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September 16, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 808: The Youthful Energy of Rosh Hashanah

הָיוֹם הָרָת עוֹלָם Hayom Harat Olam Today is the birthday of the world (Rosh Hashanah liturgy) Dear Hevreh, According to tradition, Rosh Hashanah is considered to be the "birthday of the world," when God first began the process of creation. Perhaps this tradition teaches us that like our birthdays, the "re-birth" of the year not only gives us a chance to reflect on the year that has gone by, but to be rejuvenated for the year to come with the youthful energy of a newborn who looks at the world and sees the possibilities of what lies before her. In other words, Rosh Hashanah can help us find the kid in ourselves again. How appropriate then that in this week leading up to Rosh Hashanah we[...]

Category : home Kidz Korner Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Rosh Hashanah Tot Shabbat YJPA
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September 12, 2014
By bethmordecai
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Parashat Ki Tavo (כי תבוא) — Having a Positive Outlook

Parashat Ki Tavo 2014/5774 (Triennial I) -- Having a Positive Outlook In this week's Torah portion, the Israelites ask God to look upon them positively: "Look down (hashkifah) from Your holy abode, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel" (Deuteronomy 26:15). What gives the Israelites the confidence that God will look upon them positively, and is there a lesson from this on how we can retain a positive outlook even in gloomy moments? We will explore this question of how to have a positive outlook through an exploration of the hebrew term used in this verse -- "hashkafah." Please join us for this fascinating class!   Photo taken from -- http://irishbizwoman.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-difference-between-positivity-and.html  

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June 3, 2014
By bethmordecai
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Sermon for Cantor Showcase of Unique Torah — Our Unique and Godly Torah

*Sermon for Friday night of "Cantor Showcase of Unique Torah" (Shabbat prior to Shavuot) – May 30, 2014  Our Unique and Godly Torah Rabbi Ari Saks Some of you may remember a story my father told during my installation on this same bimah over a year and a half ago. I was a little boy in Benton Harbor and my father and I had just come back from shul on Simhat Torah. As we approached home I started making a frantic pointing motion in a not-so-specific direction (with the requisite grunting of a child). So my father, in attempting to respond my neediness, took me on a walk trying to follow my random pointing. Eventually we ended up back at shul where my pointing got[...]

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April 30, 2014
By bethmordecai
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May 2014 Bulletin Article — Speaking Out Against Bigotry

Normally I use this space to talk about a matter or an idea specifically concerning our community in order to reflect on our journey of building our Jewish Home for the Soul. However, this month I feel compelled to speak out on a matter that though not particular to our community affects our identity as a Jewish community. And that matter is the Jewish need to speak out against bigotry, particularly the bigotry espoused by Donald Sterling who is the owner of the professional basketball team the Los Angeles Clippers Donald Sterling, and a man who self-identifies as a Jew. On Sunday, the world heard an audio recording in which Mr. Sterling implores his multiracial girlfriend, V. Stiviano, to “don’t[...]

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April 13, 2014
By bethmordecai
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Sermon for Shabbat Hagadol (April 12, 2014): Faith In Words

Faith in Words Sermon for Shabbat Hagadol (April 12th 2014) Rabbi Ari Saks Congregation Beth Mordecai Once there was a king who ruled many kingdoms, yet no matter how much wealth he amassed, no matter how many people he helped, he never felt at peace. His mind raced in so many different directions he could never feel as if he was in the right place at the right time. When he was sad he wanted to be happy, and for some reason when he was happy, he wanted to be sad. Well, he thought, if my mind is never at peace then neither should my kingdom. So he set about making every part of his kingdom the opposite of what it should be –[...]

Category : Cantorial Showcase home Passover Rabbi Sermons Shabbat
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April 11, 2014
By bethmordecai
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Parashat Aharei Mot (אחרי מות): There Is No Earlier and There Is No Later in Torah

Triennial I (2014/5774): There Is No Earlier and There Is No Later in Torah The first words of our Torah portion begin with the words "aharei mot sh'nei b'nei aharon -- after the deaths of Aaron's sons." Yet the demise of Aaron's sons, Nadav and Avihu, happened three Torah portions earlier in Parashat Sh'mini, so why does the Torah have to teach us that our Torah portion occurs after their death! One explanation is that this proves that there is no earlier (past) or later (present) when it comes to the chronology of events as it is written in the Torah. During today's class we will explore this explanation to try to understand it's implications for the meaning of Torah -- should[...]

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April 2, 2014
By bethmordecai
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Homecoming Pictures!

Check out these fabulous pictures from our Homecoming Weekend! Thanks to member and photographer extraordinaire Stella Morrison for some terrific work!  

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March 21, 2014
By bethmordecai
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Parashat Sh’mini (שמיני): A Strange Fire?

2014/5774 (Triennial I): A Strange Fire? In this week's Torah portion, Aaron's sons Nadav and Avihu bring an "eish zarah," a strange fire, to the tabernacle and instead of having their gift accepted, they are personally consumed by a fire from God. What went wrong? What was this strange fire that God not only rejected but caused God to kill them? Can we learn anything from this episode about how we should or should not approach God in our worship? Join the class to find out!    Classes from other years... 2013/5773 -- Why Is Pig So Unkosher?   Details of Photo The Death of Nadab and Abihu, engraving by[...]

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March 18, 2014
By bethmordecai
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Homecoming Sermon: “I am a Beth Mordecai Jew” – Responding to the Command to Be Jewish

Rabbi Ari Saks *Sermon for Shabbat Zahor/Parashat Tzav – March 15, 2016 Beth Mordecai Homecoming Weekend  In 2002, Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl was brutally murdered by militants in Pakistan. In addition to the sadness and pain felt in hearing the first reports of his murder, there was also a hint of hope, a taste of truth because with his last three words Daniel Pearl spoke a prideful and confident claim that resonates through eternity: I am Jewish. In the years since his death this confident claim of Jewish identity, of saying proudly I am Jewish, has unified the Jewish people to the point that, despite our many and vast differences, 94% of us in America say that we are proud to be Jewish according[...]

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February 5, 2014
By bethmordecai
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Mission Statement for Beth Mordecai’s Caring Committee

Caring Committee Mission Statement The purpose of Beth Mordecai’s Caring Committee is to reach out to members of the Beth Mordecai community and the extended Jewish community in times of need. We believe that this is what it means to be part of a caring Jewish congregation and community. We want to offer friendship, comfort and companionship especially at times when it is most needed. We want people to know we are a family in our Jewish Home for the Soul. Ways in which we can help: We will do our best to provide rides to the synagogue when needed. We will help to organize a minyan when a family is sitting shiva. We will pick up a few items at the grocery store, or[...]

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