From the Bimah: Jewish Lessons for Life show

From the Bimah: Jewish Lessons for Life

Summary: Bringing weekly Jewish insights into your life. Join Rabbi Wes Gardenswartz, Rabbi Michelle Robinson and Rav-Hazzan Aliza Berger of Temple Emanuel in Newton, MA as they share modern ancient wisdom.

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  • Artist: Temple Emanuel in Newton
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Podcasts:

 Daily Page with Rabbi Wes Gardenswartz | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 1015

What do the late Philip Roth, one of the greatest writers of our time, and Steph Curry, one of the greatest basketball players of our time, have in common? Philip Roth was once asked by Robert Siegel, an NPR host, how he was able to write so many award-winning novels.  Roth answered that there is no secret.  Rather, he works all day, every day, six or seven days a week.  He offered that many times he will look at what he has written,  in a ten-hour day, and he does not like anything he wrote, he throws it all away.  Robert Siegel asks him: how do you feel on a day where you end up throwing away everything you wrote, and his answer is: “You wouldn’t want to have dinner with me.”  But the next morning he is at it again. Follow this link to view the sermon and watch the live streaming version on our website https://www.templeemanuel.com/rabbi/rabbi-wes-gardenswartz/daily-page/

 @LAPDHQ with Rav Hazzan Aliza Berger | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 650

On September 26th, an officer from the Los Angeles Police Department was walking through the Wilshire-Normandie subway station in Koreatown, when a beautiful voice caught him off guard. Ahead stood a slight, middle-aged woman. Her shoulder-length blond hair was tied up in pigtails, her clothes swallowed her tiny figure. Her right-hand rested on a pushcart, filled to the brim with personal belongings and covered with a blue plaid blanket, while her left-hand juggled bags and tubs of belongings as she sang an aria from Gianni Schicchi. Follow this link to view the sermon and watch the live streaming version on our website https://www.templeemanuel.com/rabbi/rabbi-aliza-berger/lapdhq/

 Gratitude Is Not Just a Feeling with Rabbi Wes Gardenswartz | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 891

Jon Levenson, a professor of Bible at Harvard, offers a rich hypothetical that I have shared with you before, and which I share again now because it goes to the heart of the meaning of the holiday of Thanksgiving. Imagine you are driving to the airport on the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving.  It is  4:00, bumper to bumper traffic.  You are in the tunnel and, oh no, your car dies.  Just dies.  You turn on and off the ignition, you pray, you start sweating profusely.  People are honking, cursing at you.  It is already one of the heaviest traffic days of the year, and now it is even more jammed because your car is stuck.  You are stuck.  You have no idea what to do.  OK, you’ll call AAA.  You reach for your phone, but it is out of juice, it is one of those days, the honking gets louder and louder.  Help!! Follow this link to view the sermon and watch the live streaming version on our website https://www.templeemanuel.com/rabbi/rabbi-wes-gardenswartz/gratitude-is-not-just-a-feeling/

 The Tested One is Also the Blessed One with Rabbi Wes Gardenswartz | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 1070

I want to play a new game with you this morning, Jewish trivial pursuit.  I am going to ask you two simple questions about the Hebrew Bible, and the winner gets a free bagel at kiddush this morning. First question, what character in the Hebrew Bible is most associated with blessing?  The word blessing, berakhah, is prominently and repeatedly associated with his story? Second question, what character in the Hebrew Bible, more than any other, is tested?  This character is tested so frequently, and so painfully, that there is a midrash speaking to the ten tests, or ten trials, or ten ordeals, of this character? The answer to the first question is…Abraham. The answer to the second question is…Abraham. The answer to both questions is Abraham.  The blessed one is also the tested one.  The tested one is also the blessed one. Follow this link to view the sermon and watch the live streaming version on our website https://www.templeemanuel.com/rabbi/rabbi-wes-gardenswartz/the-tested-one-is-also-the-blessed-one/

 Beyond the Hashtag with Rav Hazzan Aliza Berger | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 837

Years ago, when I was living in Israel, I remember going to visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs (Ma’arat haMachpelah) in Hevron. I remember feeling totally overwhelmed by the sheer number of visitors and by all the sounds. There were tourists snapping their cameras and talking loudly about the history of the place and about plans for lunch.  There were what felt like hundreds of Orthodox Jewish men praying in blocs, Hebrew prayers racing fluently through their mouths as they turned pages in unison. There were Hassidic Jews swaying and crying out, tears literally streaming down their faces as they poured out their souls to God. There were so many people there, it was hard even to move through the site. Follow this link to view the sermon and watch the live streaming version on our website https://www.templeemanuel.com/rabbi/rabbi-aliza-berger/beyond-the-hashtag/

 When Suffering and Blessing Are Inexplicably Intertwined: Reflections on the First Yahrtzeit of the Pittsburgh Massacre with Rabbi Wes Gardenswartz | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 1108

Do you remember where you were when you first learned of the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last year, a year ago tomorrow, October 27, 2018?  I remember exactly where I was.  I was right here.  It was Shabbat morning, in the middle of services, and from the bimah I could see a restless energy, an edge, in the people in the pews that I had never seen before.  Soon enough I would learn that people’s cell phones were going off, telling them that the massacre had happened, during Shabbat morning services, at a sister Conservative shul, in Pittsburgh. Here we are, a year later.  We are on the eve of the first yahrtzeit of the Pittsburgh massacre, the worst bloodshed of American Jews in American Jewish history. Follow this link to view the sermon and watch the live streaming version on our website https://www.templeemanuel.com/rabbi/rabbi-wes-gardenswartz/when-suffering-and-blessing-are-inexplicably-intertwined-reflections-on-the-first-yahrtzeit-of-the-pittsburgh-massacre/

 Something Left to Prove? with Rabbi Wes Gardenswartz | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 1080

Is it a good thing to go through life always feeling that you have something left to prove?  Or do you ever reach a point where the healthier move is to say: you know what, I have nothing left to prove? You are a tenured professor in your chosen field for 20 years.  You have authored definitive works in your field.  You cannot get fired except for moral turpitude.  When you go to your classroom on Monday morning, what is the healthier mindset:  I have something left to prove, or I have nothing left to prove. Follow this link to view the sermon and watch the live streaming version on our website https://www.templeemanuel.com/rabbi/rabbi-wes-gardenswartz/something-left-to-prove/

 Overnight Millionaire with Rabbi Wes Gardenswartz | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 1051

Next time you are hungry, next time you need a quick pick up, consider eating a protein bar known as an Rx Bar.  It comes in a variety of attractive packages and delicious flavors.  Blueberry, Maple Sea Salt, Mango Pineapple, Chocolate Sea Salt, Chocolate Chip, to name just a few.  I live on them, though I am not getting a commission from the Rx Bar company for this sermon. Follow this link to view the sermon and watch the live streaming version on our website https://www.templeemanuel.com/rabbi/rabbi-wes-gardenswartz/overnight-millionaire/

 Love with Rabbi Michelle Robinson | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 914

A rabbi once heard about a preacher who gained notoriety by giving the world’s longest sermon.  Not wanting to duplicate that feat, and, perhaps more importantly, not wanting to put everyone in shul to sleep, the rabbi decided to preach the world’s shortest sermon instead. In the weeks leading up to the holidays, he shared the big news with the congregation in e-blasts, social media, and in person.  Come to shul – and hear the shortest sermon ever!  Sitting down to write, though, he realized the task was harder than it sounded.  How to say something meaningful, something impactful, something true, while at the same time making it short?  As Rosh Hashanah drew closer and closer, he found himself living iconic mathematician Blaise Pascal’s words that he would have written a shorter letter, but he didn’t have enough time. Follow this link to the view the sermon on our website https://www.templeemanuel.com/rabbi/rabbi-michelle-robinson/love-2/

 Rabbi Wes Gardenswartz interviews Pre-Neilah Speaker, Pastor Jeremy Battle | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 2813

Pastor Jeremy D. Battle, from the Western Avenue Baptist Church is a third-generation pastor hailing from Brighton, Alabama. Pastor Battle lives by the personal mantra, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Tune in to hear more about Pastor Jeremy Battle in his own words and hear him on Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 4:00pm.

 Rebbe, Please Give Me Fervor! with Rabbi Wes Gardenswartz | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 919

Once, there lived amongst us a man with the stature of a prophet, a man with the moral vision of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.   His name was Elie Wiesel, and he taught for years just a few miles from here at Boston University. In his book Witness, which is about Elie Wiesel’s teaching at BU, Ariel Burger, his student for 25 years, tells a story that Elie Wiesel shared in class.  The story concerned a man named Isaac Babel, who was both a Jew and a lieutenant in the Russian cavalry.  That cavalry was a fierce fighting force conquering a lot of areas where Jews used to live in the Pale of Settlement.  Isaac Babel himself had a reputation for being a fierce, even bloodthirsty, fighter.  He embodies this enigma.  He is Jewish. And at the same a Russian military man who is about to conquer Jewish towns. Follow this link to view the sermon and watch the live streaming version on our website https://www.templeemanuel.com/rabbi/rabbi-wes-gardenswartz/rebbe-please-give-me-fervor/

 Be Like Taylor Swift’s Seventh Album, Not Her Sixth with Rabbi Wes Gardenswartz | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 969

I want to talk about two words I have never uttered from this bimah. Taylor Swift.  Taylor Swift is dramatically germane to the moment in which we now find ourselves. As you know, Taylor Swift is one of the best-selling, most popular singer songwriters of all time.  She has sold more than 50 million albums.  She has won 10 Grammy Awards.  Her first five albums were all huge, runaway hits, full of simple and catchy tunes that dealt with universal themes like falling in love and fear of rejection. Then came her sixth album, Reputation.  That is where things got very interesting. Follow this link to view the sermon and watch the live streaming version on our website https://www.templeemanuel.com/rabbi/rabbi-wes-gardenswartz/be-like-taylor-swifts-seventh-album-not-her-sixth/

 “Entering into a Brit Hashem, Together” with special guest Rabbi Becky Silverstein | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 2275

Tune in as Rav-Hazzan Aliza Berger interviews Rabbi Becky Silverstein on his upcoming Parshat Nitzvaim “Entering into a Brit Hashem, Together,” and his journey to becoming a Rabbi. Rabbi Becky will be joining us on Shabbat morning, September 28th. You can learn more here https://www.templeemanuel.com/event/entering-into-a-brit-hashem-together/

 Take Your Best Shot with Rav Hazzan Aliza Berger | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 826

Recently I came upon an article in the New York Times which took my breath away titled, “He was shot and paralyzed 37 years ago. That’s not how the story ends.” Thirty-seven years ago, thirteen-year-old Jeff Williams was hanging out with his brother and a friend, Maury, in the Bronx when the unthinkable happened.  Maury got out his uncle’s gun and started showing it off: spinning the chamber and pointing the it around the room. Jeff’s brother, Reggie, tried to convince Maury to put the gun down. But Maury insisted it was perfectly safe, pulling the trigger to prove the point. It wasn’t safe, though. The gun was loaded. Jeff collapsed. Follow this link to view the sermon and watch the live streaming version on our website https://www.templeemanuel.com/rabbi/rabbi-aliza-berger/take-your-best-shot/

 "The Jewish American Paradox" with author Robert Mnookin | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 2420

Tune is as Rabbi Michelle Robinson interviews Robert Mnookin, author of "The Jewish American Paradox: Embracing Choice in a Changing World." Robert Mnookin is an American lawyer, author, and the Samuel Williston Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He will be kicking off our year of adult learning at Temple Emanuel on Sunday, September 15th. Check out his book and join in on a lecture and Q&A with Mnookin himself! Learn more here: https://www.templeemanuel.com/event/adult-education-opening-lecture/

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