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Silence and the power of “Listen”

08/03/2017 12:46:23 PM

Aug3

SILENCE AND THE POWER OF “LISTEN”

Parashat Va'etchanan
Cantor Phil Baron
13 Av, 5777

Imagine thirty Jewish people in a room, all of them rabbis or cantors.  Now imagine that they are completely silent " for hours at a time.  They eat, pray, and study in total silence. This must be the beginning of a Twilight Zone episode, or the set-up for a Jewish joke,...Read more...

Parashat Tazria/Metzorah

04/25/2017 03:36:23 PM

Apr25

Parashat Tazria/Metzorah
3 Iyar, 5777
Cantor Phil Baron

This week's parasha asks a challenging question: Is repentance alone enough to wipe away our wrongdoing, or is something more required of us?  And what is the nature of true repentance?

If you have ever demanded an apology from a young child, you know that reluctant repentance is far from adequate. I remember reminding my daughter that a...Read more...

Parashat Vayakheil-Pekudei

03/23/2017 01:25:55 PM

Mar23

Parashat Vayakheil-Pekudei
27 Adar, 5777
Cantor Phil Baron

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel is probably the most eloquent writer ever on one of my favorite subjects: Shabbat. This week's Torah reading wastes no time in reminding our people, not for the last time, of the importance of this holy day.  It goes so far as to threaten death to anyone who violates the prohibition to work on the seventh day. But...Read more...

Parashat Yitro

02/16/2017 01:44:44 PM

Feb16

Parashat Yitro
22 Sh'vat, 5777
Cantor Phil Baron

Our rabbis tell us that Moses was the humblest of men. After all, he tried to refuse God when asked to lead the Children of Israel. He was “slow of speech” by his own admission. He did not seem to have a very high opinion of himself.

Those who knew him well may have disagreed, as this week's parasha Yitro points out. There is a kind of ego-centrism that...Read more...

Bechira: What is True?

01/09/2017 12:18:17 PM

Jan9

Parashat Vay'chi
16 Tevet, 5777
Cantor Phil Baron

Bechira: What is True?

Last night I fought my way through terrible traffic to get my daughter to the airport. I was late for another event.  Five minutes after dropping her off, she called to tell me her flight had been cancelled. The futility of my long drive was my first thought. Then, I took a deep breath and thought about the extra time...Read more...

Divine Noticing

12/08/2016 12:34:01 PM

Dec8

“Divine Noticing”
Cantor Phil Baron
Parashat Vayeitsei
10 Kislev, 5777

There is a new buzz word in our culture right now. The word is “mindfulness,” which is a term that I never heard until a couple years ago, although the concept is quite ancient. In fact, as this week's Torah portion demonstrates, it may have been invented by our ancestor Jacob.

Before getting into Jacob's story,...Read more...

A Trip to Sefarad

08/03/2016 02:26:19 PM

Aug3

clergy_corner_pic.jpgThis week's parasha Ma'asei begins with a detailing of our people's many journeys. I must say that the cantors trip to Spain that we took part in this summer -- with 50 cantors and another 280 congregants from all over the country, felt a bit like moving B'nei Yisrael through the wilderness...Read more...

Walking the Walk

06/01/2016 01:11:30 PM

Jun1

Parashat B'chukotai
27 Iyar, 5776

We've all had the experience of attending a party or event we didn't want to go to. Sometimes you feel obligated, sometimes someone schleps you along. You'd rather do something else. You might be surprised and enjoy yourself, but more likely you'll be grumpy, and spend the evening checking your watch.  Still, you've fulfilled your obligation by going, and (you keep telling...Read more...

King David: The First Great Novel, the Next Great Musical

02/10/2016 02:00:00 AM

Feb10

When I was in cantorial school we studied the entire Tanach in one year--Torah, Prophets, and K'tuvim (Psalms ,Proverbs and 11 more books).  It was like trying to see the entire Metropolitan Museum in fifteen minutes!  There were many stories and characters I longed to hang out with just a...Read more...

Thoughts from a Cantors' Conference

01/07/2016 02:00:00 AM

Jan7

I'm writing today from a cantors' conference in Palm Desert. It's pouring rain, and we had an earthquake this morning.  But other than that, it's been great!  I've had a chance to participate in some of the most moving prayer services I've ever experienced.

People often ask what these conferences are like.  No, the earth doesn't always move like it did today, but it is an opportunity to take a deep breath and tune in...Read more...

Sun, April 14 2024 6 Nisan 5784