Friday, November 11, 2011

Shabbat-O-Gram for November 11/11/11

Shabbat Shalom, on a day when we salute our veterans and set our clocks to 11/11/11. Mazal tov to Sydney Gubner, who becomes Bat Mitzvah tomorrow afternoon. And click here to see the Torah commentary given by last week’s Bat Mitzvah, Tori Katz.


Aside from Veterans Day, this week is the yahrzeit of Reb Shlomo Carlebach z’l, whose music has revolutionized how Jews pray. We’ll be paying tribute to him and his music this evening at services. Join us at 7:30. In honor of this yahrzeit, I am pleased to release to the public for the first time this vintage recording of a concert featuring Reb Shlomo, recorded in the mid 1960s at my home shul, Kehillath Israel in Brookline, Mass. It also features my father, Cantor Michal Hammerman z'l and Cantor Alex Zimmer. My dad brought Reb Shlomo to Brookline as part of the local Jewish Music Forum. The recording features not only some of his famous melodies, but his inimitable storytelling style. My father had the concert taped, but it was never mass produced or released. Until now. Click here to listen to this vintage recording.


This has been a sobering week at Penn State. We can only be heartbroken to hear of the victims of these horrible alleged crimes, and perplexed – if not enraged - about the efforts to cover them up. I’ll be sharing some reflections at services on Shabbat morning (OK for older kids, but given the subject matter, keep in mind that we do have Junior Cong. tomorrow as well). We’ll be connecting this topic to some lessons from our portion (think Sodom and Gomorrah) and Jewish laws of gossip.

As shocking as the revelations are, the news regarding Iran is far more urgent. The UN report released this week reveals for the world the extent of the Iranian nuclear weapons program. I’ve heard Israeli experts say that they are still a couple of years from being fully operational., but that should not make us complacent. See several editorials on the topic and read Dore Gold’s report, The Significance of the November 2011 IAEA Report on Iran.


Check out our new, updated website, created in cooperation with JVillage . While the design is similar to the old one, it has many new features and more accessible information, although some of that has not been uploaded yet. Soon we’ll be able to handle many financial transactions and reservations online, so when you wake up at 3 AM and say, “I can’t go back to sleep until I’ve donated to TBE,” you’ll be able to! You can also take a look at early childhood director Ronnie Brockman’s blog entry, “This Thanksgiving, Let’s help Our Children Embrace Diversity.”


Check out this TV report on TBE B'not Mitzvah who will be on the Jewish Home’s Israel Trip. What an amazing journey it will be. Mazal tov to Gaby and Marley Baum and their family!


Read about my experiences last summer on safari and how it helped me to better understand why I do what I do, in my op-ed from this week’s New York Jewish Week. And see also this week’s “Hammerman on Ethics” column, Davening for Dollars, where a reader asks if it’s OK to pray that God help improve his financial situation when others are even less fortunate.


Please note that the meeting date has changed to Dec. 12, at 7:30, at my home and there is a strong chance that the trip will be departing on August 12 rather than July 30, to accommodate those with camp schedules. Please join us at that meeting if you are interested in coming on this incredible trip. View the current itinerary. See the Pricing and Registration forms.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

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