In Memoriam: Ted Kennedy and R’ Zelig Epstein

As I am sure you all know, this week America lost a leader. Edward Kennedy served as a United States Senator for 46 years, the third longest tenure in U. S. history. During his time in the Senate, Kennedy was a tireless champion of many of the social values discussed in this weeks Parsha: caring for the poor, the less fortunate, and fair treatment for workers. As Jews living in America, we have an obligation to express our appreciation, hakaras hatov, for Senator Kennedy’s work keeping these values at the center our public policy.

Serving HaShem with Simcha

A rabbi is greeting his congregation after Kol Nidre services. When he sees Mr. Schwartz, he shakes his hand and says, “Mr. Schwartz, I need you to be in God’s Army.”
Mr. Schwartz replies, “But Rabbi, I am in God’s Army.”
The rabbi asks, “Then why is the only time I see you in shul on Yom Kippur?”
Mr. Schwartz leans in, and whispers confidentially, “Shhh. I’m in the Secret Service”

All around the world, synagogues are preparing for their “busy season.” And it is natural that those involved with running Jewish communal institutions are once again asking, “How can we make this year’s High Holiday more attractive to alienated and disconnected Jews?” And once again, hundreds of thousands of Jews will feel turned off and disappointed, and not come back until the next year- if then.

So how to we change that pattern? This week’s parsha hints at an answer to precisely this issue.