Shalom, Not Peace

Naso | Rabbi Michael Siegel | June 6, 2020

Sometime in the 8th Century, a silversmith etched Hebrew letters on a small piece of thin, pounded silver. It was then folded and presumably worn either as jewelry or pinned to the person’s clothing. This tiny sliver of silver contains the earliest example of Hebrew writing in the world today. For those who would deny Continue Reading »

The Silver Platter Upon Which Our Freedom Rests: Thoughts on Yom HaZikaron and Memorial Day 2020

Memorial Day, Yom HaZikaron | Rabbi Michael Siegel | May 23, 2020

I experienced Yom HaZikaron only once in the land of Israel, but I never forgot it. Yom HaZikaron is the Israeli version of Memorial Day, a 24-hour period set aside for a nation to remember its fallen soldiers. At 8 p.m., sirens blast throughout the country announcing this most solemn day. The seriousness with which Continue Reading »

The Excellence that Comes from Pursuing Perfection: What I Learned About the Jubilee Year from Vince Lombardi

Behar-Behukotai | Rabbi Michael Siegel | May 16, 2020

Growing up in Cleveland in the 60’s, football was the civil religion. No matter what part of the city you lived in, your politics, religion, race, or socioeconomic standing, the one thing that everyone could agree on was their love of the Cleveland Browns. I can still remember the excitement of a Sunday as game Continue Reading »

Making Sense of the Non Sequitur’s of Our Society

Emor | Rabbi Michael Siegel | May 12, 2020

In these days of COVID 19 it is important to find reasons to smile; opportunities for laughter. There are certain comedians that make me smile without even having to watch their routines. I just have to hear their names.  For me, the Marx Brothers, the antics of Groucho, Harpo, and Chico, rank high on my Continue Reading »

Abraham, The Beatles, and Love in the Age of Coronavirus

Acharei Mot-Kedoshim | Rabbi Michael Siegel | May 2, 2020

Sometime in early 1967, the BBC began publicizing an upcoming live television event that would “for the first time ever link five continents and bring people face to face with humankind, in places as far apart as Canberra and Cape Kennedy, Moscow and Montreal, Samarkand and Soderfors, Takamatsu and Tunis.” This ambitious program would be Continue Reading »

The Still Face Experiment in the Age of the Coronavirus

Tazria-Metzora | Rabbi Michael Siegel | April 25, 2020

In 1975, the psychologist Edward Tronick first presented the results of the “Still Face Experiment”. He focused on the powerful attachment babies had with the face of their mothers, and the way they study every movement every facial expression. They also noted how babies work to illicit responses in the form of facial expressions, a Continue Reading »

When the Sounds of Silence is the Best Response: Reflections on Aaron in the Midst of the Coronavirus

Shemini | Rabbi Michael Siegel | April 18, 2020

Hello Darkness My old friend I’ve come to talk with you again Growing up in the 60s, one of my favorite songs was The Sound of Silence, by Simon and Garfunkel. This song captured the mood of a turbulent generation: the assassination of JFK, the war in Vietnam, and the civil rights movement. It spoke Continue Reading »

The Choice of Hope Over Despair

Yizkor | Rabbi Michael Siegel | April 16, 2020

We gather in the midst of a world pandemic. As of this writing, there are 613,000 cases of people infected in the United States with the Coronavirus. So far, 26,000 people have died. This morning, we will recite Yizkor, and joining in this service of memory are those around the world who are remembering loved Continue Reading »

God, Science, Albert Camus and the Plagues

Pesach | Rabbi Michael Siegel | April 9, 2020

Dam, Tzfardeah, Kinim, Arov, Dever…. Blood, Frogs, lice, wild beasts, cattle plague… As I say those words, I can feel my pinky twitching! As a little boy, I remember well the recitation of the plagues and taking a drop of wine out of my cup and putting it on a plate.  I can still remember Continue Reading »