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In the movie Borat, the main character Borat travels to America from his small village in Kazhakstan with the goal of bringing back wisdom to his country. One of his objectives is to improve his sense of humor. He says Kazakstan is 98th in the world in humor. So, Borat goes to a humor coach, Pat Haggerty, who tries to teach him how to tell a ‘not’ joke. He illustrates by noting that Borat’s suit is gray. If he were telling a...

If it weren’t for Purim, I wouldn’t know anything about popular music. My popular musical tastes are frozen in time several decades ago. But, once a year, on Purim, I have to learn something about what’s current musically. And, that’s how several years ago, I came to feel a connection to Lady Gaga. One Purim, I dressed up as Lady Gaga, or Lady Graga, with red groggers velcroed onto a gold lame dress. And, since then I have felt a certain...

Janine and I have an expression about a child who was raised in a dysfunctional family. We say he was raised by wolves. In the case of J.D. Vance, being raised by wolves would have been a step up. In his book Hillbilly Elegy, Vance describes his journey from nearly flunking out of high school to graduating Yale Law School. And, he gives primary credit for his success to his hillbilly grandparents, James Lee Vance and Bonnie Blanton, who he...

My granddaughter Daniella is 8 months old. And, she has begun to experiment with her voice. That’s how babies learn to talk. So, sometimes Daniella is very loud, and sometimes she whispers. Sometimes, she is all vowels—like when she cries. And, at other times, she uses consonants, especially the sounds of b, d and g, which she pronounces over and over again. Eventually, Daniella is going to learn to talk which means she is going to trade in her vowel-dominated communication...

This sermon comes with a trigger warning. Before I begin, I want to say that my purpose in this sermon is not to take a political side or to cast aspersions on any political figure or political party. On the contrary, my purpose is to begin to provide a path of healing and reconciliation among people of vastly different points of view. So, I ask you not to make assumptions about where I am going with this sermon until you...

Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook and the author of Lean In. Two years ago, her husband David Goldberg died suddenly at the age of 48 of a massive aneurism. His death left Sheryl in a state of shock. Her children were 8 and 10 at the time. It was a devastating loss. And, she has written a book about her experience called Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy. At the end of the book, Sheryl Sandberg...

I’d like to share an old joke, with a new analysis. Harry Schwartz comes to his rabbi and says, ‘Rabbi. I have a favor to ask. I want to you to make me a Kohen.” And, the Rabbi says to Harry, “Harry, you know I love you. But, I cannot make you a Kohen.” And, Harry says, “Please rabbi, if you can find it in your heart to make me a Kohen, I will donate $10,000 to the synagogue’s annual campaign.”...