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Yom HaAtzmaut was a success in Israel. The programs there were good. We can forget about our town's blue and white falafel fiasco. The community will stay away from eating Israeli flags in the future. It's offensive to Jews.
No bothering the doctors in the middle of davening. Please, wait till Kiddish. We appreciate people coming to shul to avoid visits to doctors’ offices and copays. To answer Rivka's question, during Torah reading, it is also not proper, as some of the doctors try to not interrupt services, like the men in the back left. Only ask about your child’s illness at Kiddish. It's common courtesy.
The in-shul jungle gym will hopefully bring more kids to the shul. The idea is to get them here. We don’t care if they’re inside or davening. We want them at shul and outside of it. We will also have a weekly Shabbat freeze tag game during services. The ark will be used as base, for reasons of Chinuch. We want the kids to love shul, and the only way to do that is for them to not daven.
We will continue to host Zoom classes for those who don't want to be in shul. It's clear that you are happy not being around community.
Rabbi Mendelchem’s Sermon Excerpts
Shabbat Shalom My Holy Humans…
Be holy. Is it that hard??? I know we have a pingpong table in the lobby...
(Vayikra 19:2) H' tells Moshe to gather us and tells us to be holy. Why?... Have you ever tried getting a Minyin? It's impossible. You delegate that. You need people out there knocking on doors. Phone chains... People will do anything to get out of coming to shul... They're still using COVID... We do prayers for health every Shabbat. They can come and pray for health. The members are not committed to being holy... We have to be holy... No. I am not saying Bernie is Holy. We have to be holy (Vayikra 19:2) 'for holy I am, H' your Gd.'
Why are we holy? H' is. That's the reason. No other reason. It's not because you get better deals at Costco. A Mitzvah to be like H'... Holy. That means don’t be like Bernie.
It does not mean to gather people and go on a hike... If you're saying Brachas on the hike...
And then we have to fear our parents and keep Shabbat. Why? (Vayikra 19:3) 'I am H' your Gd.' You would do nothing... Chaim doesn't even do his homework... Because H’ doesn’t tell him… His parents tell him, but he doesn't fear them... He doesn't fear Gd either. If Gd told him, he would do it... Gd has a scary, very forceful voice. You do what He tells you.
Parents are the messengers. Like Moshe. Telling you to do homework, Chaim... All the hard work, H' sends messengers.
Don't worship idols. Why? (19:4) 'I am H' your Gd.' You guys would be moltening everything… Art is questionable… H’ does art. Interpretive… You don’t even look at Rashi. You interpret stuff… It’s messed up. It’s not holy. Your interpretation of respect is good. Look at the commentaries every once in a while. Not everything is art. Deciding if you're going to keep Shabbat and fear your parents is not art… Idols don’t tell you to keep Shabbat… Being holy? There's an art to that.
You leave stuff on your fields for the poor and you deal honestly with people. Why? H' is our Gd... You would leave nothing on your field. I've been over for Shabbis lunch. Dr. Minkowitz. You and your kids leave no leftovers...
We don't mess up, because H' is our Gd. You don't lose an inter-shul choolante contest, again... It's a Chilul H.' You're profaning...
How many times does He have to tell us, that He is H' our Gd?... If you listened the first time, Fran...
If it was up to you, you would take whatever you could.
(Vayikra 19:13-14) You don't cheat and you don't rob. You don't curse deaf people... I know they can't hear... H' hears. H' hears you talking during my sermon.
You don't put stumbling blocks in front of blind people. And you don't do that thing where you get down on your knees behind somebody so they trip over you... They can't see it, Chaim... 'Fear Gd'
We can't trust your judgment. You guys think the kick me sign is funny... It's because we have to be holy... Like Gd...
And we have to fear Gd... Without fear, you wouldn't even come to shul. When would you be holy?
If you didn't fear Gd, you would vote to keep the shul president... He doesn't fear Gd. That's why he's president... Fear of Gd keeps us right. It reminds us to be like H’, because He is holy.
You don't mess up judgment. Don't talk Lashon Hara. Don't hate in your heart. Rebuke if you must. Love your neighbor as yourself. 'I am H."' These are commandments... Not from the shul president. From Gd. Who can strike you down and kill your crops. Destroy your house... Storms... Now. Are you going to keep the Mitzvot? Are you going to come to shul on time? Are you going to gather now?... Moshe tried using that, but they didn't fear Gd yet... Gd didn't tell them to fear Him yet...
You come to shul... COVID isn't an excuse. Health is an excuse. You run at the JCC... Why is COVID not an excuse for the JCC... You're supposed to run to shul... Not in shul. H' doesn't run in shul.
We do it? Because H'. If we followed Sam, this congregation would consider it holy to hit the casino every Tuesday... You can catch COVID there too, Sam.
If you feared Gd you would be in shul, even on Tuesdays... You need fear. That's why we're going to start yelling at you when you show up to shul late.
No excuses. That's how you are holy. You do good with no excuses, even if you're sitting next to Bernie... You gather with people and you make sure to not be like them...
Jungle gyms cause kids to fear Gd. Ever been up on the slide ladder with fifteen kids? You fear for your life... Violence. And then going down the slide, you can burn...
Drawing kids with jungle gym. That's the new shul plan... Other things to draw kids? Weekly magic performances. Prizes... Like an arcade. No shul or Torah activities. That won't draw them...
We need the arcade to instil fear... A casino can also instil fear of losing all their money... That's why you leave a corner of your field...
Be holy. We’re now going to make Kiddish… To remember Shabbat… You keep holy like H' by eating the middle of your field, and gathering with people...
So, be in shul.
This message was given to the people who are in shul. That part was confusing.
The rabbi's been giving great messages of not to be like Bernie and Sam. We really learn a lot from them.
COVID is the congregants' excuse for everything. Can't call parents because of COVID. The local kosher kitchen's got bad lettuce because of COVID. Drinks on tap are not working, because of COVID. No service because of COVID. We call it a kitchen, because it's a charity now. It's a soup kitchen for people who keep kosher and can't find their food anywhere.
Never heard Samantha say she can't go to the supermarket or miniature golfing because of COVID.
The rabbi started using Gd a bit too much. To win any discussion, he started saying, 'Gd says...' and everybody agreed. It was like Simon Says, but the rabbi got a new house because of it. Chaim started doing his homework, in fear that he would be struck dead by Gd.
With the help of Gd, the rabbi finally got votes at the board meeting, for the shul bouncer idea, to stop people from talking during his sermon, to hold them off if they drank too much at Kiddish club for Musaf pre-gamming, and to not lose anymore inter-shul softball games.
The jungle gym in shul did ruin my focus a few times, as did the running around. One kid hid under my siddur for hide and go seek.
To instill fear and help make the congregation holy, the rabbi put together a few shul goons to yell at people when they show up late. The new shul Saturday morning bootcamp program has helped reform many of the congregants to people who show up on time, due to fear that Shmulik will hurt them.
With the fear of Shmulik and Gd, our congregants have been better Jews recently. At least the ones the come to shul. The ones that don't have too much fear to come now.
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The Falafel of Etan
Israelis are very possessive of their falafel. Even when they have a shop, they don't like to share it… That's Etan. Standing over them while they eat. Making sure they don't run away with his falafel.