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Shabbat Shuvah

10/02/2019 01:29:55 PM


Parashat Vayeilech
6 Tishrei, 5780
Cantor Phil Baron

Shabbat Shuvah

In a recent poll respondents were asked an important question about Jewish prayer.  Okay, the respondents were members of the Valley Beth Shalom 3rd-grade class, but still.  The question prompted them to pick the most important word in the ancient prayer formula, “Baruch Atah Adonai.” After all, even 3rd-graders know the...Read more...

Woodschlock Nation

03/13/2019 11:44:17 AM


Parashat Zachor
Adar 9, 5779
Cantor Phil Baron

Woodschlock Nation

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the iconic Woodstock Festival, so we could hardly pass up the opportunity to celebrate this landmark occasion with our own Woodschlock Purim, next Wednesday, March 20 at 7:00 pm.  Our Purim schpiel will feature songs played at Woodstock in 1969, and other psychedelic, far-out, and terminally...Read more...

Parashat Sh'mot

12/27/2018 12:23:39 PM


Parashat Sh'mot
21 Tevet, 5779
Cantor Phil Baron

This week's parasha, Sh'mot, appropriately begins with a list of names, which makes sense because sh'mot means “names.”  True, the Greek title of the book “Exodus” sounds rather more grand and descriptive. However, the Torah strives for clarity, and a little housekeeping and exposition at the beginning of a book does make some sense. So as the year...Read more...

Blessing in Disguise

08/09/2018 12:01:06 PM


Parashat Re'eh
30 Av, 5778
Cantor Phil Baron

Blessing in Disguise

I'm thought of as a law-abiding citizen, a team player, an upright fellow. But I have to admit there is a part of me that's rebellious. Oh, nothing serious mind you, but I admit to occasionally violating the traffic laws. For instance -- and this is just between us, I might have willfully turned right on red at the corner of Valley Meadow and Sepulveda....Read more...

The Musical Shul

06/14/2018 11:29:52 AM


Parashat Korach
3 Tammuz, 5778
Cantor Phil Baron

The Musical Shul

In Psalm 150 the words of King David encourage us to praise God with enthusiasm, faith, and lots of music.

�"ללו�"ו �'נ�'ל וכנור
�"ללו�"ו �'תף ומ�-ול
�"ללו�"ו �'מנים וע�'�'

Haleluhu b'nevel v'chinor!
Haleluhu b'tof...


04/19/2018 12:39:20 PM


Parashat Metzora
6 Iyar, 5778
Cantor Phil Baron (with Ethan Braun)

In this week's parasha we learn that an “eruptive plague” might afflict your house and that “green or reddish streaks” might appear and go deep into the walls. Today we would call a mold specialist, but in ancient times it was necessary to dissemble the afflicted area stone by stone.

The Chassidic rabbis of old saw a metaphor in...

The 3-Minute Moses Meditation

02/28/2018 01:21:08 PM


The 3-Minute Moses Meditation
Parashat Ki Tissa
16 Adar, 5778
Cantor Phil Baron

If you attend synagogue services regularly you've no doubt had the experience of accidentally dropping a prayer book.  It was drummed into me at an early age that my immediate reaction should be to scoop up the book and give it a kiss.  This is the way Jewish people express their respect for God's Name and Word.  I...Read more...

The Sung and the Unsung

01/24/2018 02:10:06 PM


The Sung and the Unsung
Parashat B'shalach
11 Shevat, 5778
Cantor Phil Baron

Shabbat Shira commemorates both the song sung by Moses and the Israelites, and the singing and dancing of Miriam and the Israelite women after crossing the sea to freedom. This was a moment of pure joy and celebration unlike any other in the Torah.

Although the words of this remarkable song can be found in our Torah, we...Read more...

Parashat Vayigash

12/20/2017 05:57:04 PM


Parashat Vayigash
5 Tevet 5778

It's nearly December 24 -- just one day away from that magical meal of mu-shu vegetables and egg foo-yung you've been waiting for. So while you're waiting, munch some popcorn and indulge your craving for great entertainment with a new holiday tradition: the “Fiddler on the Roof” Sing-Along -- with friends!  This is the 10th year that the Laemmle Theaters have hosted this fun event,...Read more...

The Patchwork King

10/18/2017 11:40:00 AM



1 Cheshvan 5778

A number of people at VBS have asked me about a project I'm currently involved with, so I'm taking this opportunity to include some background and information in this week's Clergy Corner. Please excuse the shameless plug (!), but I truly believe you will appreciate learning about this unique program.

When I was a cantorial student, my colleagues and I spent a...Read more...

Tue, February 27 2024 18 Adar I 5784