Rabbi’s Teachings

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Table for Five – Parsha: Vayechi


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


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?


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


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 […]

Memorial Day is a Jewish Holiday Too

Memorial Day is a Jewish Holiday Too By Rabbi Michael Barclay In the 1890s, Mark Twain wrote an article about how Jews did not serve in the military of the United States. In response to that, 63 Jewish Veterans of the Civil War formed a group which is now the longest-running veterans service organization in […]

When the Chicken Votes for Col. Sanders

When the Chicken Votes for Col. Sanders By Rabbi Michael Barclay There is no question that anti-semitism is on the rise internationally at a level that has not been seen in decades. Sometimes couched as anti-Israel, we find hate mongers like Representatives Tlaib, Omar, and Ocasio-Cortez spouting their prejudices with hubris while their party’s leadership […]

Anti-Semitic Roots

Why the World Hates the Jews; and What We Can Do By Rabbi Michael Barclay When Japan attacked the United States in 1941, it was a declaration of war and was treated as such. It was not described as “hostilities”; nor has that term been used to describe any act of war throughout history with […]

Rabbi Barclay’s Jewish Journal Article on Faith vs. Fear

Torah portion: Darkness will become light Parashat Devarim (Deuteronomy 1-3:22 by Rabbi Michael Barclay   “Had I not fallen, I could not have arisen; had I not sat in the darkness, He would not have been a light for me.” — Midrash Tehillim This week’s portion is the beginning of the Book of Deuteronomy, which is read […]

Jewish Journal Article on Rabbi Barclay and Weddings

Years ago, long before I was ordained, I asked my friend Rabbi Larry Goldmark where he saw God. His response: “I see God when I marry a couple. The bride sees the groom; the groom sees the bride; but I see God standing in between them.” At the time, I thought it was a standard […]