Friday, February 25, 2011

Why Kids Need to Fail

Why Kids Need to Fail

Taking the Shot - The only failure is not trying!

It could happen at any moment. Simone went to the doctor yesterday for her weekly checkup and they said that she is already 4 centimeters dilated. Although every Shabbat is very special, anticipating the birth of a baby makes it incredible! I never thought that I would ever have a large family. After all, I only have one sister and my wife has two sisters and here we are on verge of our fifth. Every child is unique and it’s our responsibility as parents to recognize their special virtues and talents and help them develop their distinctive voice in the world. I look forward to sharing the good news with you! Either way Friday Night Live will still take place at 6:00pm at Boca Raton Synagogue.

I would like to wish a mazel tov to Brett Loewenstern for making it to the top 24 on American Idol last night. Those of you that attended Friday Night Live three weeks ago will remember meeting Brett and after hearing him speak, we all saw how genuine and caring he really is. Next week is Shabbat Across America and I hope that you be able to join us for a traditional Friday night meal at 7:00pm following the program. On Friday night, March 4, 2011 hundreds of synagogues across the continent will take part in an historic national Jewish event to celebrate what unifies all Jews — Shabbat! Everyone is invited… singles, couples, families — all ages. “Turn an ordinary Friday night into something extraordinary!” That’s the magic of Shabbat Across America and Shabbat Across Canada. By participating in this continent wide event, you will not only have the opportunity to experience Shabbat, but you will be sharing your experience with tens of thousands of Jews across North America. To sign up or for more information please email me at No matter what your affiliation or which Shabbat Across America or Shabbat Across Canada location you choose to attend, NJOP’s annual Shabbat program will give you a “taste” of Shabbat. Explanatory services, traditional rituals, delicious meals and lively discussions are all important components of the Shabbat experience as well as the opportunity to spend the evening with like-minded people, friends and family.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the latest inspirational video called “Take the Shot” – the only failure is not trying. It’s a short video with a great message. Also if you haven’t listened to our new Jewish radio show call “Jewish Pride” please click here and help spread Jewish Pride with your friends.

Finally, I would like to thank all of the “new” members, those who signed up for new classes and those of you that encouraged others to participate. It’s been a real pleasure getting to know all of you and remember that I am always available if you need any assistance.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Reform Jews are considering Shabbat because they need Shabbat" - Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the URJ

The following is an excerpt from the sermon -

Sermon by Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie at the San Diego Biennial , December 15, 2007

Why is this happening?
Because we now understand that Shabbat was always central to Reform Judaism. Isaac Mayer Wise was a firm proponent of a traditional Shabbat. And for Classical Reform Jews, Shabbat was a serious matter. True, they significantly reduced both the duties and the prohibitions of the day, but what remained was observed with scrupulous dedication.
Also, other approaches to enhancing Jewish life have failed. Communal leaders outside of the synagogue love to talk the language of corporate strategy. They engage in endless debates on the latest demographic study. They plan elaborate conferences and demand new ideas. But sometimes we don’t need new ideas; we need old ideas. We need less corporate planning and more text and tradition; less strategic thinking and more mitzvot; less demographic data and more Shabbat. Because we know, in our hearts, that in the absence of Shabbat, Judaism withers.
But most important of all, Reform Jews are considering Shabbat because they need Shabbat. In our 24/7 culture, the boundary between work time and leisure time has been swept away, and the results are devastating. Do we really want to live in a world where we make love in half the time and cook every meal in the microwave? When work expands to fill all our evenings and weekends, everything suffers, including our health. But families take the worst hit. The average parent spends twice as long dealing with email as playing with his children.
For our stressed-out, sleep-deprived families, the Torah’s mandate to rest looks relevant and sensible. Our tradition does not instruct us to stop working altogether on Shabbat; after all, it takes a certain amount of effort to study, pray and go to synagogue. But we are asked to abstain from the work that we do to earn a living, and instead to reflect, to enjoy and to take a stroll through the neighborhood. We are asked to put aside those Blackberries and stop gathering information, just as the ancient Israelites stopped gathering wood. We are asked to stop running around long enough to see what God is doing.
And this most of all: In synagogue and at home, we are asked to give our kids, our spouse and our friends the undivided attention that they did not get from us the rest of the week. On Shabbat we speak to our children of their hopes and dreams. We show them that we value them for who they are and not for the grades they get or the prizes they win. During the week we pursue our goals; on Shabbat we learn simply to be.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Shabbat Across America - Next Shabbat at Boca Raton Synagogue

*Find a participating Shabbat Across America and Canada location in your community by clicking here.

On Friday night, March 4, 2011 hundreds of synagogues* across the continent will take part in an historic national Jewish event to celebrate what unifies all Jews — Shabbat! Everyone is invited… singles, couples, families — all ages.

“Turn an ordinary Friday night into something extraordinary!”

That’s the magic of Shabbat Across America and Shabbat Across Canada. By participating in this continent wide event, you will not only have the opportunity to experience Shabbat, but you will be sharing your experience with tens of thousands of Jews across North America.

No matter what your affiliation or which Shabbat Across America or Shabbat Across Canada location you choose to attend, NJOP’s annual Shabbat program will give you a “taste” of Shabbat. Explanatory services, traditional rituals, delicious meals and lively discussions are all important components of the Shabbat experience. as well as the opportunity to spend the evening with like-minded people, friends and family.
Shabbat Across America and Shabbat Across Canada is for every Jew, and those who are unable to go to a registered location can participate in their own homes or in gatherings with friends/family. For help in creating a Shabbat evening, try one or all of the following resources provided by the National Jewish Outreach Program.

*Find a participating Shabbat Across America and Canada location in your community by clicking here.
If you are a rabbi or synagogue lay leader and want to learn how to sign up your congregation for Shabbat Across America, click here.
Sponsored by the Melohn Family in honor of Mrs. Martha Melohn

Please visit the Boca Raton Jewish Experience at or click here

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Boca Raton Synagogue Journal Dinner 2011 - Josh Broide's letter

Thank you, thank you, thank you….

Thank you so much for participating in a “pilot” outreach initiative that was launched less than a year ago. This revolutionary approach encourages the members of the synagogue to reach out and engage unaffiliated Jews in the community. Professionals in the field have always realized that the biggest impediment to their success was the overwhelming number of unaffiliated Jews compared to the relatively small number of Rabbi’s. With the launch of the BRS Outreach Revolution we really entered uncharted territory. Could a successful modern orthodox community run a successful Synagogue based outreach initiative that would not only change the face of South Palm Beach County, but also inspire Jewish communities around the country to take a fresh look at outreach?

Well it might be too early to tell if there has been a real impact on an international level, but I can tell you that we have already made huge inroads locally and national organizations are taking note. Although we are only a little more than halfway through the year, I would like to point out some of the success stories.

We began this year with our Beginners Services for both Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur that were completely full. After the holidays we brought a Discovery Seminar to BRS and more than 350 people attended. We knew people would be inspired so we made sure to offer NJOP’s Crash Courses the following week. More than 90 people attended the Jewish History Class and dozens of people attended the Hebrew Reading and basic Judaism classes. In addition we launched two Shabbat programs. Friday Night Live is a weekly educational and social program that attracts about 25 people every week and the Explanatory Experience is the new intermediate service for those looking to take the next step. Our members have already distributed hundreds of easy outreach gifts as well as hosted families for Shabbat meals. In November, SOS – Share One Shabbos, was launched. We were in awe when more that 200 of our members signed up to host more than a 1,000 people for a traditional Friday night dinner. There are more than 70 people just signed up and started attending a new season of evening beginner classes and look forward to hosting another Shabbat Across America next week. There is also a new daily radio show called Jewish Pride, for people looking for a quick burst of inspiration. Upcoming programs include Share One (Purim) Seudah and Share One Seder as well as the kick-off of Partners in Torah. The one thing that I don’t have time to do is go into the way that the programs participants enjoy the classes and the experiences. Everyday e-mails and phone calls come in thanking our community for opening the doors.

We are all truly blessed to live in such a special community! Mazel Tov to all of the honorees, each of you have contributed so much to our community and helped me personally in so many ways. I want to thank Rabbi and Rebbitzen Goldberg for their support. This outreach effort would never happen without both of you. Special thanks to all of the Rabbis and staff at BRS, you are all very special and take pride that you are making Boca Raton Synagogue the most successful shul in America. Finally Simone, I have always said I could never do this without you and I have finally realized that I really couldn’t do any of this without you.

Thank you all!!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

March of the Living Southern Region Retreat in Boca

Holocaust survivors addressing the teenagers
Today the participants of the March of the Living attended a full day retreat at the Federation of South Palm Beach County. Students came from all over the Palm Beach and also from as far away Tampa to attend a full day of educational programs. The students had the opportunity to meet one another and finally meet all of the people that will be on the experience with them, They all worked on an art project that they will bring back after the March and realize how the impact of the trip has changed their perspective on what they anticipated today. They heard real life accounts from Holocaust survivors about the horrors that they had to endure. There was another interesting exercise which introduced the teenagers to the ZOA, AIPAC and J-Street. Although some of the students were familiar with some of the facts about one or two of the non-governmental agencies, few if any of them new the platforms of all three. It forced everyone to look at the other perspectives and question any pre-conceived notions.
Thanks to Jack Rosenbaum for putting together a very good program.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Rabbi Efrem Goldberg's Next Ten Years - "The Best is yet to come"

The following letter was mailed to the members of Boca Raton Synagogue from Rabbi Efrem Goldberg.
I am truly honored, humbled and deeply appreciative to have received our community's vote of confidence in renewing my contract for ten years.  Not a day goes by that Yocheved and I don't feel beyond blessed for the magnificent opportunity Hashem has bestowed upon us to be a part of this incredible community. 

We are very proud of what we have accomplished together with the community and our colleagues at BRS throughout our time in Boca and in particular in the last 6 years as Rabbi.  However, my friends let me tell you, the best is yet to come.  There is so much more that we can do, accomplish and achieve in partnership in the decade ahead.

Please join me at the conclusion of the 9am minyan tomorrow, as I begin what I hope will emerge as a community conversation about a vision for the next ten years.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Efrem Goldberg
This morning I had the pleasure of hearing Rabbi Goldberg deliver this speech. He began by outlining all of the accomplishments that have taken place over the past five years. It's hard not to be amazed by all of the programs and activities that have taken place in the short time that he has served as the Senior Rabbi. Then he listed the priorities that he would like to focus on over then next ten years. Number one on the list was the expansion of the outreach program. With the help of the membership, Boca Raton Synagogue will become a model for a successful synagogue based outreach program. Other goals include increased learning opportunities and the completion of the shul's campus.
Mazel Tov Rabbi Goldberg!!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Lunch with the Hebron Fund

Yesterday I had the opportunity to reconnect with an old friend, Ari Lieberman, who has just become the Executive Director of the Hebron Fund. The Hebron Fund, a New York based not-for-profit charitable organization was founded in 1979. While the fund is a separate entity, it was created as an affiliate organization of the Jewish community in Hebron and, subsequently, operates in concert with the community there to assess their needs and respond in kind.

A primary goal of the organization is the raising of capital for the improvement of daily life for the residents of Hebron, Israel. This includes funding for all parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, after-school programs, libraries, and summer youth activities; as well as sponsorship of public cultural and educational events in Hebron. In addition the Fund aids the maintenance and development of the synagogues in the Machpela Cave, the ancient Avraham Avinu Synagogue and other religious institutions in the area.

A secondary goal of the organization is educating the American Jewish Community regarding the rich historical Jewish past of Hebron and weaving that knowledge with present day experiences in the hope of reviving and expanding the ancient Jewish custom of pilgrimage to this holy site.

Due to the sacred role of Hebron in Jewish history, communities around the world have traditionally raised funds to provide humanitarian, educational and religious services for the Jews of Hebron since the early Middle Ages. We are proud to be continuing and expanding this tradition into the 21st Century.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A faith like Lincoln's would transform the world!

A faith like Lincoln's would transform the world! - James Oppenheim
During February we celebrate Presidents' Day, which contemporary America has designated as a two-for-one commemoration of the birthdays of two of our greatest presidents, George Washington (February 22) and Abraham Lincoln (February 12). In the convenience of a 3-day weekend and a flurry of holiday sales, we can only hope that future generations will not forget the extraordinary personalities and accomplishments of these two men. Washington, Lincoln, and the Jews. . . . While much has been written about the relationship of each of these men to the Jewish community of his day, there are other American president that maintained a special relationship. Let's take a look at a statement made by John Adams regarding the Jews
"I will insist the Hebrews have [contributed] more to civilize men than any other nation. If I was an atheist and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations ...
They are the most glorious nation that ever inhabited this Earth. The Romans and their empire were but a bubble in comparison to the Jews. They have given religion to three-quarters of the globe and have influenced the affairs of mankind more and more happily than any other nation, ancient or modern."
- John Adams, Second President of the United States
(From a letter to F. A. Van der Kemp [Feb. 16, 1808] Pennsylvania Historical Society)

I really hope that you had an enjoyable week and that you are looking forward to some time off this weekend that you can spend with friends and family. The Presidents of the United States of America have been some of the greatest leaders in the world. We must never lose sight of the fact that the reason for the national holiday is not to have a day off so we can go shopping, but to also spend time reflecting on the fact that America and its leaders has been better to the Jews than any other nation in History and for that we must be thankful.
Last week at Friday night live we were all treated to a very big surprise. Brett Loewenstern, a contestant on American Idol, showed up at the program and spoke to everyone about his personal challenges and his Jewish journey. I can tell you that this week will be just as exciting and I hope to see you at 6:00pm on Friday night. We also mentioned that we have an official "Friday Night Live" Facebook page - please CLICK HERE and "like it" and then send the link to a friend that you know doesn't belong to a synagogue.

Finally, if you haven't had a chance to hear our daily radio show called "Jewish Pride", please click on the link in the right column. I hope you enjoy. You will also see links for a GREAT video about Jewish unity and an article about Justin Bieber's manager. There is so much valuable information in this newsletter, please take a moment to look at all of the headlines.

Inspire yourself to inspire others...
Shabbat Shalom and may God bless you.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Friday Night Live at Boca Raton Synagogue

The Boca Raton Jewish Experience hosts a weekly Friday night program for beginners or individuals that would like to reconnect with a relevant and meaningful Jewish experience. The program began more than a year ago attracts a regular group of 25 participants each week. Friday Night Live begins at 6pm and lasts 45 minutes. Each session include a story, an inspirational message, singing, personal prayers, a Kiddush and social time. After each program participants are encouraged to attend an enjoyable Friday night meal with a family in the Boca Raton Synagogue community. Of course no membership is required and the program is FREE.
For more information please contact Josh Broide at (561) 702-3864 or visit
Inspire yourself to inspire others…

AIPAC Policy Conference 2010 | AIPAC Policy Conference 2011 Promo Video

AIPAC Policy Conference 2010 AIPAC Policy Conference 2011 Promo Video

AIPAC Policy Conference 2010 | Follow the Conference Live

AIPAC Policy Conference 2010 Follow the Conference Live

Monday, February 14, 2011

Jewish Groups Have Mixed Feelings on Highest-ranking Jew in Congress

WASHINGTON (RNS) When Virginia Republican Eric Cantor becomes House Majority Leader next month, he will become the highest-ranking Jewish member of Congress in history.
And for many Jewish advocacy groups in Washington, it’s a mixed blessing.
Cantor is a wonky yet telegenic lawyer from the Richmond suburbs who keeps a kosher home with his accomplished wife and three children. Colleagues on Capitol Hill call him a principled, understated politician with a good sense of humor and a knack for fundraising—he can top $1 million in a single evening.
In the new Republican-controlled House, Cantor, 47, will be second in line only to Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner. But while no Jewish lobby questions Cantor’s commitment to Israel, they generally share little of his domestic policies.
“His conservatism simply doesn’t appeal to mainstream Jewish voters,” said Tom Dine, the former head of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the influential pro-Israel lobby. “Poll after poll shows that the American Jewish community is progressive, and a smaller percentage is concerned about only Israel.”
Where most Jewish groups in Washington lobby for a strong social safety net, abortion rights and a strict separation of church and state, Cantor is most often on the opposing side. And even on Israel, some Jewish political leaders say, Cantor’s approach is too aggressive for Israel’s good.
Cantor, the only Jewish Republican in either the House or Senate, has GOP roots that go back at least a generation. His father, who owned a real estate firm, was treasurer of Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign in Virginia in 1980.
But unlike many Republican Jews, Cantor’s conservatism on fiscal issues mirrors his conservatism on social issues. He is a reliable vote for legislation against abortion and takes a hard line against government funding of embryonic stem cell research.
He staunchly supports gun rights, and fights restrictions on the tobacco industry. Earlier this month, he called for the Smithsonian to close an exhibit that angered conservative Catholics because it failed to “uphold common standards of decency.”
Cantor was unavailable to speak to a reporter for this story.
Republicans tapped Cantor for leadership roles soon after he arrived in 2001; in 2009, he became his party’s whip, the member charged to enforce party discipline. As whip, Cantor was key in ensuring that President Obama’s economic stimulus package failed to gain a single GOP vote as it passed the House.
This year, with two other congressman, Cantor published “Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders,” a book on how the GOP lost its way and can return to its ideal of limited government.
Even Cantor’s wife has noted his atypical standing as a Jewish Republican. Diana Cantor, a partner in an investment firm and chairwoman of the board of trustees of the Virginia Retirement System, once told The Washington Post that she was shocked, on their first date, when her future husband revealed his affinity for the GOP.
“I said, `I thought you were Jewish?’ I’d never met someone who was Jewish and Republican,” she remembered telling him.
Diana Cantor, whose father was a Democratic activist in Florida, has stated for the record that she does not share her husband’s views on abortion and other issues important to social conservatives.
Jewish leaders may also have to take a similar “agree to disagree” approach in their dealings with Cantor as House majority leader.
“It’s a relationship that has to be strengthened,” said Richard Foltin, director of national and legislative affairs for the American Jewish Committee.
While Foltin said no one questions Cantor’s commitment to Israel, on social issues the AJC will “engage as far as we can. As advocates, on some issues we may have to go elsewhere.”
Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, a pro-Israel lobby that tends to attract more dovish supporters than AIPAC, is more eager to point out the disconnects between Cantor and Jewish American voters, even on Israel.
He notes that Cantor, in October, floated the idea of separating aid to Israel from the foreign operations budget, to safeguard Israel’s foreign aid dollars in a Congress that seems increasingly skeptical of foreign aid in general.
J Street, AIPAC, the National Jewish Democratic Council and much of the pro-Israel press publicly rejected the idea, arguing that the separation would foster an isolationism that would undermine Israel’s security.
Ben-Ami says he is similarly disturbed by the overly tough stances Cantor and other Republican House leaders have taken against Israel’s neighbors in the Middle East, such as Cantor’s bill to end U.S. taxpayer support for the Palestinian Authority.
“Fanning the flames of conflict is doing a disservice, because what constitutes friendship for Israel in the long run is helping it find peace and security with its neighbors,” said Ben-Ami.
Republican Jewish leaders say Cantor isn’t an anomalous Republican Jew, and point out that in November’s midterm elections, Republicans captured nearly a third of the Jewish vote, up from the average of about 25 percent in recent elections.
Supporters predict that Cantor will help swell the ranks of GOP Jewish politicians at all levels, and relish the prospect of Cantor as the nation’s first Jewish president. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., reportedly put Cantor on a short list of possible running mates for his 2008 presidential bid.
“He has risen to the highest level in Congress,” said Matthew Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “I don’t think he has any proving to do to anybody, whether he is a Republican or Democratic.”

Tuesday's "Jewish Pride" radio show will talk about the Congressman - click on

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Eric Cantor and a lot more at Boca Raton Synagogue

This had to have been one of the best Shabbos' ever at BRS. Last night at Friday Night Live all of the regular participants got to meet and hear from a Jewish celebrity, a very special person, Brett Loewenstern. Brett has had a new interest in reinvestigating and renewing his connection to Judaism and it was so nice to hear from him about his personal Jewish journey. Everyone at Friday Night Live has been following his appearances on American Idol and we all enjoyed spending time with him. When you have a chance check out our new Facebook page when you have a chance - just search for Friday Night Live.
Also, this moring we all heard from Congressman Eric Cantor, the current Majority Leader. He delivered an incredible speech after davening and is a remarkable person. Hearing all about his commitment to Judaism and to the State of Israel is truely inspiring.
To round out the day, we all heard two classes from Rabbi Skobak, an expert in the area of missionaries.
All I can say is what an amazing shul. I can't wait to talk in detail about the Shabbat experience on the Jewish Pride Radio show this week.
Please visit and tune in for all the programs.
Have a great week and "Inspire yourself to inspire others...."

Friday, February 11, 2011

4 nights 4 classes - a huge success at the Boca Raton Jewish Experience

We truly have an exceptional Shabbat ahead and after such a successful week it's hard to imagine that it could get any better. This past week we launched four new weekly classes and all were well attended and well received. If you missed the first class, please see the information below about registering for the next session. NJOP's crash courses are amazing, they are so easy to follow and I know that you will enjoy and learn a lot.

This weekend we are hosting the HIGHEST RANKING Jewish official in Congress, Eric Cantor. The congress man will be delivering the sermon on Saturday morning. On Sunday night I urge you to attend a special class with our Scholar-In-Residence, Rabbi Michael Skobac. He is world renowned and the program is free. All of the details about all of the classes and programs can be found below and I encourage you to attend the class and tell a friend as well. No registration is required.

If you have a chance please take a look at the new video that I posted, it's very inspirational and I also want to thank all of you that are tuning into the new daily radio show. Remember if you don't hear it live you can listen to any of the archived shows at your convenience, just click on the link in the right column. Finally I really can't wait to see all of you tonight at Friday Night Live at 6:00pm. For those of you that haven't attended in a while, we a have a solid group of about 25 people every week and I know that with your help it's going to continue to grow. Also we just started a Friday Night Live Facebook page, please take a moment to visit the page and "like it". For further details about the program, please see below.

I really want to thank the Dona Klein Jewish Academy for inviting me to speak to their students and parents this past week and I look forward to partnering on future projects.

Inspire yourself to inspire others...
Shabbat Shalom and may God bless you.


To view the complete e-mail newsletter, please click on the following link

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

About Iranium the Movie

Iran's nuclear program presents a threat to international stability. Yet successive American administrations-Republican and Democratic alike-have misread the intentions and actions of the Iranian regime.
How dangerous is a nuclear Iran, even if it never detonates a weapon? What are the guiding principles of the Iranian leadership? To what lengths would the regime go to carry out its agenda? How far have Iran's leaders already gone to fund the world's most powerful terrorist organizations? And why have American leaders failed to gain the upper hand in relations with Iran during the past 30 years?
In approximately 60 minutes, Iranium powerfully reports on the many aspects of the threat America and the world now faces using rarely-before seen footage of Iranian leaders, and interviews with 25 leading politicians, Iranian dissidents, and experts on: Middle East policy, terrorism, and nuclear proliferation.
  • Iranium documents the development of Iran's nuclear threat, beginning with the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the ideology installed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini.
  • Iranium tracks Iran's use of terror as a tool of policy, beginning with the 444 day seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, through Iran's insurgent actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Iranium details the brutal nature of the Iranian regime to its own citizens, and the Iranian people's desire to rejoin the international community.
  • Iranium outlines the various scenarios the greater Middle East and the Western world may face should Iran cross the nuclear threshold.
In order for Iranium's important message to have maximum impact, we need YOUR help. Click here to find out more about how you can take action.

To see the movie, please scroll to the bottom of this page.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

National JSU meets with the JSU South Florida & NCSY Team

Susan Wachsstock (JSU Executive Director), Brad Sugar (Director of Operations), Josh Broide (JSU South Florida), Rabbi Ben Gonsher (NCSYDirector of Institutional Advancement) & Todd Cohn (Southern NCSY Executive Director)
JSU South Florida greeted the national JSU administration for a day long meeting in Hollywood. There are so many things that the local South Florida team has in common with all of the other areas, but there are things that are particular to the South Florida community. These meetings are great opportunities to learn where we can improve and what areas need to be addressed. Hearing feedback is so important to ones personal growth and I am happy we got to spend the time together. Towards the end of the meeting we met with the members of the NCSY team who we have collaborated with and will continue to collaborate with in the future.
For more information about JSU, please visit and check out the JSU South Florida Facebook page at!/pages/JSU-South-Florida/177741235573260

Monday, February 7, 2011

March of the Living - Miami Meeting

Dr. Leon Weissberg (Director of the March of the Living) and Josh Broide

It was so nice to be invited to participate in a meeting that discussed the March of the Living in Miami and how the program can be improved. The meeting was held at the Federation of Greater Miami and I can tell you that it's not easy sitting through a five hour meeting in the evening. However, when it comes to such an important program, like the March of the Living,  its crucial to be a partner and participate. Basic questions dealing with the nature of today's teenagers and how they have changed as well as more complicated issues were all addressed and I know that important improvements will be made to the program that will enable more teens to attend and transition back into the Jewish community following the experience.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Jewish Radio Show is Really Taking Off

After a great week of broadcasting our new morning show, we are gearing up for another exciting week. This week on "Jewish Pride", we will feature topics such as personal growth and also have a live interview from Israel with Rabbi Jeffrey Saks. It's really great to hear so much feedback from our listeners and all of the suggestions have been noted. Thanks for helping make this the best radio show in America!!

If you cant catch the show live from 6:00am - 6:30am, you can always listed to the archived shows by clicking on the following link

Please help spread the positive messages that you hear on Jewish Pride by emailing the link to a friend.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Veshinantam Levanecha draws more than 200 children!!

Children studying Torah with their parents
Our grand prize winners with their new Nintendo Wii
Josh Broide and Big Dov calling out the raffle tickets
It's already been called the greatest Jewish youth program in the world but tonight's Veshinantam Levanecha exceeded all expectation. Tonight was the Season 11 Grand Finale and more than 200 children showed up at Boca Raton Synagogue to spend quality time learning Torah with their parents and grandparents. What an incredible sight to see!! It's really amazing to see so many families decide to go back to the shul on a Motzei Shabbat instead of going to movie, a sleepover or out to dinner. Everyone sat on the floor for an unbelievable kumsitz and at the end of the night everyone got a prize and pizza.
Special thanks to Big Dov, Alden Maman, Moshe Kaminetsky and of course Rabbi Goldberg for making the event a huge success!
Click on the following link to see a clip of the program
Coming soon Season 12!!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Boca Raton Jewish Experience

In this week's Torah portion we find that Moses was puzzled about the appearance of the Menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum) until God showed him a replica of the Menorah made out of fire. Moses was able to conceptualize all of the other vessels of the Tabernacle, but somehow he had difficulty conceptualizing the complex shape and structure of the Menorah. Therefore, God formed a Menorah out of fire and showed Moshe exactly what the Menorah looked like. However, even that did not help. We know from another statement of the Sages that even after Moses saw the image of the Menorah, he still could not construct it. Finally, God instructed Moses to have Betzalel throw the gold into the fire, and the Menorah was created miraculously. The question must be asked: God knew Moses' capabilities. If, ultimately, God knew that Moses would not be able to construct the Menorah on his own, why did God ask him to do something that he could not do?

It was vital and crucial for Moses to see the shape and form of the Menorah -- even if he would not be able to duplicate it. A person must have a vision of what is required and expected. If one does not have the vision, he cannot even begin. One must have a dream, whether that dream can be realized and become a reality or not. The minimum that is absolutely necessary is the perception of a direction and goal. The initial image that God showed to Moses was the vision of the Menorah. Moses was then at least aware of the dream -- the ultimate goal. If later, Moses could not construct the Menorah himself, then God would help, but at least Moses knew what he was trying to accomplish. There are many things in life that are beyond our capabilities. We need the Help of Heaven to accomplish them. However, in order to be able to invoke the Help of Heaven and reach that dream, we must first possess the dream and the vision. This is what we learn from the verse: "See and construct, according to the image that I showed you on the mountain."

This week we are starting new classes and programs, and even if you have pushed off taking classes for years, don't push it off any longer. Please take a look at the newest program called Partners in Torah, and I hope you find something that speaks to you.

Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ducks Quack, Eagles Fly

Harvey Mackay was waiting in line for a taxi at the airport. When a cab pulled up, the first thing Harvey noticed was that the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie and freshly pressed black slacks, Wally the cab driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back door. Harvey noticed that the inside of the cab matched the outside - spotlessly clean.

As Wally slid behind the wheel, he said, "Would you like a cup of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf."

Jokingly, Harvey said, "No, I'd prefer a soft drink."

Wally smiled and said, "No problem. I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, water and orange juice."

Almost stuttering, Harvey said, "I'll take a Diet Coke."

Handing Harvey his drink, Wally said, "If you'd like something to read, I have The Wall Street Journal, Time, Sports Illustrated and USA Today."

As the taxi pulled away from the curb, Wally handed Harvey a laminated card and said, "These are the stations I get and the music they play if you'd like to listen to the radio." As if that weren't enough, Wally told Harvey the air conditioning was on and asked if the temperature was comfortable.

The driver then advised Harvey of the best route to his destination for that time of day. Wally also let Harvey know that he'd be happy to chat and tell him about some of the sights or, if Harvey preferred, to leave him with his own thoughts.

"Tell me, Wally," the amazed passenger asked, "have you always served customers like this?"

Wally smiled and looked in the rear view mirror. "No, not always. In fact, it's only been in the last two years. My first five years driving, I spent most of my time complaining like all the rest of the cabbies do. Then I heard the personal growth guru Wayne Dyer on the radio saying that if you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad day, you'll rarely disappoint yourself. He said, 'Stop complaining. Differentiate yourself from your competition. Don't be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd."

"So I decided to change my attitude and become an eagle. I looked at the other cabs and their drivers. The cabs were dirty, the drivers unfriendly and the customers were unhappy. So I decided to make some changes. I put in a few at a time. When my customers responded well, I did more."

"I take it that has paid off for you," Harvey said.

"It sure has," Wally replied. "My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income from the previous year. This year, I'll probably quadruple it."

Wally the cab driver made a different choice. He decided to stop quacking like a duck and to start soaring like an eagle.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Boca Raton Tribune - JSU South Florida article

Click here to view the article on the Boca Raton Tribune website

Everyone in South Florida is talking about the important work of the Jewish teen organization called JSU – Jewish Student Union. This past summer two new dynamic individuals were hired to connect more Jewish teens with other local Jewish organizations and youth programs. The new JSU South Florida Director is Rabbi Josh Broide, a veteran Florida Youth Director and the former Executive Director of Boca Raton Synagogue, America’s flagship Modern Orthodox synagogue. Josh is incredibly ambitious and goal oriented and wants to take JSU’s success to the next level. There are currently almost thirty clubs being run in cooperation with the Jewish Teen Initiative of the Palm Beach Federation as well as Southern NCSY. Important partnerships have been developed with the Federation of South Palm Beach, Young Judea, BBYO, USY and NFTY and discussions have already begun with the Federation of Greater Miami. Josh has already identified and targeted a number of additional schools with a high concentration of Jewish teenagers. Daniel Mesa was hired as the JSU South Florida Program Director. Daniel is one of South Florida’s best youth directors and has been hard at work developing original and creative programming for the clubs. In addition JSU will be running a trip to Israel this summer called TJJ – The Jerusalem Journey and Josh will be supervising a bus from our area. This trip is highly subsidized in order to make it appealing to Jewish teenagers that have never been to Israel.

The Jewish Student Union (JSU) is a national organization dedicated to establishing Jewish clubs in public high schools. Founded with 4 clubs in Los Angeles in 2002, JSU has enjoyed rapid growth and now serves more than 220 clubs across North America, reaching more than 9,000 teens annually. By fostering a social atmosphere, presenting engaging and entertaining educational programs, and lowering the barriers to participation, JSU reaches all types of teenagers from the under-engaged to the already involved.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

JSU South Florida meets at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation

Dr. Chaim Y. Botwinick (President & CEO of CAGE), Saby Behar (Director of CAGE), Josh Broide (Director of JSU South Florida) JoAnne Papir (Chair of CAGE)

Youth Directors, Regional Directors, Rabbi's and Member's of the CAGE Board of Directors at the meeting held at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation
JSU South Florida attended a historic meeting of organizations that are involved with Jewish teenagers in Miami/Dade County. Dr. Chaim Botwinick, the President and CEO of CAGE, said that this was the first time in many years that all of the different groups got together around the same table. Saby Behar and JoAnne Papir led the meeting and everyone in attendance had the opportunity to introduce themselves and describe the organization that they work for. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and was able to share the successful programs that they have run for their teenagers. The next part of the meeting was dedicated to figuring out how this new network of teen professionals can collaborate and work together. At that point JSU South Florida had the chance to describe its program and articulate all of the ways that it can assist the other organizations. The mission of JSU is very simple to "Connect Jewish Teens" and it's program was very well received. Both Josh Broide and Daniel Mesa got to field questions during the lunch break and address specific issues of public school Jewish programming. This was the first of many meetings that will take place that will allow everyone to collaborate on future activities.

As Miami’s central communal agency of Jewish education, responsible for high quality educational leadership and service, CAJE fosters collaboration, creativity and commitment to educational excellence. It serves as an anchor for decision-making and as a baseline for strategic thinking and analysis. Together with our Jewish educational institutions, CAJE empowers the next generation with Jewish knowledge, values and passion – the key ingredients which guarantee our Jewish future.

The Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE) is deeply committed to Jewish continuity and renewal through quality formal and informal Jewish education. As a central agency, profoundly dedicated to the unswerving pursuit of educational excellence, CAJE is devoted to creating, fostering and nurturing a community of Jews with deep knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Jewish traditions, culture, values and heritage. Through its extensive network of day schools, early childhood programs, congregational schools and adult education programs, CAJE endeavors to create an exciting and meaningful Renaissance for Jewish living and learning in the Greater Miami Jewish Community. Underscoring CAJE’s mission and vision is its commitment to educational innovation and experimentation anchored in a philosophy of excellence and model practice.

CAJE is a beneficiary agency for the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.