden. Now that is not a Halachic legal category but it is deeply imbued in Jewish values. It is understandable that Jews have taken the lead on issues of the environment because of this intrinsic commitment and value we have, going back all the way to the beginning of the Torah. God gave us this beautiful earth and it is ours not only to take from it what we need to survive, but also to guard it and take care of it. This idea is again addressed in a beautiful, rabbinic legend, a Midrash. The text presents a powerful image: God takes Adam for a tour of the garden, and points out all the flora and fauna and says to him, “Behold My works, how splendid they are. All that I have created, I created for your sake.” It continues: “Now listen up – do not ruin or destroy my world. Sh’im kilkalta, ayn mee sh’taken achrecha –if you mess it up, there is no one to clean up after you.” (Kohellet Rabba 7:13) The point could not be made more clearly.

2. We have the concept in Judaism of Tikkun Olam, of restoring the broken world. This not only on the level of contentious issues between human beings, but if the world is broken in some way and I will suggest that it is in a moment, we have a responsibility based on the principle of Tikkun Olam, to do everything we can within reason, to repair it.

3. We have the Jewish value concept of Pikuah Nefesh, to save our lives. We are not permitted to do anything to harm ourselves. In fact, we are obligated to do things to protect our lives and others.

4. The value of don’t stand idly by while the blood of your neighbor is spilled. From Leviticus Chapter 19, the Holiness Code. If we are endangering ourselves or we see others in danger, we are obligated by Jewish Law to do something about it and not stand idly by.

5. We have a Jewish value of Ohave Habriot, to love our fellow creation. This year bald eageles were removed from the listof endangered specifies., the one great symbol of America. When the Mayflower landed, there were probably 500,000 bald eagles and now there are 10,000. But there were only about 500 a while ago when they went on the endangered species list, and it looks like that species, at least temporarily, has been saved. We have to love our fellow creatures and when our actions endanger them, we must be concerned.

6. The sixth principle in Judaism is called Baal Tashchit. We are not permitted to waste things. There is a law in Deuteronomy that says that when the Israelites were besieging a city, they could not destroy the fruit trees because they knew that after the siege was over people would still need the fruit trees. From that law, it was derived that we were not allowed to waste. And so, not wasting world resources becomes a Jewish value.

7. Tsar Baalia Hayyim. We are not to bring or inflect unnecessary pain upon any living creature. If the things that we do bring pain and discomfort to other creatures besides human beings, that is forbidden by Jewish law.

8. Bichirah Hofsheet-fre will. We have a choice in how we live and how much we add to or help this problem

9.The Jewish people celebrate Earth Day each and every week, as we are doing today, beginning at sundown each Friday. We call it Shabbat. Our beautiful tradition, long before recreational shopping existed, instituted one day a week on which we stop, look and appreciate. Rather than “Stop and Shop” we stop and give thanks.

As I see it, Shabbat is the ultimate environmental mitzvah. Living outside of Israel, none of the agricultural laws of the Torah apply to us. But Shabbat applies equally in Israel and in the Diaspora. The lessons it teaches of appreciating God’s creation are vitally significant. Friday night, we begin Shabbat as the sun sets, reminding ourselves that the ultimate master of the universe is the creator, not some corporation which decrees the work day to end according to its schedule. Some Jews have the misconception that Shabbat is a day on which everything is forbidden. The philosopher and Holocaust survivor Eric Fromm has a wonderful explanation for the forbidden labors of Shabbat. All of them, he says, remind us that it is God who is the Creator, not us. Six days a week, we create. On Shabbat, we set our physical creativity aside and admire the work of the Almighty. Rather than seeing these prohibitions as restrictions, Fromm understand them to be sigificant theological lessons, leading us to appreciate the gift of nature with which God has entrusted us.

Shabbat observance has so much potential as an environmental mitzvah.
If consuming fuel by driving our cars is a problem, doesn’t it stand to reason that not driving one day in seven, except perhaps to the synagogue, will make a positive contribution?
If buying too much is contributing to exhausting the resources of the earth, doesn’t it make sense that putting away the wallet and credit cards one day If six days a week our consumerism is stoked by advertisements on the TV, marketing calls on the phone, and pop-up ads on our computers, wouldn’t being free of all that one day a week be a blessing?
What is particularly nice about this suggestion is that even if I am wrong, and Shabbat observance does nothing at all for the environment, it will be a great blessing to you and your family.

Those 9 concepts are just a few of the ideas of Jewish traditions, commandments and values which help guide us to an understanding that environment is a topic of Jewish concern.

Secondly, I ask myself, is this topic High Holiday worthy? Well I can’t think of anything that is more holiday worthy than the issue of “are we destroying the place where we live.” Are we defiling and making contaminated, tama is the Hebrew word – the place that we inhabit? We don’t have the technology yet to move our entire civilization to another planet. And so to destroy what we have, is suicidal.

Thirdly and finally, it comes down to the science of the matter, is this really a problem? Is there anything for a reasonable price that we can do without creating greater harm to fix it?

Is this a problem? I was hard to convince. I was slow to come around to this. Some believe that global warming it is simply a issue of cycles of the earth and that if we drill down far enough into the earth, we find out that every while there is a healing and cleaning of the earth and we have had drastic flooding before. In fact, the story of Noah in the Torah shows that we have had drastic flooding. In the area around the Masada, which hopefully some of you will visit with Gail and me in May, we are going to see. Maybe global warming and cooling are inevitable cycles. Maybe this is just part of the annual cycle of the seas rising and the lakes disappearing. They wouild say if Bangladesh is going to soon be overrun by water and hundreds of millions of people will have to find another place to live. That’s just the way it is. And if the polar icecaps in Antarctica are melting. Maybe it’s just part of nature. There are some scientists who say that there is no compelling evidence that the warming trend we see will amount to anything close to catastrophe, that the earth is always warming and cooling.
But, I don’t think science supports that view. Al Gore says the oil industry is spending $10 million a year to create the impression that there is disagreement in the scientific community about global warming...He says global warming exacerbated by human activity is the subject of one of the strongest scientific consensus views in the history of science.
I don’t believe its just a simple matter of historical cycles of nature. At the very least we are not helping matters, and in fact we are exacerbating the problem.. A new global warming report issued recently paints a near apocalyptic vision of the earth’s future. More a billion people in need of water, extreme food shortages in Africa, a planetary landscape ravaged by floods and species becoming extinct. Despite the harsh version, scientist criticize it by saying the findings were watered down at the last minute by government bureaucrats seeking the fast call for action. So it is actually a lot worse than that. Even in a softened form, the report outlined arrays of devastating affects that will strike all regions of the world at all levels of society. Those without resources to adapt to the changes will suffer the greatest impact according to the study
In India officials warn that climate change could destroy vast swaths of farmland, affeting food production and adding to the woes of laready desperate peasants who live off the land. Researchers studying western Europe tempurature records have found the length of heat waves has doubled since 1880. And, of course, that directly violates the Jewish idea of God’s wrath being especially waged to those who hurt the vulnerable, who are often the widows and the strangers. The report paints a bleak picture of the future. Rising temperatures will re-configure coastlines around the world as oceans rise and sea water surges over the land. Melting glaciers and mountain ranges will release floods and rock avalanches. Streams will dwindle cutting off the main water supplies for more than 1/6th of the world’s population. Africa will suffer the most extreme effects with a quarter of a billion people there losing most of their water supplies. Food production will fall, etc.

But most scientists who study natural climate fluctuations, say the current warming trend is the result of human activity and is behaving differently from past temperature fluctuations. The rate of change is so accelerated that what is happening now seems to be unprecedented. They say that without realizing the consequences of our actions, we have begun to put so much carbon dioxide in the air surrounding our world that we have literally changed the heat balance between the earth and the sun. The average temperature will increase to levels humans have never known and put an end to the climate balance on which our civilization depends. The concentration of CL2 having never risen above 300 points per million for at least a million years, is now 383 per million and we are moving closer to several tipping points that could within ten years make it impossible for us to avoid irretrievable damage to the planets, habitability for human civilization.

Its not just about damage to the earth. There are political consequences as well. Take for example our oil dependency. Thirty years after proposels to reduce dependency on foreign oil, oil prices are higher than ever and there is greater dependence on imported oil. Every dollar we spend on oil feeds the Arabs’ Oil nations, including Iran which feeds world-wide terrorism, which threatens America, the State of Israel and Jews.

There is a very serious problem. We can’t just turn a blind eye to.

Questions: So what then do we do about it?. Well, one question is – is it cost effective to do anything? How much are we willing to sacrifice? Unless there are very severe laws, business and governments will also weigh the issue how much it costs. Do we even have the technology to fix this.

Tom Friedman, New York Times columnist, author and Pulitzer Prize winner said in a New York Times column recently “the truth is the core of our energy crisis is in Washington. We have all of the technology that we need right now to make huge inroads in becoming more energy efficient and energy independent with drastically lower emissions. We have all of the Capital we need as well. But we need public policy to connect the energy and capital the right way. That is what is missing”

The same UN panel that concluded that we are in big trouble, said the fix was within reach. They had some good news. Climate change can be limited at what scientists said would be a reasonable price. And here’s really the clincher for us today.

What about the cost effectiveness?
Top climate economists say, cutting US emissions efficiently to hold greenhouse gas concentrations could cost the US twice as much pure year as it is now spending on the war in Iraq and racing too quickly toward efforts to cut could have consequences as well. Nuclear power – we know what the consequences there could be. Planning lots of new crops for bio-fuels could accelerate the deforestation. There are costs to alternative fuels

The average citizen can make valuable contributions by making small life-style change without waiting for governments to act. The report said that by rapidly wrapping up the use of renewable energy sources like solar, wind and hydro-electric power, we can make cars, homes and factories for energy efficient. They said that the cost of tackling climate change was comparatively reasonable. By spending a little over a tenth of 1% of the world’s income each year for 23 years, they said greenhouse gasses could be held nearly in check, avoiding the worse predicted environmental disasters. Most people conclude that it could be reasonable and that we could do much more. South Korea, for example, is breaking ground on the world’s biggest Solar Power Plant and will try to diversify its power sources and use cleaner energy. There is much that we can do. One thing is use our purchasing power to impact.

It is interesting now, that big companies are starting to get on board here. The New York Times reported in July that new companies are starting positions called Chief Sustainability Officers. They are not simply environmental watchdogs, they are to keep operations safe and regulated at bay for helping companies profit from the push to go green. I’ll just tell you about two names that you all know. Home Depot will introduce a label for nearly 3,000 products like fluorescent light bulbs that conserve electricity and match insect killers that promote energy conservation, sustainable and forestry and clean water. They will have 6,000 products by 2009 to become the largest green labeling program in America retailing and persuade competitors to speed up their own plans. And, it’s joining the largest retailer, Walmart in pursuing issues of public concern like climate change that stores have left generally before to government and environmental groups. And quite often now when you open up the paper, you see an ad for a company touting how responsible it is to the environment. For example, I just saw a Bos dishwasher ad that said that if every home that was going to buy a dishwasher this year bought their product, it would be like taking 500,000 pounds off the road. I don’t know if that’s true but certainly something to think about.

I want to make some concrete suggestions that things that we can personally do before we wait for government and business to help. I've got just 16 here. Thank me for keeping it short because I read a book called 1001 ways to save the earth, so I'm leaving out 985 of those suggestions.

1. Every time a light bulb burns out, replace it with a compact fluorescent light bulb. It is one of the easiest ways you can save the planet. Replacing one regular bulb in our home with a compact fluorescent would have enough energy to light more than 2.5 million homes for a year. They cost a little bit more but they last up to six times longer.
2. Hand cranked flashlights. Crank it for 30 seconds and it lasts up to 60 minutes of power. And they have AM and FM radios.
3. Go vegetarian or cut back on your meat consumption. Besides all the other health reasons, saving money and easier to keep kosher, it takes eight times more energy to produce a pound of meat as it does a pound of tofu. Now this is from a long time carnivore who ate meat every day. Now living with Gail has changed that and I eat meat very rarely until I sneak off to Ken’s kosher diner for a strip steak. But think of all the advantages in terms of Kashrut, saving money, health, and now the environment.
4. If you’re buying a new home, or you’re moving, go smaller. Houses between 1500 and 2000 square feet consume 40% less energy than McMansions. In over 4000 square feet, I get a kick out of people who are building 30,000 square feet homes, but making them green. Use a smaller house. Or next time you are in the market for a car, downsize it. Every hundred pounds a car weighs requires 2% more fuel to move it. Not every idea is a good idea- some believe that the US forcing lower gas mileage won't yoeld less miles driven-car owners, knowing that, in studies claim they will then feel fre to drive more. Some believe the key here is to raise the tax of gas to discourage driving.
5. Fly direct if you can. The take offs and the landings burn most of the fuel.
6. Or when you are not using an appliance, pull the plug. They estimate that 95% of the energy consumed by cell phone charges are when they are left plugged in. Between 2-6% of our electrical home energy consumed comes from wasted energy like that.
7. Don’t keep buying bottled water. Buy one bottle and keep refilling it. The amount of plastic used to produce those bottles and the amount of non biodegradable plastic we put in the ground hurts the economy. The US Conference of Mayors in June had a resolution calling for a study to examine the environmental impact that millions of empty water bottles have on municipal garbage operations.
8. When you are buying a TV think about it. Televisions account for about 4% of the energy consumption in the United States and the old TVs use a lot less energy than the new ones.
9. For people who say “I’m buying 5 pairs of organic blue jeans”, it actually uses a lot less energy if you buy one pair of non-organic blue jeans. Buying less: I I read an article recently about people who decided they are not going to buy anything for a year. Instead of just recycling, except for food, health and safety items, the group would go through an entire year by reusing, repairing and regifting or doing without. Long after the rest of us, the editorial said, have given up our vowels to spend more time on the treadmill, and less time in Dunkin Doughnuts, these people are debating whether to buy a new toilet brush was necessary or in the spirit. Haircuts, movies and meals out were ok. Buying a new Ipod instead of fixing an old was not. All of this seems a little overwrought, the editorial said, but there seems to be something to be said about living below you means. Maybe you don’t lie awake at nights worrying about how much you are contributing to landfill overflows. Maybe we are too busy worrying about the credit debt run up over the holidays. Either way, if we have a nagging sense that we are acquiring too much, we probably are. We could use the extra money, the extra closet space, and the earth could use a break.
10. Walk or bike more and drive less.
12. Continue recycling. We now proudly recycle our office paper
13. Plant a tree-one tree takes away the pollution of 13 cars
14. When we buy, buy green friendly products. The businesses will get the message.
15. Priuses are becoming status symbols. When buying a car, ask what kind of car Hillel would have bought.
16. When you grocery shop, bring along your own bags so stores don't add more unnessessary plastic and paper bags to the world. (Hope I haven't offended any bag salespeople).

Just as our body continues to repair itself and replace itself, so that we have a completely new body, every cell is changed every seven years. So the earth has the remarkable capacity to renew itself. They say creation happens every day. Lakes and rivers that were so befouled by pollution, that seemed to be dead, remember when Lake Erie caught on fire, now have revived, the same way that bald eagles that were once near extinction have been taken off the endangered list. There is a capacity for renewal. But it becomes a tipping point when things are so bad, they cannot be renewed or are lost. So we have to avoid that tipping point and let the earth restore itself to be healthy. There is a very famous expression in the Talmud that says to save one life is to save a universe. That always helps us understand the preciousness of each human soul. I never thought about this until now that the other side of that is how valuable the universe is. And not only if we don’t do anything while hundreds of millions of people maybe die, but surely the universe itself has undeniable value and must be preserved.

We well could throw up our hands saying al this is futuile since as the developing nations econimies grow, so does their use and forcasts for huge increases in neds of energy and cnsequently further adding to this problem.

The Torah contains two versions of the story of
creation. In the first, found in Genesis chapter 1,
mankind is the last thing created, except for Shabbat.
Humanity is the pinnacle of creation. The sages
compare this version of creation to when someone moves
into a new house. The furniture is moved in first.
Only when everything a person might nee dis in the
house does the family themselves move in. Thus the
last is the most important. God commands us to
multiply and fill the earth and subdue it – conquer it
– use it for our own purposes. The world is here for
our benefit. For this reason the sages taught that
when we die one of the first questions we will be
asked is Why did you not partake of every legitimate
pleasure and benefit in the world?

But chapter two of Genesis tells a different story of
creation, one in which mankind is created first, so
that God makes sure there is a caretaker before he
creates the garden. Following the same analogy then
here it is the garden, that is, the earth that is more
important. And indeed in this version the Torah is
very explicit. God places man in the garden in order
l’ovdah ul’shomrah, to guard it and to serve it. It is
the world that is of ultimate significance. Our
purpose in life is to take care of the world and to
sustain it. Rabbi Abraham ibn Ezra, a 12th century
Bible commentator wrote, “The ignorant have compared
humanity’s rule over the earth with God’s rule over
the heavens. This is not right, for God rules over
everything. The meaning of but the earth He gave over
to humanity is that humanity is God’s steward over the
earth and must do everything according to God’s word.”
Rabbi Haim Berlin of Volozhin went so far as to state
"Then man became a worker of the earth (i.e., a
farmer), and thereby the purpose of creation was

Through these two stories the Torah teaches us that
God obligates us to maintain a balanced relationship
with the world. We can and should derive benefit from
the world and its resources but only to the extent
that we are also able to preserve and maintain that

The rabbis bring this teaching home with a beautiful
midrash, found in Kohelet Rabbah, in which God takes
Adam by the hand and leads him around the garden. God
says to Adam: See My works, how fine and excellent
they are! All that I created, I created for you.
Reflect on this, and do not corrupt or desolate My
world. . Sh’im kilkalta, ayn mi sh’taken achrecha.
For if you do, there will be no one to repair it after
you.” What a profound teaching, coming to us across
the ages from some 1700 years ago.

The Torah is replete with laws about our environment.
We must allow our fields to lie fallow every seventh
year, the Sabbatical, so that they can rest and
rejuvenate. Fruit trees cannot be harvested until the
fourth year, as acknowledgement that their bounty is
from God, but also so that the tree is able to
properly mature. Even in warfare the Torah prohibits
cutting down fruit trees. From this the rabbis derived
a broader prohibition – baal tashchit – against
wasteful destruction of resources. They taught, for
example, that one must not adjust a lamp to burn too
quickly, for this would be wasteful of fuel. That
prohibition was laid down two thousand years ago, yet
can be applied today to how we set our thermostats and
what kind of automobiles we purchase.

In his treatise on Asthma, Maimonides as a physician
saw the ill effects environmental degradation could
have on the health, and he proposed regulations to
counter them. Joseph Caro, author of the Shulchan
Aruch, the most accepted code of Jewish Law, wrote
about the responsibility of communities to plant
trees. Various responsa of Rabbi Yitzhak ben Sheshet
(Ribash), of the early 14th century, deal with urban
pollution issues and their effects on urban dwellers.
Jewish philosophers such as, Rav Nachman of Breslov
and Rav Abraham Isaac Kook, Rabbis Shimshon Rafael
Hirsch and Abraham Joshua Heschel, all taught us about
the importance of our relationship to this earth and
the fact that God expects us to be stewards for this
creation He has loaned us for our benefit.

This is the season for taking stock, for asking
ourselves how we measure up to the expectations God
may have of us. On this day of all days, the day on
which we celebrate God’s creation, we should be asking
ourselves: How are we doing in relation to our
responsibility as shomrim, guardians, for this good
earth? Are we doing our job? Do we recognize that if
we allow this earth to fall into ruin, there is no one
to set it right after us? On the subject of global
warming, the answer is an abysmal “no.” If we are
serious about teshuvah, then one place to begin is
right here, by acknowledging the sins we have
committed by damaging Gods world, and by committing
ourselves to seeking to repair the damage that we have

One of the reasons for sounding the shofar, according
to Sa’adia Gaon, is to remind us of Creation, and of
our obligations to preserve that creation. This Rosh
Hashanah I invite you to join me in doing teshuvah for
all the ways in which we have hastened global warming.
I say join me because I acknowledge that I too have
done my share of ecological damage. When
it comes to global warming we are all guilty, but we
have to begin somewhere.

And like all teshuvah, this teshuvah requires more
than beating our breasts. It requ

So, my friends, on this day of Rosh Hashanah, when we celebrate creation of the earth, we have a solemn obligation to manage, by God, both in law and in values. to think carefully about what we personally can do. The great wisdom of our sages from the Mishnah say it is not up to us to finish the task, but neither are we to desist from it. Hillel reminded us that we can care for ourselves, if no one will be for us, who will be, but also if we are only for ourselves, what are we?

It is the story of the two fellows in the row boat. One fellow looks over and sees another one drilling a hole under his seat. He says “what are you doing?” The other fellow says “what do you care? it’s my side of the boat.” We are all in the same boat together. God gave us this beautiful universe. God does not want us to destroy it. We clearly have the capacity to destroy it. Somewhere between the two values of the torah and genesis, between having dominion over the earth, which we have, and having to tend and guard the garden, we will perhaps erred on the side of dominion, and lost sight of our responsibility to guard the garden. For the sake of all those animals who don’t have a voice, and for the sake of this planet that speaks to us and cries as it shows us what is happening. Let us personally do what we can with these suggestions to make a difference.. And let us use our power of voting and complaining and kevetching to help our government to move in the direction it should move in to balance and rebalance to save the earth. _(Hebrew)__________________ God’s spirit and grandor fills the whole universe. ----------

God says help me, be my partner, do not let me down. Save the earth.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

new videos

12 tribes of Israel JewU 143
Gematria Jewish numerology JewU 142

New Videos

Travel with us too Israel JewU 138
Mourner's kaddish how to say it JewU 139
Minyon Prayer quorum: rules and history JewU 140
God's Names, Bible, Talmud, Prayers JewU 141

Thursday, July 5, 2007

New videos on youtube

Jewish Songs series 1 Birkat hamazone JewU 134
Jewish Songs and Prayers series 2 JewU 136
Jewish Songs and prayers series #3 JewU 137
Favorite Jewish Jokes 4 JewU 133
Favorite Jewish Jokes 5 JewU 135

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Jew U degrees Ba Ma PHD

Welcome to Jew U - the Online Honorary Degree Program for Excellence in Jewish Educational Video Watching.

We offer three degrees-
Honorary BA BrachA degree
Honorary MA MAven degree
Honorary PHD Plenty Hochmah (wisdom) and Daah (knowledgeable)

Major Areas of Concentration include 1. Jewish Values 2. Understanding the Jewish people 3. Jews and others 4. Sabbath and Holiday 5. Synagogue, Prayer ,Ritual items 6. Lifecycle and Kashrut 7. Sacred texts and ideas 8. Weekly Torah readings 9. Israel 10. Societal Issues 11. Humor and Daily sermonettes

All students are required to take the common courses of:
Memorization videos (2) for Introduction to Judaism
Take the 100 Question exam and watch the 10 videos which answer them.

Requirements for BrachA BA degree besides the above common requirements:
1. Pick an area of concentration and watch all videos in that category.
2. Watch at least one other video from each are of the other areas.
3. Watch a minimum of 36 JewU videos

MA RquirementsSame as above but a total of 54 of JewU videos.

Same as above but a total of 76 of JewU videos.

Diplomas will be awarded.
Tuition: a committment of giving tzeddakah and/ or gmilut hasadim (good deeds) above your current levels must be made.

All videos in the curriculum can be seen at or go to youtube and search JewU.

"100 Questions" test
Every Jew Should requirement for JewU degrees
I The Bible
1. What is your Hebrew name and the Hebrew names of your father and mother? What do these names mean?
2. What is a Sidrah?
3. What is a Haftorah?
4. What are the three main divisions of the Hebrew Bible? What is the Hebrew name for the Bible? Why do Jews prefer not to use the term "Old Testament"?
5. Name the five Books of Moses. Describe what took place at Mt. Sinai. (Exodus Ch. )
6. Why was King David's reign considered such an important episode in Jewish history?
7. Who were the early kings of Israel and why was the country later partitioned into Israel and Judah?
8. Define a prophet. Name three important prophets.
9. What is the Talmud? Why was it called the Oral Tradi t i on?
I I The Synagogue
10. What are the three terms for a Synagogue in Hebrew and how does the modern synagogue live up to them?
11. Describe the Tailit and Tefillin and explain why and when they are worn.
12. How is a Torah written? How is it treated and why do we accord it so much respect?
13. What is an Aiiyah? On what special occasions other than Bar Mitzvah does one usually receive an Aiiyah?
I I I The Prayer Book
14. Define the terms S iddur and Mahzor.
15. What is the importance of the Shema and what do its three paragraphs say?
16. What is Shahar i t, Mi nha, Maar i v? What prayer is an indispensable pray

III The Prayer Book (continued)
17. What is the Hallel service and when is it recited? When is the Musaf recited?
IS. What is the meaning of the A1e n u prayer? Is it always recited only at the end of a service?
IV The Home
19. What is so special about being Jewish? What are your responsibilities along these lines?
20. What is a Mezuzzah? On which side of the door should it be placed? What does it signify?
21. What ritual objects are basic to making a home "Jewish"?
22. What does "Kosher" mean?
23. What does Ha 1achah mean? What role does it play among Jews today in the Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstruc-tionist and Reform movements?
24. What is the blessing that a Jewish woman recites over Sabbath candles and when are they kindled? What prayers does a father recite to his children and wife on Friday night?
25. What is Kiddush? On what occasions is wine used in Jewi sh ritual?
26. Recite the Hamotzi (Grace before meals). What isBirchat Hamazon? .........,....__„.._..
V Sabbath and Holidays
27. Why does the Jewish calendar change every year? What is the Hebrew word for calendar?
28. Name some Hebrew months of the year and the major holidays that occur during these months.
29. Why is the Sabbath (Shabbat) considered a cornerstone of Jewish tradition? How is it observed traditionally? Why does it have meaning for our society?
30. What is the Havdalah ceremony? What objects are used?
Sabbath & Holidays (continued)
31. In what ways is Yom Tov (the Festivals and High
Holidays) like Shabbat? In what ways does the >0 observance differ? Why do traditional American Jews observe the first two and last two days of Yom Tov unlike in Israel?
VI Sukkot - Simhat Torah
32. Why do we celebrate Sukkot and what is the significance of the Sukkah?
33. What are the four species used on Sukkot and what do they represent?
34. Why is Ecclesiastes (kohelet) read on Sukkot?
35. What is the Yizkor service and how often is Yizkor recited during the year?
36. Explain Simhat Torah and what Hakafot are. V I I Passover
37. What is the meaning of Pesach?
38. What is Hametz (unleavened foods) and what are the requirements for making a home ready for Passover?
39. Name some of the rituals of the Seder. What is the Haggadah?
40. Why is the Biblical book "The Song of Songs" read during Passover?
41. Why should the Holocaust be remembered? Do you think the Nazis should be forgiven?
42. What does "Counting the Omer" mean and what is Lag B'Omer?
VIII Shevuot
43. What does Shevuot mean and what is its significance?
44. Name the Ten Commandments and explain why they are still important to follow.
"100 Questions" - Page 4
v VIII S h e v u o t (continued)
45. Why is the "Book of Ruth" read on Shevuot? What is the attitude of the Book to the proselyte (i.e., a non-Jew who accepts Judaism).
IX Minor Festivals
46. What is Tisha B'av? What is its significance for us today?
47. What is the historical background of Hanukah?
48. In what order are the candles kindled on Hanukah?
49. What is the Megi11 ah or Scroll of Esther?
50. What is the story of Purim and how does it reflect Anti- semitism?
X High Holvdays
51. What is the meaning of Rosh Hashanah and what does the Ho 1y Day stress?
52. When is the Shofar blown and what does it symbolize?
53. What are some of the special prayers recited in the Mahzor on Rosh Hashanah?
54. Explain how Jews "confess" their sins, and how do Jews "repent"?
55. Why is the Sabbath between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur called Shabbat Shuva?
56. What is the importance of Yom Kippur and why do we fast?
57. What is the Kol Nidre prayer? What does it have to do with the theme of Yom Kippur?
58. What are some of the special prayers recited in the
Mahzor on Yom Kippur? Why is the Book of Jonah read
Yom Kippur afternoon? What is the Neilah Service?
XI The Lifetime of the Jew
59. Why is the ceremony of'Brit Milah" (circumcision) so significant for a Jewish boy?
60. When is a Jewish girl named?
"100 Questions" - Page 5 XI The Lifetime of the Jew (continued)
61 . What do we mean by performing a Mi tzvah? What do the terms Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah signify?
62. Why is it essential to continue Jewish education through our lifet ime?
63. Why do we insist that the meal following a Bar/Bat Mit'zvah or a wedding be part of the religious eelebrat i on?
64. Define the following terms relating to a Jewish Wedding: Huppah; Ketubah; Sheva Brachot.
65. Why do Jews break a glass at the end of a Jewish wedding ceremony?
66. Why do we stress s imp 1 i c i t y and economy in celebrating ahappy or a sad milestone in Jewish life? Give examp1es.
67. Do Jews believe in divorce? What is the meaning of Get?
68. What are some traditions regarding a Jewish funeral and a House of Shiva?
69. What is the most appropriate way to show sympathy for the bereaved?
70. Why do we recite the Mourner's Kaddish and when is it recited? Are there other types of "Kaddish"?
71. What do Jews believe about Heaven and Hell?
72. What is a Yahrzeit?
73. What is an unveiling? XI I Jewish Beliefs
7k. What do we mean about Jews being the "chosen people"?
75. Define Mess i ah and explain how Jews differ in their definition from Chr i s t iani t}'' s definition.
76. What is the Jewish view concerning Jesus?
"100 Questions" - Page 6
XII Jewish Beliefs (continued)
77. Should a Jewish home have a Christmas tree?
78. How does Judaism feel about Jews marrying non-Jews? Why is inter-dating risky?
79. Why is it important for a Jew to belong to a Synagogue? What does being "a good Jew" mean?
80. What does Tzedakah mean? Why is it important for a Jew to support all worthy causes?
81. What are the functions of a Rabbi and Hazzan? What does their training involve?
82. What is Orthodox Judaism and what is an Orthodox Jew's way of life? Identify the "Yesh1va. "
83. Explain Reform Judaism. How does Reform differ funda­mentally from Orthodoxy? Identify Hebrew Union College.
84. Describe Conservtive Judaism and what it stands for.
How should a Conservative observe the Mitzvot? Identify-the Jewish Theological Seminary. Describe Reconstruc-tionism and its Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
XIII Jewish History
85. Who was Ezra and what was his importance in connection with the Torah?
86. Identify Hillel and the Pharisees. What are some of Hillel's famous sayings?
87. Who was Rabbi Akiba and what was his connection with the Talmud?
88. What is the meaning of Midrash?
89. Define the term Halachah.
90. Define diaspora, and draw a map showing chronologically the rise of large Jewish communities outside of Israel.
91. Who was Moses Maimonides? What did he write and why is he regarded as the foremost Jewish philosopher?
92. What is the importance of the guidebook "Shulchan Aruch"? Can a Jew live by it today?
"100 Questions" - Page 7 XIII Jew!sh History (continued)
93. What is a Hasid? What did the Hasidic Movement of the 19th Century contribute to modern Judaism? What is the Lubavitcher Movement?
94. What is the world Jewish population today? American Jewish population? Why are we so concerned about a declining Jewish population?
XIV Israel
95. What does Zionism mean and when did the movement begin?
96. What roles did Theodore Hertzl and Chaim Weizmann play in shaping the movement?
97. What is the Balfour Declaration and what did it mean to the Jews?
98. Who were great personalities in the State of Israel since establishment in 1948?
99. What kind of government does Israel have and what is its relationship with Jews in the Diaspora?
100. Explain the following:
UN Resolution 242
West Bank
Palestinian Autonomy
Peace Movement

Hidur video mitzvah-doing something for God's honor JewU 131

Hidur mitzvah-doing something for God's honor JewU 131

Vegetarianism and Judaism JewU130

new video Vegetarianism and Judaism JewU130

New videos on youtube

New Videos
Women's Rights in Judaism JewU 127 (also for Pinhas)
Change in Jewish Law JewU 128 (also for Pinhas)
Thank God Blessings in Judaism JewU 129

My 5768 High Holiday sermons titles

5768 High Holiday sermons titles
Erev Rosh Hashanah-Have I got a secret for you-Judaism and the "Secret"
Rosh Day one- We are guardians of the earth-A Jewish view of saving the world
Rosh Day 2- The annual state of the Jewish people address
Ko Nidre Existentalism-"Why am I here" from a Jewish look
Yom Kippur morning-Learn, live , love Jewishly
Yizkor -The whale got Jonah-why care? Yizkor and remembering

video and a joke

New video
The book "Secrets" and Judaism

A Joke
A wealthy Jewish man buys a fabulous home in Beverly Hills, California.He brings in a local workman to decorate the place.When the job is finished, the homeowner is delighted but realizes that he's forgotten to put mezuzahs on the doors.He goes out and buys 50 mezuzahs and asks the decorator to place them on the right hand side of each door except bathrooms and kitchens. He's really worried that the decorator will chip the paint work or won't put them up correctly. However, when he comes back a few hours later, he sees that the job has been carried out to his entire satisfaction. He's so pleased that he gives the decorator a bonus. As the decorator is walking out of the door he says, "Glad you're happy with the job...""By the way, I took out the warranties in each one and left them on the table for you!"

If you don't know why this is funny, see my video
Mezuza-what is that box on a Jewish home? JewU 4103:24