Ian Silverman, Rabbi

rabbi10View current news articles, commentary, videos and more that have an impact on Jewish culture, politics and religion at Rabbi Silverman's Sites to See

 

ברכת כהנים   THE PRIESTLY BLESSING 

One of the most beautiful customs of our shul, not common for Conservative shuls, is Duchaning (in Yiddish, Duchanen), which we do in the Musaf service for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. If you haven’t experienced this lovely ceremony performed by our Kohanim (Kohens), I encourage you to stay through Musaf to do so. There is a special melody in this ceremony in which the Kohanim repeat the words of the Blessing of Aaron, the High Priest, from the book of Numbers (Yevarecha). We uniquely adapt the tune to melodic lines on Rosh Hashanah evening, and the antiphonal response, led by the Cantor, is quite haunting and joyful.

Why do we Duchan? Numbers, Chapter 6, instructs Aaron and his sons to bless the Israelites with the verse “Bless you, guard you…May Hashem lift His face to you and be gracious to you…May Hashem give you peace…” Since every Kohen is a descendant of Aaron, they are to repeat the blessing for every congregation of ten. Kohanim count as a part of the 10 congregants in the minyan that they are blessing. If a minyan dissolves while they bless the congregation, they continue and conclude it. If the Chazzan is the only Kohen, he is allowed to move from his stand on the bima and face the congregation to bless them. During the repetition, he must wash and remove his shoes before beginning the standing devotion. If he is not the only Kohen, he remains in his place.

Why is this custom of blessing the people called duchening? Because the word for bima, or raised platform, in Aramaic is Duchan. The Kohanim ascend the platform as a mediating symbol between the congregation and the Holy Ark. At this moment, they are a conduit for blessing. The Kohen raises his hands and spreads his fingers in a “V” shape. His hands, therefore, form two Shins (Hebrew letter ש), which equals 600. His fingers are ten and his blessings are three, which equal 613–the number of mitzvoth in the Torah. Talmud Hagigah mentions that one should not look at the fingers of the Kohen as they bless, as doing so will “weaken the eyes.” Probably this was so the Kohen, in feeling  one’s gaze, would not become distracted. It is not correct, however, to turn around, as many do, and show their backs to the Kohanim as they bless us. Many rabbinic authorities label this a “superstitious custom.” It is far better to face them and simply look downward or place one’s head under one’s own tallit as one receives the blessing.

 How many times a year is it customary to do the Kohen blessing with Duchenen? In traditional congregations of the Diaspora (outside of the land of Israel), it should be done on Yom Tovim only (the five major holidays.) In the Ashkenazic congregation of Safed, Israel, it is done on major holidays and each Shabbat, and so, too, in many Ashkenazic congregations outside of Jerusalem. Sfardic synagogues in all of Israel do it every day. Many liberal congregations have discontinued it, considering it a vestige of the past and attached to sacrificial rituals.

There are some interesting facts of Duchening. We take our shoes off, not because the High Priest came in bare feet for the Yom Kippur ceremony, but because the Shulchan Aruch determined that a shoe lace untied can cause a fall, or an effort to tie an untied shoe lace nullifies the hand washing. This would prevent the shoe lace handler from saying the blessing, causing people to think him impure. To avoid this, it was decided that all would take off their shoes before blessing the congregation. A Kohen who doesn’t wish to say the blessing, perhaps because he dislikes someone in the congregation, should get over it! If a Kohen is impure after being in a cemetery, he should intentionally remove himself before the Kohanim begin to ascend the bima.

 

My hope is that this year more of us attend Musaf with our new Chazzan so that they can experience this special ritual performed so enthusiastically by our congregation’s Kohanim. If you are a Kohen and wish to participate, please contact me at 631-741-5344. I will be happy to show you what’s involved.

Beth and I welcome warmly our new Chazzan Mondrow. I look forward to sharing our bima with him Yamim Noraim and beyond, for many years to come. And of course, we wish you and yours a shana tova oometuk. May you and your family be inscribed for a sweet year of health, success and spiritual meaning. שנה טובה

Israel Committee Events

Committee Meetings
All meetings begin at 7:00 pm

 

Programs
Sunday, October 22-
Join us the movie The Forgotten Refugees, followed by a discussion with Dr. David Kazzaz, father of congregant Jeff Kazzaz, who was expelled from Iraq in the 1950s.


 

Chai Institute

Israel Items of Interest

Film recommendation: Mekonen, the story of an Ethiopian Jew who makes peace with an emotional past and embraces his future in Israel, becoming a decorated officer in the IDF while remaining true to his African roots and culture.

Did you know that the first victim of 9-11 was an Israeli Special Forces Veteran who rushed the cockpit of American Airlines Flight 11 to stop the hijackers, but was murdered in his attempt to stop these al-Queda terrorists. Watch a quick video, HERE. 

Read about a small guitar workshop in Jaffa, creating the finest instruments, HERE.

A PhD student at Hebrew University has won an award for developing a test to detect Parkinson's Disease. Read about it HERE.

Three years after publishing an anti-Israel letter in the medical journal, The Lancet, the editor admits he has deep regrets and has dedicated the latest issue to highlighting health care in Israel. Read about it HERE.

Read an article by Chris Coons and Marco Rubio from the Wall Street Journal, "Every Senator Agrees the UN Must Change," HERE.

Israel's medical clowns- they cheer up sick kids, reduce anxiety, decrease pain, and alleviate depression. They are Jews, Christian Arabs, and others. Watch a YouTube video about them HERE.

Learn about the connection of Jews with Israel, the decades-long quest of Israel for peace with it's neighbors, the failure of Palestinian leadership to turn conflict into coexistence, and the contrast between the fate of Palestinian and Jewish refugees from the Arab-Israel conflict, HERE. 

Women of the IDF video

 

Rabbi Silverman's Suggested Sites to See

An ad campaign proposed by Palestinians for London's underground subway stations depicting the peaceful Arab population before and bereavement after the establishment of Israel in 1948 has been rejected by the city of London. Read about it HERE.

According to experts, Israel and Saudi Arabia are praising Trump's new policy towards Iran, a sign that their shared concern is "nudging" Israel and much of the Arab world closer together. Read about it HERE.

November 2nd commemorates the history of the Balfour Declaration, when Lord Balfour announced the support for the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people in what was then the Ottoman region of Palestine. Read the history HERE.

According to an ex-AP reporter, Journalists covering Israel have created a reality that doesn't match what's really happening. Read the explanation that came out of the Christian Media Summit HERE.

Read excerpts from the US Congressional Record of 1922, demonstrating the powerful sense of members of Congress for reestablising a Jewish national home in Palestine, HERE.

Read the Las Vegas shooting statement from the Rabbinical Assembly, HERE.

The American Jewish Historical Society, founded to study and preserve Jewish history, is now made up of anti-Israel activists due to its partnership with the JVP, Jewish Voice for Peace, and anti-Israel BDS hate group that defends anti-Semitism. Read about it HERE.
UCLA Professor David Myers, appointed CEO of the center this past summer says he loves Israel and denies that he is for the BDS movement. Read his defense HERE.

 

End the practice by the Palestinian Authority to provide cash to terrorists for injuring and killing Israelis and foreigners by supporting the Taylor Force Act, named after a US serviceman murdered in Tel Aviv, whose assasin's family benefits from PA terror payments. Urge Congress to end these payments HERE.

Watch a video showcasing the StandWithUs Center in Jerusalem HERE.

Although Canadian hate speech laws are more restrictive than those of the US, the courts in Canada did not cite an imam for his prayers to "destroy the accursed Jews." This comes despite Jewish communal support of Muslims after six worshippers were killed in a mosque. Read about it HERE.

Chelsea soccer star Alvaro Morata is tellling fans to stop chanting a song in his honor that contains anti-Semitic language- a principled stand that sets the right tone for all sport, HERE. 

Jews exiled from Iraq in the 1950s were forced to leave behind treasured items that were recovered by US troops in 2003 in a flooded Iraqi basement. The State Department is planning to return them to Iraq, but Senator Chuck Schumer is among a group of US lawmakers that have joined Jewish groups in lobbying to keep the archive in a location accessible to Iraqi Jews and their descendants- none of whom now live in Iraq. Read about it HERE.

A disturbing assessment of the present state of feminism by one of its pioneers, Phyllis Chesler, HERE.

The Rabbinical Assembly has issued a statement on the Las Vegas incident– HERE , as well as a statement on sensible gun control – HERE

Israel's Yad Vashem was redesigned and reconstructed in 1993, but the collusion between the the Germans and Arabs in their hatred of the Jews has been significantly downplayed from its emphasis in the former museum. Read about it HERE.

Jewish college kids confront aggressive and professional anti-Semitic efforts to transform campuses into Israel-hostile environments. Most Jewish students manage to remain unaffected by moving to the "sidelines" of the debate and "proceeding with life as students normally would." But this is a win for the anti-Israel campaign. Read why HERE.

Monday, September 25th, was "Hate Israel Day" for the UN Human Rights Council, a regular agenda item that targets the Jewish state. Surprisingly, an ex-Hamas Palestinian took the floor and challenged the Palestinian Authority, citing Israel as a false and convenient scapegoat for the suffering of the Palestinian people and selfish political interests of the PA. Read Mosab Hassan Yousef's words HERE. 

Learn how you can help, where you can drop off needed supplies, or make a donation toward the Relief and Recovery Effort for Puerto Rico, click HERE.

Watch an interview of Israel's former Ambassador to the UN, Ron Posor with Alan Dershowitz discussing certain UN agencies. The interview by Israeli television is laced with optimism at the appointment of former PM of Portugal Gutierrez as Secretary General, HERE.

Before three Israeli's could be buried following a Palestinian terrorist attack on September 26, Abbas' Fatah movement celebrated the killings on Facebook, calling the killer a martyr and promising to reward the family in shekels. Read about it HERE.
If you want the world to take real action to stop Palestinian terror join your voice to the 46,000 people who have signed The Israel Project petition HERE.

Support the Isreael Anti-Boycott Act, which protects US companies targeted by international boycotts against Israel and punishes those who comply with them. Read all about it HERE.

The U.S. State Department annual report applauds the Palestinian Authority for curbing violence, recognizing Israel, and pursuing an independent Palestinian state through peaceful means. Read about this fantasy HERE.

According to a Palestinian psychologist, women hijacking planes and murdering Israeli civilians are "wonderful acts of heroism." Unfortunately, these are the societal values of the Palestinian adversary. Learn about it HERE.

A pro-Palestinian Jewish group is urging young Jews to shun Birthright because, while Birthright offers free trips to Israel, Palestinian refugees are barred from returning to their homes. Read about it HERE.

Norway received a refund for a women's center they had funded, after learning that the woman it had been named for had led a terrorist attack in 1978. Does this signal a new beginning in Europe's attitude toward the Palestinian Authority? Find out HERE.

A charity organization called "Islamic Relief" received funding and notariety across the globe, but they have been tied to extreme violent anti-Semitism. Read about it HERE.

Find out what you can send to Houston to aid area Conservative shuls HERE.

Jewish critics accuse the Holocaust Museum of bystanderism for excusing the Obama administration in its response to war crimes committed by Bashar al-Assad in Syria and not taking action to prevent them. Read about it HERE.

The biggest threat to the continued existence of Israel comes from the propaganda campaign that rejects Israel's right to exist. Read the essay by Professor Gerald M. Steinberg of Bar Ilan University, HERE.

Israel's response to Hurricane Harvey is, again, "a light unto nations." Make a donation to the disaster relief through IsraAID HERE

In the run for Illinois governor, Jewish State Senator Daniel Biss dropped his running mate, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, who was a supporter of the BDS movement. Read about it HERE.

Esther Meshoe, daugther of South African Parliamentarian Dr. Kenneth Meshoe, defends Israel a video, HERE.

Dealing with anti-Semitism is a larger problem that Charlottesville. Read David Harris's blog HERE.

While the Israeli government is embracing and financially supporting ultra-Orthodox policies, it is paying little attention to Masorti non-Orthodox Jewry. Masorti needs donations to deal with this funding disparity. Please consider a donation HERE.

Read a worthwhile essagy Palestinian Settler-Colonialism, by Dr. Alex Joffe, HERE

Donate to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund through the UJA Federation NY HERE.

Read the blog of Yehuda Kurtzer: Talking Nazis Personally (and Collectively), a well thought-out essay by a contemporary Jewish thinker that looks at Charlottesville from many angles of Jewish memory. This piece pleads that we work together rather than at cross purposes in our response, HERE.

Read Watching Charlottesville from Jerusalem, an excellent reflection by Daniel Gordis HERE.

Watch an animated video about how anti-Semitism has mutated over time, HERE.

Read The Truth Behind Bar Mitzvah Tears, by Wendy Jaffe. A reflection that says it all perfectly, HERE.

Learn the proper protocol to handle Palestinian activists on campuses as exemplified by Georgetown University HERE.

A video about all the wonderful aid Israel provides worldwide, that will bring a tear to your eyes HERE.

 

 

Buy Chai, Double Chai and larger multiples–– now available for gift purchase


(Click HERE to purchase)

 

Continuing Religious Education

Download our Shabbat Prayer and Song Book

Religious School Handbook, 2017-2018

The Bar Bat Mitzvah Handbook

 

SHMA Suffolk Hebrew Midrasha Academy
South Huntington Jewish Center
2600 New York Avenue
Melville, NY
Call for information- 631-643-5979
Registration Application




Contact Us

The East Northport Jewish Center
328 Elwood Road
East Northport, NY, 11731  

Phone: 631-368-6474
Fax: 631-266-2910
Religious School Office: 631-368-6474

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Religious School: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CONGREGANT PORTAL

 

        

Upcoming Events

healthcare jobs washington dc

levitra uk

atrium pharmacy

doxycycline online

harmony korine drugs

levaquin online

prescription medication for leg cramps

buy tetracycline online

pills for a bigger booty

buy azithromycin online

metanx prescription

viagra

priority health insurance

dapoxetine uk online

google android 2.2 tablet

phentermine 37.5 mg

i need a doctor song

adderall online without a prescription

water pill for high blood pressure

lorazepam online

naturopathic doctor schools

ostaa viagra