Saturday, February 18, 2017


Good evening everyone....

One of the President's advisors used the term 'alternate truth' early on in his term of office.  It was an unfortunate term, and sadly has taken on a momentum of its own.

That the Presdient's advisor gave this concept a vocabulary does not take anything away from the reality that such alternate truths have been around for years.  Let's examine some of them.

Muhammed al-Dura was shot by Israelis during a gunfight in Gaza.  The science disproves it.  French courts explicitly rejected the claim, stating that not a shred of evidence supported it.

Vaccines cause autism.  This was a 'study,' the results of which could not be duplicated.  The Lancet, the British medical journal that originally published the 'study,' ultimately retracted it.  The doctor who authored the 'study' lost his license to practice medicine.  Neverthless, the perception still exists.

Israel is an apartheid state.  Have you looked up apartheid in the dictionary recently?  There is no Israeli denied the right to vote.  There is no Israeli denied adequate and equal medical care.  There is no Israeli denied the rights of citizenship.  There is an Arab judge on Israel's Supreme Court.  There is an Arab chief of surgery at Barzilai hospital.  Palestinians and Syrians regularly cross into Israel for medical treatment.  Arab representation in the Knesset is more than 10% of the Knesset.  This is a far cry from the apartheid of the old South Africa.

God forbid that these days one should be a campus speaker from the right of the political world.  Being shouted down is the norm.  Being whisked away by security is often a necessity.  Speeches are cancelled last-minute.  Campus riots against these speakers are defended as free speech, but God forbid that these folks be able to get a sentence out without feeling the wrath of the so-called free speech movements.

The late Senator Daniel Moynihan once said that "everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts."  To those who insist on pursuing alternate facts, please know that they are not facts, and you are not entitled to them.  Alternate facts are lies.  To those on the left and on the right, I remind you gently that those who live in glass houses should avoid throwing stones.  President Trump and his advisors did not invent alternate facts.  They are a tale as old as time.

I hope one day that we all learn to listen to each other again.

Good night everyone.


Good Advice I Have Given Out....

Shavua tov to all....

Over the last couple of weeks, two pieces of advice that I have given out have come back to me with thanks.  I share those pieces of advice with you.

The first is from a colleague.  Please bear in mind that traditional Jewish law does not permit driving on Shabbat.  As such, many rabbis live within walking distance of their congregations.  Even for my colleagues who do not live within walking distance, most want to be in their communities.  They are therefore not far from their congregations.

With that proximity in mind, I have always gone home for lunch.  It puts a break in my day.  It gets me outside, as I never drive to the office.

I gave that piece of advice to a colleague, a new rabbi in her first pulpit.  She goes home.  She sees her family.  She eats.  Word has traveled back to me that this has been helpful for her.

The second piece of advice is to the married folks out there.  It has been to splurge for the king-size bed.  Extra real estate is useful during...uhhh...marital closeness.  As well, young children are known for midnight invasions.  Hopefully, those invasions do not take place during marital closeness.

One of my former students, now on her second child, thanked me for that advice today.

Room size notwithstanding, I pass on that recommendation to all of you.

Have a great evening everyone.