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Yom Kippur, Shofar and Freedom #645

09/25/2020 09:20:00 AM


Rabbi Irwin Huberman

The Rabbi will resume his weekly e-Sermon next Friday. In its place, here is an e-sermon which he prepared earlier this week for rabbis and cantors at his seminary, the Academy for Jewish Religion.

We are looking forward to seeing everyone on Shabbat and Yom Kippur. If you are outside our immediate community and would like to join us for our virtual Yom Kippur services, please email our office...Read more...

Removing the Baffle from Judaism #644

09/11/2020 06:15:00 PM


Rabbi Irwin Huberman

Removing the Baffle from Judaism

One of the greatest misconceptions within Judaism is that you need a rabbi or a cantor to get by.

Don’t get me wrong. When it comes to lifecycle events — births, weddings, baby namings, bar and bat mitzvahs, funerals — or when the world around us seems surreal or unbearable, it’s always helpful to have a clergy member at your side. They help share the load. They provide comfort and...Read more...

My Bar Mitzvah, 1966 #643

09/04/2020 04:40:00 PM


Rabbi Irwin Huberman

My Bar Mitzvah, 1966

Fifty-four years ago this weekend, my relatives and friends gathered in Montreal on Labor Day weekend to celebrate my bar mitzvah.

If you’re counting, that’s three times chai — three times life. But then again, every day is a celebration.

During the past week, I’ve been thinking a lot about life and about who I was at age 13. I surely was not a man; I was awkward and a...Read more...

Was It Our Fault? #642

08/28/2020 05:45:00 PM


Rabbi Irwin Huberman

Parashat Ki Tetsei/2020  Was It Our Fault?

It is perhaps one of the blessings and the curses of Judaism that we as a people have tended to be our own worst critics.

Throughout history, we have asked ourselves, “Have we contributed in some way toward the pain, injustice or persecution that we have endured?”

This question emerges in this week’s Torah portion, Ki Tetzei, as we are reintroduced to the...Read more...

What kind of Tree are We? #641

08/21/2020 05:00:00 PM


Rabbi Irwin Huberman

Parashat Shoftim: "For man is the tree of the field.”
(Deut. 20:19)   What Kind of Tree Are We?


In this week’s Torah portion, we are inspired by our Sages' discussion of the connection between war and fruit trees.

“What kind of tree are you?”

This week's parashah, titled Shoftim (Judges), is one of the most quoted in our tradition. It encourages magistrates to think twice...Read more...

Is God Pleased? #640

08/14/2020 04:50:00 PM


Rabbi Irwin Huberman

Parashat Re'eh: "Do what is good and upright in the eyes of God.”   Is God Pleased?


The other day, while working on a book capturing the words of my late mentor, Rabbi Joseph Ehrenkranz, I came across a quote, which I’ve been thinking about all week.

“No matter how hard you pray or all the promises you make to God, if you aren’t liked by other people, then God is not impressed,” Rabbi Joe told me...Read more...

Strawberries in Decemer? #639

08/07/2020 04:45:00 PM


Rabbi Irwin Huberman

Parashat Eikev: "And you shall eat, be satisfied and bless.”
(Deuteronomy 8:10)   Strawberries in December?


As a child growing up in Montreal, once a year, I would visit one of the most incredible and mysterious stores with my mother — Dionne’s Supermarket.

It was located at the west end of St. Catherine Street about two blocks from the famed Montreal Forum.

One day, in December 1961, my...

The Torah and Quarantine 15 #638

07/31/2020 11:45:00 PM


Rabbi Irwin Huberman

Parashat Va'ethanan: "Take utmost care of yourself..." (Deuteronomy 4:9)

The Torah and Quarantine 15


There is a phrase associated with the deadly Covid-19, which has been making its way within medical and nutritional circles.

It’s known as Quarantine 15 — and it refers to the fact that so many Americans have gained weight during the...Read more...

The Lost HOliday of Sadness #637

07/24/2020 06:30:00 PM


Rabbi Irwin Huberman

The Lost Holiday of Sadness


There is a story told about Napoleon Bonaparte, who — one summer evening more than 2,000 years ago — took a walk through the streets of Paris.

As his entourage passed a synagogue, he heard the voices of the Jews inside crying and weeping. He sent an aid inside to find out what was going on.

A few minutes later, the aid returned with an explanation: The Jews were mourning...Read more...

A Virtual Rosh Hashanah? #636

07/17/2020 06:00:00 PM


Rabbi Irwin Huberman

A Virtual Rosh Hashanah?


There is a Midrash — a rabbinical legend — about the day God learned a lesson from Moses.

Moses approaches God and asks for clarification of a line in the Torah, which reads: “God punishes the children…for the sin of their parents to the third and fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6-7)

On the surface, the sentence makes some sense.

Indeed, many people...

Wed, September 30 2020 12 Tishrei 5781