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Turtleneck Tuesday' and Chai Lifeline Shabbaton Update

12/06/2016 04:34:12 PM


This Shabbos is our first ever Chai Lifeline Shabbaton, which the community has facilitated through its enormous generosity. I know how difficult it can be on a cold Shabbos to leave our homes and participate in a Shabbaton like this but I can't stress enough how valuable these types of weekends are to ourselves, our families, our community and most importantly to the participants. Not to be at all maudlin or manipulative, but these are kids...Read more...

Yom HaShoah 5774

04/28/2014 06:56:33 PM


I always find myself pulled to two different emotional  poles on Yom HaShoah. 

On the one hand one can't help but feel overwhelmed by the sheer numbers - the absolute enormity of the catastrophe. The New York public library has an exhibit of various pictures and other objects of note from Warsaw from before the war. In that collection, they are exhibiting the pre - war Warsaw Jewish phone book that was compiled in the late...Read more...

An Oheiv Shalom Have Its Limitations

11/25/2013 02:27:08 PM


One of the great sources of pride that I feel in klal Yisroel is the fact that we can say with a certain level of confidence that we are a nation of Rodfei Shalom- pursuers of peace. Despite our well founded skepticism we entered into the Oslo Accords with the PLO, withdrew from Gaza and to this day overwhelmingly support some form of a two State agreement. 

This National perspective that values peace even when others would seek...Read more...

Ryan Braun & the Challenge of Integrity

07/24/2013 01:03:28 PM


This past week the Sports world witnessed a scene that has become all too familiar- namely the suspension of Ryan Braun, one of baseball's best players, due to steroid use. 

Braun's saga is of particular interest and not just because he might be the best Jewish baseball player since Sandy Koufax. Braun was found guilty of steroids some two years ago after winning the MVP and swore on his life that he was innocent. He promised...Read more...

Lance Armstrong, Martin Luther King & The challenge of innocence lost

01/29/2013 06:29:48 PM


   Like many people, I followed the Lance Armstrong saga the past couple of weeks with piqued interest. For those whom the word 'Livestrong' means very little, Lance Armstrong was one of the most highly decorated and lionized athletes of our generation for the incredible feat of winning seven Tour De France cycling championships. Even more noteworthy, Armstrong is a cancer survivor who won most of those championships after his...Read more...

Post Sandy Reflections- The Sounds of Silence

11/09/2012 12:09:29 PM


  Two weeks ago during the shul's Orchos Tzaddikim Shiur, we spoke about the midda of shetikah, of silence. At the time I mentioned two different perspectives as to why Chazal were so enamored with this quality of silence.
    One reason is that silence reflects a certain sense of awe and respect for a person/ place or event. There are moments in life when we are called upon to be outspoken or jocular and other...Read more...

Reflections from a rendezvous with the Geico Staff

09/12/2012 05:58:50 PM


I mentioned this incident two weeks ago at Shalosh Seudos but wanted to take the opportunity to relay it here again. Clearly the thoughts are simplistic but they are felt, and hopefully expressed, with real sincerity.

Several weeks back after a long day and night in the Yeshiva, I returned back to the garage to find that one of my tires was completely flat. With as much good cheer as one can muster at 11:30 at night, I called Geico...Read more...

Thoughts from R' Blass 'Pesach Sheini and the Missing Moon'

05/11/2012 06:17:06 AM



This past Motzei Shabbos we exited the shul to be greeted with the sight of rain falling, which meant that for the first time in my memory Kiddush Levana was officially 'rained out'. I'm sure there were some who gladly retrieved their car keys and headed home, but I know that for myself, and I'm sure for others, there was a certain feeling of disappointment. Kiddush Levana, as described by the gemara, is a...Read more...

The Priestly Garments and Yankees Pinstripes

04/26/2012 11:19:46 AM


The priestly garments and Yankees pinstripes- a few thoughts about shul attire. Please take a moment to read.

With the increasingly warm weather of spring upon us, I wanted to spend a few moments to address the somewhat sensitive issue of shul attire. I know there are some who will loudly applaud my remarks and others who will not. I warmly and fully encourage any discussion on this topic, even if your feelings may differ from my...Read more...

The Super Bowl, Linsanity and the Pursuit of Meaning

02/26/2012 12:57:02 PM


Since I last wrote about a month back, the NY Giants won the Super Bowl in dramatic fashion and a slightly built, Harvard educated, Asian American has taken the International sports world by storm (if anybody reading this e-mail doesn't know what Linsanity is I'm actually quite impressed and a little jealous). These events coming in tandem; a super bowl watched by 120 million Americans and the craziness over Jeremy Lin, stimulates one to ask...Read more...

Block Out Bliss

12/14/2011 09:42:30 AM


For all of you who wait breathlessly for my 'thoughts', I apologize for this long hiatus. The hiatus has been so long in fact that I have not written since before the blackout. 


I know I might sound slightly imbalanced when I say this, but I actually enjoyed the blackout. Now to be fair, our family was only without power for a couple of days, and I am fully sensitive as to how trying and...Read more...

Bestowing Comfort

10/25/2011 09:50:01 PM


Well known are the statements and parables of Chazal that encourage acts of chesed. One of the most famous examples can be found in the Gemara in Sotah (14a) that states that following the death of Avraham Avinu that HKB'H was menachem aveil and attempted to bring some measure of comfort to Yitzchak. In fact, many of the Rishonim believe that nichum aveilim is not only Biblically mandated (this is the position of Rabbeinu Yonah,...Read more...

Thoughts from R' Blass Part Four

09/27/2011 04:23:58 PM


Have you ever stopped to consider the key phrase of the Yamim Noraim Tefilla - "U'Teshuva, U'Tefilla U'Tzedaka Ma'avirin at Roah HaGezeirah- repentance, prayer and charity remove the evil decree"- and ask yourself which of these don't really belong? We could theoretically understand how teshuva and tefilla are game changers. How the teshuva, as expressed through the prism of tefilla, reflects a statement that the...Read more...

Thoughts from R' Blass Part Three

09/15/2011 04:23:31 PM


"A holy Jew who I have the privilege of knowing well, recently returned from the Far East where he spent a few days in an exceedingly impoverished part of the world. He sent me an e-mail describing some of what he saw in his stay there.    

His e-mail stimulated thoughts about the lives that most of us lead. Often we feel worn down, anxious, nervous about money, frustrated with our children etc. If told to step...Read more...

Thoughts from R' Blass Part Two

08/23/2011 04:19:26 PM


I mentioned a month back that I was going to begin to write weekly or biweekly e-mails on various topics both halachik and otherwise. I have been slow getting out of the gate, but with the beginning of the school year I would like to get into a steady pattern.

I spoke in shul this past Shabbos, and again Sunday evening at Mincha, about the ramifications of the Pasuk of the 'V'asafta D'ganecha' which literally means that 'you...Read more...

Thoughts from R' Blass Part One

07/18/2011 04:37:50 PM


I will be beginning to send out weekly or bi-weekly e-mails on different topics both halachik and otherwise. Please feel free to e-mail me with any feedback, comments, or questions.

In reflecting about the unspeakable tragedy in Borough Park that gripped our community last week I found myself thinking about the Gemara at the beginning of Meseches Brachos. The gemara records a conversation between two of the...Read more...

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