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Israel & The Jewish People | Connections 4/27/09

With the upcoming Yom Haatzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim holidays I felt it was a perfect time to discuss the role Israel plays within the Torah system.

For many people Israel serves as a bastion of democracy in the Middle East, for others it is a Jewish homeland where no Jew will be denied access, for others it holds tremendous historical value, there are others who cherish its spiritual significance and there are yet others who pine for the elevated Torah study of the Land of Israel.

Our goal was to find the meaning of the Land of Israel and its connection to the Jewish people from the Torah. We went to the source to find why there is an intrinsic connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel.

This relationship did not begin in 1948.

The class ended with some really interesting anecdotes (I don’t want to give anything away – but suffice to say, very interesting stuff) and a few great points from our Connections attendees.

Click through to listen to the class right now.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Sad News Post

We are all aware of the economic uncertainty in our country right now. A little while back, I wrote about how the Yeshivas and Day Schools for Jewish children and teens are being pinched.

Things are looking slightly improved since then. Unfortunately, the situation has not yet completely reversed course.

I have criticized the media in the past. It bothers me when the news that is reported is all negative and virtually ignores all the good in our world.

Once in a while there will be some “feel good” news story to push back the critics of negative media.

Today I saw a negative news item that was presented so well that I feel it is necessary to share. The point was made so well, with such class, professionalism and sensitivity that it was moving.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Mesillas Yesharim 04/26/09

…And we’re back. After a brief hiatus the Mesillas Yesharim class returned today with a bang.

We completed the fourth chapter of Mesillas Yesharim!

We began our class today with a re-reading of what we studied during our last class (just added – sorry about that).

It was just as incredible as the first time we studied this idea – it truly blows my mind.

We wrapped up the class with the final thoughts of Chapter 4 and next week we will begin Chapter 5.

Click through to hear the end of Chapter 4.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Disturbing Poll of the Day

Look, I enjoy sports. (Go Lakers). But this is getting ridiculous!

Nearly 48 thousand people have voted (as of this posting) on the current poll in ESPN.com that asks the following query:

Who do you know more about?

– Potential First Round Picks in the NFL Draft

– People in your office/class

I am surprised by the results.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Earth Day and Torah

Happy Earth day everyone.

Wait. Is that the correct salutation? Is Earth Day a “happy” day?

I’m not so sure. Sometimes, it seems that Earth Day is marked by doom and gloom about the environment. It used to exclusively be an opportunity to lambaste those who were not as concerned with the environment. Tempers have generally cooled but there is still some tension on Earth Day. I think this is the wrong approach to Earth Day.

To me Earth Day is Read the rest of this entry »

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I Could Not Help Myself

I just had to post this video.

While I was at school today, my 5 month old son, Ozzie, learned a new trick.

It is so incredible seeing our baby grow more and more each day. It seems like just a short while ago he was unable to interact with us and now he is playing games with his mommy.

Reminds me that we too should be growing each day…

My ever resourceful wife captured it on video. I am so grateful to her (and to whoever thought it would be a good idea to add video recording to my Canon point and shoot digicam). You have got to see this video!

Read the rest of this entry »

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The Omer & Channeling Our Materiality | Connections 4/20/09

Tonight, Connections returned.

Our mission: to understand the difference between our Pesach celebration and the Shavuos celebration. More specifically, why is our Pesach celebration of freedom accomplished via the non-descript Matzah and our celebration of receiving the Torah is with a physically pleasurable celebration.

We also learned the Torah way of approaching character development and how to use our natural instincts and tendencies for spirituality.

The evening ended with a few great questions and an important clarification on my part.

It’s all online and you can click through to listen to the class.

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A Nation’s Challenge and “Seabiscuits”

Today was closing day at Santa Anita Park. That means the season of horse racing has come to a close at Santa Anita Park and I was there.

Today, we took the boys to see the ponies run.

Previously, we lived in Baltimore MD, home of The Preakness at Pimlico Race Track. The Preakness is one leg in the Triple Crown. In fact we lived right around the corner from Pimlico and we always thought about going to the track for a day at the races. For some reason, we never actually made the 2 minute trip to Pimlico and never saw a race in person.

Today we drove 35 minutes to Santa Anita Park and we experienced our first day at the races. It was amazing. I learned a lot about a lot of things.

First of all, I saw a dad with his 3 sons, ranging from the ages of 9-14. Incredibly, he was teaching them how to bet on the races. Read the rest of this entry »

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What Do Boys Want?

The NY Times has a very interesting article chronicling the research that Disney has been conducting to figure out what boys want.

Disney has had unprecedented success marketing to young teenage girls. With TV shows about pop-stars and princess and fairy lands, young teenage girls flock to Disney. But what about the boys? Read the rest of this entry »

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Your Unique Voice and A Kafkaesque Experience

Last week, Facebook disabled my account. No explanation, no reason, no apology, just gone.

There are terms that each member of Facebook agrees to abide by and I have not violated any of those terms. I have emailed Facebook asking for an explanation or at the very least an acknowledgement that my account has been disabled. So far… nothing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Birkas Hachama

Once every 28 years the Jewish people give thanks for the sun. Why once every 28 years? Because the sun returns to the exact spot in the horizon once every 28 years. This is what we celebrate when we make the blessing once every 28 years.

You can read all about it in the LA Times. I am even quoted in the article! My first time in the LA Times. Thanks to Duke Helfand for putting such a great article together.

Today Jews all of the world made the blessing for the sun.

You can read about a lot of these celebrations and see their photos here.

One of the last places in the continental United States to make this blessing was the Pacific Jewish Center. Read the rest of this entry »

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Matza in the NY Times and In Our TImes

To be fair I have had my share of criticism of the New York Times. I don’t call them anti-Semitic though, that just reminds me of Uncle Leo in the Shower Head Seinfeld episode. Uncle Leo’s burger is medium instead of rare so he assumes the chef must be an anti-Semite… That doesn’t stop these guys from going in that direction. (I found them in a google search result, I have never heard of them before…) Maybe Uncle Leo writes for the “American Thinker”.

And when the NY Times has an article that paints Jews in a positive light I feel equally compelled to raise the issue, Read the rest of this entry »

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Where The Wild Things Are

It is not my style to post a movie trailer on this blog. However, after watching the trailer for the upcoming movie of the famous Maurice Sendak book, Where the Wild Things Are, I was compelled to share my thoughts on the trailer.

First, my thoughts on the book. 1) Never send your child to bed without dinner, it is cruel and it makes me want to cry when I contemplate the very idea, 2) a child’s life should be so wonderful that they don’t need to “escape” to where the wild things are.

Second, my thoughts on the trailer. This is a perfectly executed trailer in one respect and a failure in another respect. Read the rest of this entry »

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Irresponsible Journalism From the New York Times

the NY Times has a section in their online newspaper called “The Lede”. It is often chock full of interesting links and thought on the news of the times. I have been inspired to post links to The Lede before in my blog post about “Bus Ads in London proclaiming there is no GD”.

Today, The Lede has a tremendously misleading post about women’s rights. Women have been fighting for equality of rights in America for years. Their right to vote was only recently (relatively) added to the Bill of Rights. Title VII and Title IX are recent acts of legislature to attempt to enforce equality for women.

It is not as if the United States has ALWAYS treated women equally. But now that we do treat women equally in America we are permitted to look down upon anyone who does not (sarcasm emphasized). Read the rest of this entry »

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This Is My Blog

You have arrived at a place in cyberspace featuring the thoughts, ramblings, musings and Torah of Eliyahu Fink.

If you like what you have found come join us at the The Shul on the Beach. You know the Shul on the Venice boardwalk - you've seen it, right?

Scroll down to the bottom of this sidebar to see some of my pictures of the Pacific Jewish Center just before sundown on a Friday Evening.

Well, we are there every Friday Night and Saturday Morning for services.

Come check us out! You will feel something special in the air. I guarantee it.

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