Sermons

SERMON FOR PARASHAT KI TISSA 2019 SIGNS OF OUR FAITH When my friends in Ann Arbor heard I was coming to Arizona in late February, many commented that I must have planned it so I could be here for the beginning of baseball spring training. That they would say this surprised me a bit because […]
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Sermon for Parashat Vayiggash.

COMING NEAR   This week’s Torah portion begins with a rather simple phrase which carries with it significant opportunity for discussion. Vayiggash Eilav Yehudah, “Judah came near to Joseph.” I have interpreted this phrase in the past in many ways but today, I want to use it in a different way inspired by several commentaries […]
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A Journey to the Border. Sermon for Parashat Vayishlach 2018

I have always found one specific aspect of the story of Jacob’s wrestling match with the angel to be particularly fascinating. The Torah records that “Vayavayk esh eemo”, a man wrestled with him. It is not Jacob who initiates the wrestling match. It is forced upon him. He doesn’t seek it out as troubled as […]
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SERMON FOR THE SPECIAL SHABBAT OF REFLECTION AND CELEBRATION

This past Shabbat, I was honored during the Shabbat morning service as I prepare to retire from the position of rabbi of Beth Israel Congregation. The service included special group aliyot and participation from members our Interfaith organization, the Interfaith Round Table of Washtenaw County. It was a truly an unforgettable morning for me. Here […]
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Sermon for Yom Ha'Atzmaut, Israel Independence Day 2018

  WE MUST SPEAK     Occasionally, I have written a sermon which started out appearing to be about one subject when, in fact, it was really about something else altogether. I used that approach on my first Kol Nidre at Beth Israel 30 years ago. My sermon began with some thoughts on prayer but […]
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WE WERE AS DREAMERS

SERMON FOR PARASHAT BESHALACH  JANUARY 27, 2018     There may be some words missing from this week’s parasha. Then again, there may not be. As the people stand desperately in front of the sea with the Egyptian army closing in, God says to Moses: Mah Titzak Alay: Why do you cry out to me? […]
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Moving Towards Greater Light Hanukkah 2018

    Hillel taught: “Light the Hanukkah lights increasing one by one each night.” And his disciples explained: “Ma’alin b’kodesh v’ayn Moridin”. Always increase in matters of holiness, never decrease. Shabbat Shalom and hag Hanukkah Sameach. Let me say clearly before I begin my brief d’var Torah this morning that this is most certainly not […]
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Parashat Hayey Sarah 2017

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS   One of my favorite phrases in the Siddur is: Va’ani Tifalati. Taken from Psalm 69, the words can be translated in many different ways. I have always found great meaning in this translation: “As for me, this is my prayer.” As I considered the topic of my sermon for this week, […]
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KOL NIDRE 5778

KOL NIDRE 2017 A MOST ESSENTIAL VOW Kol Nidre touches us in many different ways. There are many well-known stories about what it has meant to individual Jews over the centuries. Here is one famous story. At one time in his life, the famed Jewish philosopher Franz Rosenzweig had decided to convert to Christianity. He […]
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TO WRESTLE AND TO DREAM

SERMON FOR ROSH HASHANA 2017 TO WRESTLE AND TO DREAM   The song consists of only six simple words: six words sung over and over again. But those words have been sung at such significant moments. – in the life of the State of Israel when the existence of the state lay in the balance. […]
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Sermon for Shabbat Re'eh August 19. 2017

                           LIGHT AND SHADOW It can be said about almost everything that occurs in this world or any action that we may perform: “There’s a bracha for that”. “There’s a blessing for that”.  Jews have a blessing for almost everything in our world.          So, naturally, many people have asked […]
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Sermon for Shabbat Emor May 13, 2017

    Our journey through the year can be defined by the holidays which we observe and Parashat Emor includes one of the lists of the cycle of those holidays. Shabbat and the festivals are described in great detail as are the days which we have come to know as Yamim Noraim, the Days of […]
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Sermon for Shabbat Hahodesh March 25, 2017

      Shabbat Hahodesh always feels to me like the official beginning of Pesach preparation. I know some of us have already bought some Pesach food and are starting to do the cleaning before the holiday. But, now the serious preparation begins. This seems like the watershed moment to me because of the Maftir […]
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Purim 5777: A Different Time- A Renewed Responsibility

One of the questions that rabbis are most often asked about stories from the Tanach, from the Bible, is: Did that story really happen? Whether the question comes from an argumentative adolescent, a student of history or someone trying to come to terms with the tradition, it is a valid question which I answer in […]
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A Time of Transition, Parashat Vayechi 2017

SERMON FOR PARASHAT VAYECHI January 14, 2017   As I begin my remarks this morning, I want to pay tribute both to Dr. Martin Luther King on the weekend of the holiday dedicated to his memory and to our teacher Doctor Abraham Joshua Heschel whose yahrzeit will be observed tomorrow evening. These two remarkable men, […]
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SERMON FOR SHABBAT LECH LECHA November 12, 2016

It has been quite a week. On Wednesday morning at 4 a.m., after 3 hours of tossing and turning and 45 minutes of fitful sleep, I posted my personal feelings about the election results on my facebook page. I later posted them on my new website and I urge you, if you haven’t read them […]
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Kol Nidre Sermon 2016

Every Friday morning, at the time of the Penitential Prayers, the Rabbi of Nemirov would vanish. He was nowhere to be seen-neither in the synagogue nor in the two Houses of Study nor at a minyan. And he was certainly not at home. His door stood open; whoever wished could go in and out; no […]
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Dayenu: Rosh Hashana 5777

SERMON FOR FIRST DAY OF ROSH HASHANA 5777 DAYENU: A TEXT STUDY Although the times might seem to demand it, I have decided not to dedicate a High Holy Day sermon to address the Presidential election. I made this decision for three reasons and each of them can be summed up with one Hebrew word […]
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Officers and Judges

SERMON FOR PARASHAT SHOFTIM 5776 OFFICERS AND JUDGES   As we approach the High Holy Days, it is our responsibility to engage in teshuva, repentance- to redirect our thoughts and our actions and consider how we are going to make this new year different from those that have passed. And, it is our responsibility as […]
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THE POWER OF WORDS

Sermon delivered at Beth Israel Congregation, Shabbat Nachamu, August 20, 2016   I have spoken from the bima recently about the power of words in comments on our Presidential election. After I posted one of my sermons on the issue on Facebook, one of my Facebook friends replied with a quotation by Sigmund Freud which […]
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THE WORDS WE HEAR

Shabbat Balak, July 23, 2016 When we consider the blessing offered by Bilaam, we immediately think of the verse: Mah Tovu Ohalecha Ya’akov, Mishkenotecha Yisrael: How beautiful are your tents O Jacob, your dwelling places O Israel! However, that is not the only thing that he said. In fact, Bilaam offers 3 blessings to the […]
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The Responsibility that Lies Before Us Parashat Naso 5776

Chapter 7 of Bemidbar is the longest chapter in the entire Torah. It goes on and on and on. And, to add to that, it is so repetitive. Twelve of the Paragraphs present in detail the gifts brought by each of the tribal chieftains for the dedication of the tabernacle. These lengthy paragraphs are exactly […]
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BEING GOD'S ANGELS IN DIFFICULT TIMES

SERMON FOR PARASHAT VAYETZE NOVEMBER 21, 2015 This morning, I want to talk with you about angels. Then, we’ll turn to the real world. Whether you regard angels in a literary or metaphoric or mythic sense, their role as messengers of God is worthy of serious consideration. And, angels play a major role in the […]
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He Does Not Speak for Me

As the controversy continues to rage about Prime Minister Netanyahu’s planned speech before Congress, I feel compelled to say it clearly. Despite Mr. Netanyahu’s claim that he speaks for the entire Jewish people; he does not speak for me. I say this for three reasons. First, I say it because I do not agree with many […]
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This Week's Sermon- Parashat Shmot: Am I Charlie?

I delivered the following sermon this morning at Beth Israel. Please note, as I explained to the Congregation, that I wrote this sermon on Thursday evening before the horrendous attack at the kosher supermarket in Paris. On two occasions this morning, we expressed solidarity, concern and hope for the Jews of Paris and all who […]
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Israel as a Jewish State

Four years ago, on Kol Nidre night, I delivered a sermon on the subject of Israel as Jewish State. You can find the sermon at http://www.truah.org/images/Dobrusin_KN_5771.pdf During that sermon, I stressed, as I had done many times before, my belief in the importance of Israel being a “Jewish state”. Israel was founded as the state […]
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Sermon for Parashat Masei 5774 July 26, 2015

This is the sermon I delivered two weeks ago when I returned from vacation and had the chance to address the Congregation about the situation in Israel and Gaza. It is good to see everyone and to be back on the bima again. I have to be honest though, this was not the best vacation […]
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A Sermon in Memory of Pete Seeger

              THE MUSIC THAT ELEVATES US This sermon was delivered on Shabbat Terumah February 1, 2014 Today’s Torah portion is called Terumah. The terumah was a contribution, given from the heart, in this case for the building of the Mishkan, the tabernacle in the desert. The word terumah comes from the Hebrew […]
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Keeping the Matter in Mind as We Look Ahead

As a final thought on the anniversary observed this past weekend, I am posting my sermon from this past Shabbat. SERMON FOR PARASHAT VAYESHEV, NOVEMBER 23, 2013 KEEPING THE MATTER IN MIND AS WE LOOK AHEAD                                                 Rabbi Robert Dobrusin There are some verses in the Torah which, though remarkably simple, jump off of the […]
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Our dreams: Sermon for Parashat Ki Tavo

I delivered this sermon today at Beth Israel Congregation Ann Arbor, Michigan          SERMON FOR PARASHAT KI TAVO August 24, 2013 One of the most familiar High Holy Day melodies is that of the last line of Avinu Malkeynu. The prayer whose repeated words mean: “Our father, Our King” is a litany of petitions made […]
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A D'var Torah in Memory of My Mother

My mother died eight years ago, exactly two weeks after the date of my father’s death according to the Hebrew calendar.  So, as we enter into Shabbat, we prepare to observe her 8th yahrzeit after Shabbat ends. It is impossible for me to believe that it is 8 years since Mom died. How could the […]
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