Menu   

Posts by Rabbi Erez Sherman

It’s All In Your Mind


I took a Lyft to a Purim party on Wednesday evening, fully dressed in an Incredibles costume. Standing on the busy corner of Wilshire Blvd. during rush hour traffic, I was self conscious with regard to my appearance.   As I opened the car door, I apologized to the driver for causing a public scene. The driver, who came to this country over 20 years ago, looked at me seriously and said, “Are you kidding me? You made my day! And wherever you are going…You’re going to make their day too!!!!”   He continued, “It’s all in your mind!”  …

Read this post

Remember


Tonight we will sing L’cha Dodi to welcome in the Shabbat bride. We say Shamor Vzachor, we should guard and remember the Sabbath day. It is a positive approach of remembrance. Yet, the same word, zachor, remember, is used to remember the acts of the evil Amalek, acts of destruction for the sole purpose of sinat chinam, senseless hatred.    While these two ways of thinking appear vastly different, in fact, the principle behind remembering, both good and evil, is the same. Rabbi Yitzchak Sladowsky teaches that remembering Shabbat prevents spiritual disease. We preserve the holy and the sacred, engaging…

Read this post

Show & Tell


There is no better way to learn than to show and tell. It works in preschool, but it also works as adults.    Sinai Temple has been blessed to be part of the Israeli Shin-Shin (shenat sherut) program this year. Four Israeli teenagers who graduated high school last spring work at Sinai Temple and Sinai Akiba Academy, bringing their love of Israel to our community. As they enter the Israeli Defense Force this coming fall, they will bring the joy and passion of Sinai Temple with them.    The Torah tells us that Moshe took and put the testimony into…

Read this post

The Books Are Free!


Our family visited our local public library this week and our children received their first library cards. When we arrived at the librarian’s desk for checkout with a pile of books ranging from science experiments to Shel Silverstein poetry, they asked, “How much do the books cost?” They were in shock when the librarian responded, “The books are free…You just need to read them.”    Is this not true of our sacred book, the Torah? We are told that those who are chacham lev, wise hearted, should come and take part in building the sanctuary. The Baal Binah explains the…

Read this post

Does Ordinary Become Extraordinary?


The Rabbis’ gift was to infuse sanctity into each and every act of our day. We often believe that our Judaism can be checked in and out at the door of the synagogue. When we are in the sacred sanctuary versus when we are in our offices and our homes, do we need to lose the label of our Judaism?   Parshat Ki Tissa tells the Kohanim that they must wash their hands before they enter the Holy Temple in order to perform Avodah, the sacred service.   The Rabbis extend this ritual to every individual, creating the mitzvah of netilat…

Read this post

When Everyone Plays, We All Win


The world was wowed by Microsoft’s commercial advertising the adaptive device for special needs individuals to play video games with their friends and families. One child shouts, “Now everyone can play!” We are told at the conclusion of the commercial, “You never want your child to be viewed as an outsider. When everybody plays, we all win.”   My mind immediately raced back 30 years ago. For most of my life, I have identified myself as a sibling of a special needs person. My brother, Eyal, was diagnosed with a brain tumor and suffered a stroke as a 4 year…

Read this post

When You Believe


Over a decade ago, I was introduced to SHALVA, a center for special needs in Jerusalem, which leads the way that the world understands and embraces disability. I have had the privilege to visit SHALVA on multiple occasions and witness the miracle of the impossible become possible. I have witnessed mothers and fathers turn tears into smiles, as they discovered a place where they could feel safe and find opportunities, employment, and resources that greatly improve their quality of life. When I define a Jewish hero, I often point to SHALVA founder, Rabbi Kalman Samuels, who started SHALVA after his…

Read this post

Beyond the Game Itself


I did a double take several weeks ago while watching a college basketball game between Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh. At the top of each Pittsburgh uniform, was a large magen david, Star of David. I searched the roster, and did not find one Jew, player or coach, on that team. After being moved by this small but gigantic gesture, I emailed the Associate Head Coach, Tim O’Toole. I thanked him for the kind act and expressed the entire Jewish community’s gratitude, from east to west. Our Torah teaches us that we should not follow a multitude to…

Read this post

All That Jazz


As a high school student, I earned minimum wage working one of the best jobs of my life. I was the pianist in a big band, composed of the top jazz musicians in Syracuse. We would travel around the city playing the music of Glen Miller, Artie Shaw, and Benny Goodman. The audience? Assisted living facilities, community centers, Alzheimer’s centers, and community events. I watched the audience as we started each show- sleeping patients, frowns instead of smiles. Yet, as we concluded each show with “In The Mood,” the tenor of the room shifted to smiles, dancing in the aisles,…

Read this post

Pa-itis


There is a hereditary trait in our family called “Pa-itis.” It is named after my grandfather, Pa, who was born in Poland, spent time in a Jewish orphanage in Philadelphia after immigrating to America, and became a tire salesman. Pa, with no more than an elementary education, had the uncanny ability to tell his story to anyone and also illicit stories from those he came across. While it appeared annoying as a young kid, today I not only miss pa-itis, I realize it has been passed down the family tree. Our Torah teaches us, “You shall explain to your child…

Read this post