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Chizuk Amuno Congregation


Posted on December 18, 2019

We Need the Light of Hanukkah

I think we might need the holiday of Hanukkah more this year than in quite some time.  The incredible reality of light is that, one does not need to share one’s light for someone else to benefit.  If two people are sitting in a dark room, and one kindles a light, they both share that Continue Reading »

Posted on November 20, 2019

Playing Dreidel

With great fondness, I remember playing dreidel with my brothers while the candles burned down. We would sit on the dining room floor in semi-darkness, each with a different color dreidel, and a small pile of pennies in front of us. At least I think pennies are what we used. I’m sure they’ll correct me Continue Reading »

Posted on August 8, 2019

Parshat Devarim

“With their own hands, tenderhearted women have cooked their children; such became their fare, in the disaster of my poor people.” (Lamentations 4:10) This coming Shabbat, Jewish communities around the world will observe Tisha B’Av. The fast was first instituted during the early rabbinic period to commemorate five specific calamities that had befallen the Jewish Continue Reading »

Posted on December 21, 2017

Let the Lights Shine!

Last night I sat at the kitchen table long after I should have. There were many other things that needed my attention around the house but the eight lights of the menorah were still burning and they seemed too precious to abandon for other mundane pursuits. Those little lights really did light up the darkness Continue Reading »

Posted on August 24, 2017

This Is How You Should Bless Your Children

Two years ago Rabbi Richard Camras invited me to his congregation in West Hills, California to do a Scholar-in-Residence weekend. There are two memories from that experience that I want to share with you. First of all, he was the same rabbi and mentsch that he was when he served our synagogue 18 years ago. Continue Reading »

Posted on April 6, 2017

Preparing for Passover

Chizuk Amuno is alive with preparations for Passover today! At T minus 4 days until first Seder, one cannot go more than a few steps in the building without finding preparations underway for our festival of freedom. The Passover kitchens are ready for Passover and the Hametz (leavened products) kitchen is ready for the pre-Pesah Continue Reading »

Posted on March 17, 2017

St. Patrick’s Day Sameyach!

Green is the color I’m wearing today. It’s Friday. It’s the off season (for Purple Friday). And it’s St. Patrick’s Day. Now why would a rabbi be wearing green on Erev Shabbat you might ask? The answer is Mrs. Pat Kelly. Like many Solomon Schechter of Westchester students I first learned about St. Patricks’ Day Continue Reading »

Posted on October 7, 2016

Wordless Repentance

As part of the Working Group on Repentance that I taught in the “Couch to 5777 Preparation for Elul” series last month, I asked students to describe repentance without words. At first they insisted that they couldn’t draw, as most adults generally do  when they are asked to draw. But in the next few moments, Continue Reading »

Posted on August 17, 2016


As the summer soon draws to a close, and a new school year and new Jewish year are soon to begin, here are six thoughts from different people on the nature of beginnings. Share the questions with your family or use them at your Shabbat or holiday table to inspire meaningful discussion about the nuances Continue Reading »

Posted on May 10, 2016

Yom Hazikaron

The flowers surprised me. Coming from the United States where we Jews do not generally put flowers on graves, the simple red carnations which were given out to all who visited the cemetery surprised me. What was I to do with it? At the gate of Har Herzl, I took the flower in my sweaty, Continue Reading »