Showing posts from September, 2017

Freedom, where is it? A Yom Kippur message

Given at Kol Nidre service
Bondi Junction (Sydney) NSW
29 September 2017

Janis Joplin sang a song at Woodstock which was the anthem of a generation. Me and Bobby McGee, which contained this conclusion,
“Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose 
Nothin', don't mean nothin' hon' if it ain't free, no no 
And, feelin' good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues 
You know, feelin' good was good enough for me, good enough for me and Bobby McGee.”

I sang that song along with Joplin, with Waylon Jennings in 1973, with Willy Nelson when he covered it in 1979 and still that conclusion about freedom lingers in my memory to this day.

Nothing left to lose. Like the North Queensland Cowboys who will be playing with nothing to lose on Sunday in the NRL Grand Final. When no one expected the boys to carry on after the loss of both their co-captains, they have nothing left to lose. Is that freedom?

One website, Live Science, defined freedom as “F…

Back then, and now...

Some things remain the same, and some things change. When I was a kid, my mom and Donna Reed, June Cleaver, and just about any reasonable woman wore heels around the house, was always around the house, and was ever baking and helpful. Dad came home at 5:30 for a 6 pm dinner, and family chat. Ah, back then. Moms were like this.

Cameras all looked like this, and so did the kids.

Rosh Hashanah greetings had to do with being sealed and written in the book of Life. Now, everyone wishes each other a 'sweet new year", but nothing about the Book of Life. Fascinating.

And the self-consumption world has caused us to go from Rosh Hashanah's meanings of selichot and tashlich (sorry and throwing away our sins) to family meals and dipping apples in honey. It's all about the food! And the selfie world is not only for Jewish people. It's for everyone. And it's ruining the planet.
Life is different, to be sure. And it certainly can continue to adjust... which way wil…

Forgiven? An exit poll.

If we asked you, "Do you feel forgiven?" what would you say? At the end of Yom Kippur, after ne'ilah prayers on Saturday evening, after fasting all day, after davening and seeking G-d's forgiveness...what will you say? On what would you base your forgiveness if you actually felt such?

Many will look to their own volition, their own goodness and intention as suitable and enough to get the Almighty's attention. And his forgiveness. It is very good to have the right attitude, for sure. I wonder if we are really as serious, as kind-hearted, as honest as we should be in this regard. I'm not criticising anyone particularly at all! I remember my own long prayers during the day, and remember how sometimes I was sincere, and often I wasn't. Again, I'm not saying anything about everyone else; just wondering.

Still others commend their Orthodoxy, as if their religion and their particular prayers, from Kol Nidre to ne'ilah are comprehensive, with nothing…

Pride comes before a fall

The book of Proverbs says, "Pride goes before a fall." (16.18) An online dictionary 'translates' this to "said to emphasize that if you are too confident about your abilities, something bad will happen that shows that you are not as good as you think." That pronouncement makes sense to anyone who was running first and ended dead last. It makes sense to those who watched Steven Bradbury win the Olympic gold medal in 2002 in the 1,000-metre speed skating event. But making sense doesn't always translate to owning something.

I really liked Alex Smith's comments after Thursday night's victory of the Kansas City Chiefs over the almost-never-lose-at-home New England Patriots at Foxboro. Tom Brady led the opening drive for the Pats into the Chiefs' end zone without so much as a drop of sweat. After a fumble by the Chiefs on the next play, Brady had the Pats down at the Chiefs' goal again. But some serious defence and some good continuing work…

Father's Day Sermon: Penitential Prayers and Promised Messiah

Prayers of repentance and God’s answers:
A study in Daniel 9

Given by Bob Mendelsohn
Father’s Day: 3 September 2017
LCM Churches, Lane Cove, NSW

Thank you Darren, and all the staff, and all the volunteers who make LCM such a great place in Lane Cove, among His people on the North Shore. Thank you for welcoming me again this morning to teach in our congregation’s series on the book of Daniel. I’ve been assigned chapter nine, and I’m grateful to share this with you.[Online folks, the entire text is at the bottom of this blog]

In a couple weeks on 20 September, Jewish people worldwide will pray penitential prayers, confessing sins and entering into what is known as the Ten Days of Awe or Ten Days of Repentance with serious considerations of sin. This might make sense to you, here at Lane Cove, that Jewish people should do that, but some of you might know that most Jewish people don’t think much about sin, that is, throughout the year. We give ourselves to good wor…

Services announced

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are very different holidays, rather appointments, in the Jewish calendar. Plan to join us, in Bondi Junction, this year for two very different meetings.

Thursday 21 September for prayers, teaching, singing and luncheon. Bring food to share with others. The shofar will blast.

Friday 29 September for prayers, teaching, singing and no food. Don't bring food. Bring a humble heart to hear what G-d is saying to you at this time of life, your life, His life, the state of the world, even your world. The shofar will blast again.

Invite others, and come along. You won't be disappointed.