Pacific Jewish Center | Rabbi

The Rabbi on the Beach @ The Shul on the Beach

Great Shavuos Turnout Renders Previous Post Moot

Last week I blogged about my bond of kinship with a pastor in Ocean City Maryland.

We both are clergy working on beaches with fickle crowds. Sometimes we are packed and sometimes we are not…

The post generated a bit of a response from some of our Community Members as well as some other blog readers. We had one commenter wonder if anyone reads this blog. (Yes, a lot of people do read this blog.)

We had another commenter offer to walk from Youngstown PA. (It takes 33 days by foot according to Google, click if you need directions.)

So, how did our Shavuos go?

Read the rest of this entry »

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Mesillas Yesharim 05/24/09

You may recall that last week we did not get any further in the Messilas Yesharim text.

Oh yes, we had a great discussion about getting serious about life. We devoted much of our discussion to clothes.

Clothes has been a hot topic at the Pacific Jewish Center lately.

Yesterday, we supposed to talk about the number 50 in Judaism and why Shavuos is the only Jewish holiday with no set date. Instead, we talked more about clothes. Unbelievable.

This week we got back on track.

We completed Chapter 5 in Messilas Yesharim and learned about the 3rd and final detriment to “Watchfulness”. Do you want to know what it is?

Click through to listen.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Do You Like Reading Blogs?

A great weekly Jewish (mostly) blog roundup called Haveil Havalim has been going strong for 219 rounds.

I just heard of it this week.

That is pretty lame, I am well aware

Anyway, I heard of it thanks to DovBear of http://dovbear.blogspot.com fame.

I got a couple mentions in the post and I do appreciate that.

Read on for the link. Read the rest of this entry »

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Too Many Questions

I read a really interesting column this week.

Whenever I find a convergence of ideas between the Legal field and Torah I get excited.

This time I found a divergence. Not quite as exciting, but very interesting.

The NY Times followed up on a study conducted a few years ago by a 2nd year Georgetown Law School Student.

The study was groundbreaking. It focused on the amount of questions from the Judges to lawyers and its effect on the outcome of cases. Read the rest of this entry »

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My Friend Won $__.__ on “Millionaire”

Yes it is true.

We have all dreamed of it. All of us wish we could be on a game show and WIN!

My friend lived the dream. Read the rest of this entry »

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How Should Memorial Day Be Celebrated?

In the U.S.A. we have another National Sale Day Holiday today. Today is Memorial Day.

How should this day be celebrated? We have gone down this road before on Earth Day.

According to Wikipedia:

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 25 in 2009). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the Civil War), it was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action.

Today, Memorial Day is more known as a barbecue, beer and baseball (and for me Basketball) day. This bothers some people. Maybe, rightfully so.

Some like to contrast the American Memorial Day with the equivilent Yom HaZikaron in Israel. Read the rest of this entry »

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Boy Can I Relate To This

I was browsing the Washington Post online edition when a column caught my eye.

It is about churches in Ocean City Maryland.

Why is a rabbi reading about Churches in Maryland?

What does the column have to do with a rabbi of the Shul on the Beach in Venice California?

It turns out… a lot. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mesillas Yesharim 05/24/09

After a wonderful Rosh Chodesh morning services we began our weekly foray into the depths of Ramchal’s Mesillas Yesharim.

Last week we began to learn about the detriment of scoffing or sarcasm to out spiritual growth. The general principle is that one who is incapable of seriousness about life will not be able grow spiritually. This week I had planned on completing Chapter 5 in its entirety.

However, we got no further in the text of Mesillas Yesharim this week.

Instead we had a truly invigorating discussion ab0ut “seriousness”. It is tough for us to relate to this section Mesilas Yesharim. We are allowed to make jokes, frivoility is not ALWAYS bad, so how can we bring this section down to earth and make is relevant?

One example that I cited for a moment as we began class was the way observant Jews typically dress. Have you ever wondered why observant Jews dress conservatively for the most part or wear “black and white”?

Much of what we talk about was related to this post, as well as these two posts and this post as well.

Click to listen to our discussion. It was very interesting and enlightening. Read the rest of this entry »

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Best Of First 100 Posts

Without even realizing I hit a milestone on this blog.

Yes, my previous post was post Number 100. We have hit the century mark and we are going strong!

To celebrate I thought I would dig up my favorite posts. There is no set criteria for these posts.

Some were under appreciated, some were huge hits and some I just like.

Read on for my Top 10 of the First 100 Posts! Read the rest of this entry »

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Another Gladwell Gem | How David Beats Goliath

I cannot get enough Malcolm Gladwell.

Every time I read his work I walk away impressed, enriched and thirsting for more.

Previously I blogged about his book Outliers, which was super. Today I am writing about a recent Gladwell column in the New Yorker. I don’t subscribe to the New Yorker but periodically I check it our online. This week I had the pleasure of enjoying yet another Gladwell gem.

This time Gladwell is talking about sports and for me it is a lesson about life. Read the rest of this entry »

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Atheists and Believers LA Times Smackdown

Flamewar” is a prolonged exchange of deliberately hostile messages over the Internet. – Wikipedia

Last week I blogged about the battle of the wings. The political Left Wing and the Right Wing are battling it out to the death.

The vitriol and hyperbole on both sides is so disproportionate with reality. Left wingers are not communists and right wingers are not corporate overlords. We are all really much closer to the middle.

One area that there is no real middle is on the issue of God.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Does Your Kiddush Have Kugel?

There’s a fellow in the Los Angeles Jewish community named Hilly Zeitlin.

Hilly sends out daily emails with all the important goings on in Los Angeles. He does this for free and it is a tremendous service to the community. (If you want to join his email list click here to subscribe.)

Hilly comes to Pacific Jewish Center for our Sunday morning services most weeks, so we know him well.

From time to time Hilly sends jokes or funny video links. Today he sent a really funny youtube video, I just had to post it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Structure and Philosophy of Torah 3 | Connections 5/4/09

The third and final class in a very exciting series concluded our preparations for Shavuos.

Catch up by listening to Part 1 and Part 2.

Today we sought to resolve the burning question we began our series with. Why is Talmud study the focus of Torah scholarship? Why do Yeshiva students spend the bulk of their time studying Talmud? Why is Talmud our connection to the Oral Law transmission?

Those questions plus much more are covered in this week’s class.

The participants truly challenged me and asked some really great questions today. As always your attendance and contributions are much appreciated.

Click the link to listen to the class. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mesillas Yesharim 05/17/09

This week we ventured further into the detriments to watchfulness.

The last two weeks (catch up here and here) have focused on setting aside time for Torah and spiritual growth. This is to avoid becoming mired in materiality and neglected our spiritual needs.

Today we moved on to the next detriment. The next thing Ramchal teaches us to avoid is an overarching lack of seriousness. Perhaps it could be more precisely defined as immaturity.

Ramchal says that being un able to take things seriously and scoffing anything important is going to impede our growth.

Find out how by clicking below.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Speak Up! Economic Crisis Hitting Jewish Day Schools

I blogged a little while back about the pinch being felt in Jewish Day School and Yeshivas.

The LA Times must be reading my blog because they finally caught on to this growing problem. Today I read about the familiar names in our Los Angeles Jewish community who are suffering budget crises.

Is there hope for our schools? Is it possible to sustain a system that requires such tremendous financial commitment from its families? 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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If you have any questions for the Rabbi please click here to privately and confidentially send me your question.

Please include, gender, religion, level of observance and age in your question.

All questions will be answered!

- Eliyahu Fink

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