Messages by Rabbi Michael Barclay

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Table for Five – Parsha: Vayechi

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By Rabbi Michael Barclay When Jacob blesses his grandchildren Ephraim and Manasseh, he does not ask that God bless the boys, but rather that the “angel who redeemed” him bless them. This angel is obviously important to Jacob, but what can we learn about an angel that redeems? Redemption, by definition, means that there was […]

Rabbi’s Thanksgiving Message

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Chevre Happy Thanksgiving!    Although considered a secular holiday, the concept of “thanks-giving” is an integral part of Judaism that is all too often ignored. There are three types of prayers that Jews traditionally say:  prayers of praise; prayers of petition; and prayers of thanks and gratitude. (This does not include any of our forms […]

Table for Five – What Makes Moses So Special?

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By Rabbi Michael Barclay What Makes Moses So Special? God knowing Moses “face to face” in our verse refers to Exodus 33:11, where we learn God spoke to Moses “face to face”, as a man speaks to his friend.” But we are also taught in Exodus 33:20 that God says “You cannot see my face, […]

The Jewish Roots of 4th of July

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Happy 4th of July! As we celebrate this wonderful holiday and the beauty of the summer here in the Conejo Valley, we need to remember how the values of our founding fathers are based on classic Jewish values, and how we can promote living these values today. Jewish-American History Most of the early leaders of our […]

Torah portion: Wake up!

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CLICK HERE to read the article at JewishJournal.com Guard and listen to all these words that I command you, in order that it be well with you and your children after you forever (Deuteronomy 12:28). This week’s portion, Re’eh, contains a break in Moses’ speeches about Jewish history and destiny. Here he reminds our people […]

The Big Choice

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CLICK HERE to read the article at JewishJournal.com I’ve always held the belief that if three or more diverse cultures have the same teaching, that teaching may be worthwhile and worth exploring. Nearly every tradition in the world teaches that all personal choices are, at their deepest level, based on choosing between faith and fear; […]

Torah portion: Becoming a distinguished people

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CLICK HERE to read the article at JewishJournal.com “You shall be holy, for I am holy” — Leviticus 11:45 I always find that Parashat Shemini inspires young people to ask questions. “Why did Aaron’s sons have to die?” “Why can’t I have a drink and get a little tipsy if it will help me enjoy […]

Chanukah: Filling our lives with an ancient light

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CLICK HERE to read the article at JewishJournal.com When we are children, Chanukah often seems the most important holiday — after all, we get gifts and chocolate coins. As adults, we learn that Chanukah commemorates a military victory as well as the miracle of the everlasting oil, and that it signifies our commitment to filling […]

Each day is a choice: Parashat Bereshit (Genesis 1:1-6:8)

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CLICK HERE to read the article at JewishJournal.com Only a couple of weeks ago, we were all feeling the holiness of Yom Kippur. By the end of the day of fasting, beautiful music, insightful teachings and prayers that deepened our self-awareness, we were remembering the real priorities in life. We had committed — to ourselves […]

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