Rabbi Lyon’s Blog

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“Judaism Loves Gray Areas”

October 22, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

In Genesis 11, just after the story of Noah and the ark, we read about the Tower of Babel. It’s a short story

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“Do you Swivel?”

October 15, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Judaism and technology sound like contrary ideas. Judaism is four thousand years old and technology is modern and cutting-edge. But I would argue

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“When the Gates Close”

October 8, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Just a week after Yom Kippur, we’re still feeling the warmth and spirit of our season of repentance. Thank you for your emails,

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“Our Fragile Home”

October 1, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Just five days after Yom Kippur, the most solemn day of the year, we begin Sukkot, the beginning of “Z’man Simchateinu,” the season

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“Get Out the Vote”

September 3, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

On November 3, 2020, we’ll all vote in our national election. Regardless of your voting preference, which is a private matter, the sharp

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“From Hate to Love”

August 6, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

The daily news is filled with hate and indifference, polarized issues and partisan politics. It’s hostile, caustic and destructive. The antidote often begins

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“Keeping the Promise”

July 23, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

This week, we open Deuteronomy, the last of the five books of the Torah. In Hebrew, the book is called Devarim, which begins,

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“Who’s Chicken”

July 14, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

It’s been more than ten years since I’ve spent July in Houston. This summer, due to the pandemic and the extra push to

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“In a Time of Revolution”

July 8, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Revolutionary times are the stuff of history, right? Not any longer. It appears that we’re making history, today. We began with the revolutionary

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“Summertime in the City”

June 25, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Summertime used to mean spending more time at home and less time in my office at Temple. As my time away begins on

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“Unmask the Conversations that Heal”

June 18, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

We react in various and multiple ways to the news. Sometimes, we come to the same conclusions and sometimes we misunderstand each other

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“A Time for Speaking”

June 11, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

A week ago, before the funeral for George Floyd, I urged us to listen. It was the right thing to do. Religious leaders

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“After We Mourn”

June 4, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

At a shiva house (a mourner’s house), the mitzvah (commandment) is to comfort the mourners. We bring food, we offer them a plate

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“Faith Doesn’t Take a Holiday”

May 28, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

This past week, many of Houston’s rabbis taught classes online for our community as we prepared for Shavuot, the festival holiday that comes

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“COVID-19 Effect”

May 7, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

As the world turns, the pandemic continues to snake its way through our lives. Invasive and elusive, we’re pretending that it isn’t really

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“May There Be Peace Within”

April 30, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

This difficult and prolonged period of social isolation defies our human nature to be socially connected. But, if we are to be socially

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“When Life Imitates Art”

April 23, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

When life imitates art, we should learn from it. This week, art comes from the Torah portion, Tazria-Metzora. It’s the Leviticus portion that

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“Know that You are Loved”

April 17, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

I can’t remember the last time I sat in my backyard in mid-April, on a towel on the ground eating lunch in the

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Take a Breath. Shabbat is Here.

March 19, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

It’s been 100 years since a pandemic once threatened our way of life. We have no personal experience with it, and the world

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Beth Israel is Here for You

March 12, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Judaism is not without guidance on matters of health and well-being. So important is it to maintain one’s health and to care for

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After AIPAC

March 5, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

I returned from AIPAC Policy Conference with more to think about than ever before. But, like previous years, I came with a frame

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We are Jews-by-Obligation

February 20, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Last Friday night, Rabbi Ofek Meir, Director of Leo Baeck Education Center, in Haifa, Israel, was our scholar-in-residence. He spoke about the weekly

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Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader?

February 12, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

There’s a benefit to being a rabbi. In times when justice, truth, civility, and integrity are mocked and challenged, I have a place

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When You’re Free, Your Soul Sings

February 6, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

This week’s Torah portion is called B’shalach (Exodus 13:17-17:16), and it contains the Song of the Sea. It’s the victory song sung by

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Buckle Up. Pray Hard. Drive Carefully.

January 30, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

In Chicago, they say there are two seasons: winter and construction. In Houston, they also say there are two seasons: summer and August.

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“You Can Vote for Israel, Our Way”

January 16, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Israel is on my mind. It always is. Beginning on January 21st, we will all be asked to support Israel’s future by participating

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“Anti-Semitism on the Rise”

January 2, 2020

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

I’m not a prophet nor the son of a prophet, to quote Amos. Neither are you. None of us can predict the future

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“Title VI: Not a Final Solution”

December 12, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

This past week, an executive order was signed that defined Judaism as a nationality. It’s an odd thing to do if it weren’t

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“The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Emes”

December 5, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Has anybody ever asked you to give them the “emes”? “Emes” means the truth. In modern Hebrew, it’s pronounced Emet, but the Hebrew

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“Save Room for Humble Pie”

November 27, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

In the New York Times, David Leonhardt wrote an op-ed that about the importance of enjoying a “tech-less” Thanksgiving. The point was to

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“Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6)

November 14, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

On its borders, Israel maintains pressure to withstand her enemies and pursuers. Skillfully and strategically, Israel navigates her way towards a unique brand

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Be a Blessing Where You Are

November 5, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

The Torah portion this week begins with the words, “Lech-L’cha,” go forth…to a place that I will show you. These are the words

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Pittsburgh, One Year Later

October 24, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

One year ago, a lone gunman walked into Tree of Life Synagogue, in Pittsburgh, and murdered and injured worshipers in the synagogue. The

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Newton and Rosh Hashanah

September 6, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Newton’s third law of physics states that “every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” I learned it in basic physics in school.

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I am a Jew

August 29, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

You probably don’t know the name, Edmond Fleg (1874-1963). He was a Jewish French writer, thinker, and playwright of the 20th century. During

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A March of Folly?

August 15, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

In April, 2016, New York Times columnist, Arthur Brooks, wrote, “Liberals should be liberals and conservatives should be conservatives. But our duty is

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Blessed is Peace

August 8, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

After two massacres in our nation we struggle deeply. Though they can’t prevent it from happening again, our thoughts and prayers can begin

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Tikkun Olam: Who’s Repairing the Jewish People?

August 1, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

 “Tikkun Olam” (repairing the world) gets a bad rap from some, and maybe for good reason. Tikkun Olam is an aspiration that has

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“Judaism is the Pursuit of Meaning” — Elie Wiesel

July 25, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Two weeks ago, I was in Israel. At 2am, one morning, my phone began to buzz. The message was that a terrible death

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“In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles.” — David ben Gurion

July 18, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

I just returned from a week in Israel. It wasn’t a tour and I wasn’t leading a group. Instead, the AIEF (American-Israel Education

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Excellence is the Way

July 2, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

I’ve often said, “The future of Judaism will not be built on mediocrity; it will be built on excellence.” Excellent rabbis, cantors, educators,

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Summer Time

June 27, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Summer Time After a full and meaningful year, it’s time for vacation. And, what a year it’s been. I’m grateful for the fullness

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Let’s Do This

June 20, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Let’s Do This At one time or another, all of us have said, “Don’t shoot the messenger.” Did you know that it comes

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Prayer is in Your Heart

June 13, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Prayer is in Your Heart Open up your TaNaCh, your Hebrew Bible, to Numbers 12. It’s one of my favorite portions, because it

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Freedom to Choose

June 6, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Freedom to Choose Thirty years ago, we witnessed the horror taking place at Tiananmen Square. On television, we had first-row seats to the

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Gratitude for 165 Years

May 30, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Gratitude for 165 Years Rabbi Karff used to say, “The only thing worse than a boring Annual Meeting is an interesting one.” Thankfully,

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God Says Yes

May 23, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

God Says Yes “Yes” is a powerful word. It enables us to be more than we are, because it gives us permission to

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Follow the Golden Rule for Peace

May 2, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Follow the Golden Rule for Peace In Houston, we gathered for a vigil on Monday afternoon to remember the tragedy in San Diego.

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Listening is Caring

April 25, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

 “Listening is Caring” On a recent Monday night, Lisa and I went to a nice restaurant. Monday is our date night.  When we

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After the Fire: Peoples of Faith Rise Again

April 18, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

After the Fire: Peoples of Faith Rise Again We experience awe in holy places. It can be on a mountaintop or on a

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Connected for Good

March 28, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Connected for Good Connected for Good was the theme of the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., which took place this past week.

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Are YOU commanding ME?

March 21, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Are YOU commanding ME? To be commanded by anyone feels heavy-handed. It feels contrary to our individualism, which we pride ourselves on as

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Anti-Semitism: When it Happens on the Airplane

March 14, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Anti-Semitism: When it Happens on the Airplane Anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head, again. This time it’s roaring forth with all its might

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Proper Accounting is a Jewish Value

February 28, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Proper Accounting is a Jewish Value The last portions of Exodus are periodically read as a double portion, called Vayakheil-Pekudei. This year, we

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Welcome, David Barak-Gorodetsky, PhD

February 21, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Welcome, David Barak-Gorodetsky, PhD Welcome, David Barak-Gorodetsky, PhD, who is coming to Congregation Beth Israel, from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, in

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A National Prayer Breakfast Experience

February 14, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

A National Prayer Breakfast Experience   The phone rang. It was Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher, member of the United States House of Representatives from

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Belonging is natural to us. Belonging sustains us. Belonging becomes us.

January 31, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Belonging is natural to us. Belonging sustains us. Belonging becomes us.   “Belonging” is something we crave as social beings. We crave groups

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MLK, JR & RBG

January 23, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

MLK, JR & RBG   On Friday night, January 18th, Congregation Beth Israel welcomed to the bimah 83 members of International Voices Houston,

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“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 17, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.   On Friday, January

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Listen. Read. Enjoy.

January 3, 2019

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Listen. Read. Enjoy.   What are you reading and listening to? I have three suggestions for you to fill your days and nourish

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In the new year 2019, let us strengthen each other

December 26, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

This blog has been reissued by request. In the new year 2019, let us strengthen each other   When I was a child

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A Kosher Christmas

December 20, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

A Kosher Christmas     In America, Jewish families have long had a role in Christmas, so mentioning it isn’t odd; it’s part

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Points of Light and #41

December 6, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Points of Light and #41   President George H.W. Bush, of blessed memory, created “Points of Light,” which promotes “solving serious social problems

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Rabbi Lyon’s recipe for a Shalom Bayyit, a peaceful house, this season

November 15, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Rabbi Lyon’s recipe for a Shalom Bayyit, a peaceful house, this season   Getting ready for the holidays requires more than stocking the

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“I did not leave tonight’s Sabbath of Comfort service pessimistic; but rather with a lot of hope.” The Honorable Sylvester Turner, Mayor City of Houston.

November 8, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

“I did not leave tonight’s Sabbath of Comfort service pessimistic; but rather with a lot of hope.” The Honorable Sylvester Turner, Mayor City

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“Kol Yisrael arevim zeh bazeh,” All Jews are responsible for each other

November 1, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

“Kol Yisrael arevim zeh bazeh,” All Jews are responsible for each other   I’m reeling from the shock and horror of the carnage

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“Anyone who thinks he understands Israel, hasn’t been fully informed.”

October 24, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

“Anyone who thinks he understands Israel, hasn’t been fully informed.” “Anyone who thinks he understands Israel, hasn’t been fully informed.” I don’t recall

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Diversity will be a non-issue and humanity will be highlighted as our 21st century achievement.

October 18, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

“Diversity will be a non-issue and humanity will be highlighted as our 21st century achievement.” Civility is missing, today. It’s not a political

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Access to truth before passing judgment is our moral duty.

October 4, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

“Access to truth before passing judgment is our moral duty” The news about this past week’s confirmation hearings doesn’t require another commentary, but

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“Behold, A Grandson!”

September 27, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

“Behold, A Grandson!” A Sweet New Year happens in many ways, but this year it happened in a way I’ve never experienced before.

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“Will they honor her memory by choosing to do the same?”

August 30, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

“Will they honor her memory by choosing to do the same?”   The Jewish New Year 5779, is just a week away. Before

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 08_17_2018

August 30, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

               How apropos that this week’s Torah portion is Shofetim (Deuteronomy 16:18ff), which includes the familiar phrase,

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“The time is ripe for renewing health, well-being and peace.” 

August 30, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

“The time is ripe for renewing health, well-being and peace.”   In Torah this week, Re’eh (see) is the first word of the portion.

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Thank God for the blessings we’ve been granted and the privilege to enjoy them.

August 30, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

“Thank God for the blessings we’ve been granted and the privilege to enjoy them.”    I’m back. Since June 1st, I was able

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Beware of Falling Rocks!

August 30, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

“Beware of Falling Rocks!”   In Jerusalem, a large stone fell from the Western Wall (Kotel) onto the egalitarian prayer space near Robinson’s

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“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.” Martin Buber

August 30, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.” Martin Buber   In 2006, a 2.5 pound Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

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I am a Jew because Israel’s promise is a universal promise.

August 30, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

“I am a Jew because Israel’s promise is a universal promise.” Just one month ago, following our congregational trip to Israel, I spent

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There’s no issue today for which we have to kill, defame, or alienate others, beginning with fellow Americans and fellow Jews.

August 30, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

“There’s no issue today for which we have to kill, defame, or alienate others,  beginning with fellow Americans and fellow Jews.”   Pinchas

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 06_29_2018

August 30, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

If you’re moving the pins on your map, then you’ll find me now in Colorado. Today, I’m surrounded by books and my laptop.

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 06_22_2018

August 30, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Don’t cite Biblical verses. Don’t make historical references. Don’t recite poetry and rhymes. When we forcibly separate children and parents, for any reason,

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 06_15_2018

August 30, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

The Beth Israel travelers returned home from Israel this week. They learned many new Hebrew words, like “arba” (four), “boker tov” (good morning),

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 06_08_2018

August 30, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

I’m in Israel. More than that, I’m breathing the air, eating the food, speaking the language, and watching our group experience the land

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 05_25_2018

August 30, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

On Israel’s 70th anniversary, the U.S. Embassy in Israel was officially dedicated in its new location in Jerusalem. It actually occupies a building

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 05_11_2018

August 30, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Freedom is an ideal for humanity that we constantly strive to reach. In 1986, Elie Wiesel (z”l), on the occasion of the award

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 05_04_2018

August 30, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Leviticus, a priestly book, has as its primary focus an emphasis on the cleanliness of the community and its adherence to ritual matters

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 04_27_2018

August 30, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Today, we hear a lot about power: military power, corporate power, and political power. We don’t hear as much about personal power. But,

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 04_20_2018

August 30, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

In the double portion, Tazria/M’tzora, we have the responsibility, even if it isn’t our pleasure, to investigate texts on birth and its aftermath, bodily

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 04_13_2018

August 30, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

The dietary laws presented in the Book of Leviticus are intended to draw us closer to God. But even I, as a rabbi,

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 04_06_2018

August 30, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

In the first half of Parashat Sh’mini (Leviticus 9:1-10:11), we read about the awful fate of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu. As sons of the

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 03_30_2018

August 30, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

When Shabbat falls on the first day of Pesach, Yom Rishon shel Pesach, we read in Torah Moses’ instructions to, “remember this day, on which

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 03_23_2018

March 23, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

This year, Parashat Tzav is read on Shabbat HaGadol, the great Sabbath preceding Passover. It is so called because we find in this week’s haftarah,

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 03_16_2018

March 16, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

The Book of Leviticus is not a favorite among biblical readers. If it’s any indication, Hollywood hasn’t recreated any scenes from Leviticus, like

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 03_09_2018

March 9, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

The last portion of Exodus is a double portion, called Vayakheil-Pekudei. It recounts the completion of the construction of the Tabernacle, the dwelling

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 03_02_2018

March 2, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

We have MUSIC! During Cantor Star Trompeter’s installation services last Friday night, I had the overwhelming sensation that the music we’ve come to

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog title Lorem ipsum dolor sit incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

February 26, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

“We are children. You guys are the adults. Work together, come over your politics, and get something done.”  David Hogg, student at Marjory

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog title Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, cons ectetur adip cons

February 26, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 02_23_2018

February 23, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

“We are children. You guys are the adults. Work together, come over your politics, and get something done.”  David Hogg, student at Marjory

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 02_16_2018

February 16, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

I was in New York City twice in the last three weeks. I don’t use the subway, because I’m quite sure that I’d

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 02_09_2018

February 9, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

We fear the things we don’t understand. It’s true. Think about anything you fear and you’ll conclude that you don’t understand enough about

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 02_02_2018

February 2, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

On Friday night, January 26th, I was in New York City, at Central Synagogue for Cantor Daniel Mutlu’s installation service. Cantor Mutlu invited

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 01_26_2018

January 26, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

This week’s Torah portion is called B’shalach (Exodus 13:17-17:16), and it contains the Song of the Sea. It’s the victory song sung by

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 01_19_2018

January 19, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

The Torah portion called Bo, described the last plagues that God visited upon Egypt before Pharaoh finally let the Israelites go. The narrative

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 01_12_2018

January 12, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Last Saturday evening, Malcolm Mazow was called to the Torah as a bar mitzvah at the age of 83. The Mishnah teaches that

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Rabbi Lyon’s Blog – 01_05_2018

January 5, 2018

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

From the Desk of Rabbi David Lyon January 5, 2018   “It is not your obligation to complete all the work, but neither