Rabbi's Blog

Rabbi Mendel's Blog

Rabbi Mendel's blog features his Dvar Torah (Torah lesson) column from the weekly E-TORAH, ocassional musings and other articles that he authors from time to time.
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E Pluribus Unum

The motto E Pluribus Unum, translated as, “Out of many, one,” is found on the Great Seal of the United States as well as on some US coins.  Its origins date back to 1776 when the committee met to develop a seal.  Originally, the meaning was obvious: out of many states (or colonies) emerge a single nation.

Nowadays, it has also come to represent the diverse nature of the American people.  Out of many races, religions and ethnicities – one nation has emerged.

The beauty of America is not that Idaho and New York are identical. It’s that they are unique – yet still come together to form one country.  Each state is critical. Yet each state’s distinctiveness does not destroy the singular i… Read More »

From Rags to Riches

Facebook, the social media giant, has inked a deal to purchase Whatsapp, a social media messaging app, for a whopping $19 Billion.  Jan Koum, the Jewish, Ukranian-born CEO of Whatsapp has gone from immigrant living in poverty to Silicon Valley billionaire.  His journey is a remarkable tale of the American dream and the new age of instant wealth.

When a five-year-old company with only 55 employees eclipses the value of venerable Fortune 500 companies such as Sony, we know that we are living in a new era. Some might call it a kind of alternate reality.

It also demonstrates the fierce dependency and profound mania our society has with technology and social media in particular.  Whatsapp has reached 450 million users – wi… Read More »

The Most Delightful Aroma

I had the opportunity to be the spectator at two sporting events this week. One was a professional hockey game. The other was my ten-year-old son’s basketball game. At each of them there was a lot of cheering and celebration. But the loudest cheers resulted from the most different of causes.

At the hockey game there were plenty of fans rooting for their team. When a point was scored or a goal defended, the applause went up. But the cheering that took down the house was one that startled me.  At first I did not realize what had caused the thunderous ovations. But soon enough it became evident that a fight had broken out on the ice. Two players were engaged in protracted, vicious combat, which could easily have resulted in serious… Read More »


In a bizarre twist, a life of privilege has become a rationale for failure and getting off the hook.

Ethan Couch, a 16-year-old, pleaded guilty to four counts of intoxication manslaughter for causing a drunken driving crash that killed four and injured two others last year.  Authorities said he had a blood alcohol content of 0.24 — three times the legal limit for an adult — and that he was driving 70 mph in a 40-mph zone. He managed to steal beer from a Walmart and tests also revealed Valium in his system.

The judge sentenced Ethan to a mandatory stint at a residential treatment center for an undisclosed amount of time. But he will do no jail time. Not even in a juvenile detention center.

Media reports point to outrage a… Read More »

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