Weekly Newsletter Message

What's wrong with the world?

Many years ago, there was a famous letter written in response to The Times of London question, “What is wrong with the world today?” Readers submitted essays about the world’s ills, but the best letter of all was also the shortest. It read:

“Dear Sir,
I am.
Yours faithfully, G. K. Chesterton.”

Of course, there are much larger problems out there, but the only thing in MY control is what I do about it.

It’s a lot easier to point fingers at others than oneself. “Everyone else needs to change, not me”

What’s wrong with our world? ISIS

What’s wrong with my marriage? My spouse of course.

What’s wrong with my financial situation? The economy.

Why are my kids behaving this way? Because they have behavioral issues and they need to change.

While this may all be true, the consequence of this mindset is that we sit and wait for the world and the people around us to change, but they rarely do and neither does our situation.

If you want change in your marriage, at your job, with your kids or in any other area of life, then you’ve got to be the one to change because you can’t change your spouse or the economy. The only thing you can change is yourself.  YOU need to change what YOU are doing or how you are doing it if you want to see different results.  

The only question that matters in every area of life is “what can I do differently?”

The next time you have a negative experience whether with your spouse, kids, mechanic, boss or whoever, even if they are at fault, rather than pointing fingers and blaming, ask yourself “what can I do differently or better next time to change the outcome” This is the only way you and your situation will ever change and improve.

Perhaps this is what Gandhi meant when he said 'Be the change that you wish to see in the world.' 

Shabbat Shalom 

Rabbi Benjy Silverman





Genealogy has become all the rage. There’s even a popular new TV series called The Genealogy Roadshow.

People are amazed to discover that they have royal blood and that their 28th great grandfather was King Henry of France or that their deep aversion to war can be traced back to their great grandfather who had written an objection to fighting in World War I.

It is no surprise that genealogy has become so popular. Genealogy can be very empowering. It satisfies a deep need to understand how we fit into the broader world around us. Understanding our past is key to understanding who we are today. To become familiar with our past is to become familiar with our very own DNA.

Are you curious about your genealogy? Do you have royal blood perhaps?  Were your ancestors great inventors or heroes?

Of course it takes a lot of effort and time to uncover your past.

So please allow me to make you job a little easier :)  I’ve done a little research and this is what I’ve discovered about your genealogy.

Yes, you do have royalty in your blood. Your ancestors stood at Mt Sinai as G-d crowned them  “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation"

And yes, there is bravery, courage and strength in your past. You are a descendant of countless generations of ancestors who outlasted every enemy and overcame every challenge,  and though sorely tested and bitterly tried, remained faithful to their values and their G-d.

There is morality, altruism and philanthropy in your past. As a matter of fact your ancestors introduced the very concept of morality to our world.

Your ancestors, in the words of President John Adams, “contributed more to civilize men than any other nation…. and have influenced the affairs of mankind more and more happily than any other nation, ancient or modern.”

Royalty. Bravery. Determination. Morality. Goodness and kindness. This is your genealogy and this is your DNA. It's all in your blood. The only question is whether or not you will tap into it and what you will pass on to future generations.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Benjy Silverman

P.S. Thank you to all that have already participated in the writing of our new Sefer Torah. To view pictures from the Inauguration event check here.  To participate in the writing and dedicate a letter visit 


The Greatest Tragedy

Do not rebuke a scoffer lest he come to hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you” (book of proverbs)

The Shaloh understands these words not as a description of two different kinds of personalities but as an instruction on how to rebuke anybody. When rebuking, don’t address the person as a scoffer, for then he will hate you and not listen. Rather, address him as a wise man and explain to him that his actions are not befitting someone like him. Tell him that he is greater than his actions. Stress his strengths more than his flaws and then he will love you and listen.

The Shaloh reminds us to set the bar high because high expectations become self-fulfilling prophecy (Google the Rosenthal effect for more)

In this week’s Torah portion Moshe begins by telling the Jews “You are holy because G-d is holy” Moshe is encouraging us to recognize our inherent greatness rather than settle for lives of mediocrity.

Don’t underestimate yourself. The only thing that holds us back is the limitations that we place on ourselves.

“The greatest tragedy” said Rabbi Aaron of Karlin, “is when the prince believes he is a peasant,” when you settle for less.

Each of us is a child of G-d, blessed with a soul that has infinite potential.

Shabbat Shalom 

Rabbi Benjy Silverman

PS See you on Sunday 11 am at the Torah Inauguration. 

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Invest Today

Recently in the news there was a story about a small airplane in the midst of completing a trip around the world, using only solar energy! The challenge is that at night, and in overcast weather, there is no solar energy to power the engine. To overcome this problem, the airplane stores extra solar energy by day for the engine to rely on at night. At times, life shines brightly on us, life is good, and we are happy and filled with energy and inspiration.  Yet at times, life becomes overcast.  We face challenges.  We are on our own and lack inspiration. The key is to store away inspiration in the bright times to carry us through the dark times.

Often people turn to religion during difficult times. But while it is never too late, the time to cultivate the inspiration, guidance and comfort that Judaism offers is during the good times.  Discover the depth and richness of our heritage. Come to a Torah class, join us for First Fridays, light Shabbat candles. Once it’s dark it’s very difficult to find that light if you don’t already have it stored away.

Whenever life is shining on you and you are experiencing a peak in life, be sure to store away some of the inspiration and energy for the valleys that may follow.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Benjy Silverman

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