| Clergy Corner

CLERGY CORNER: Why the storm?

Posted on 22 July 2015 by L.Moore

As we enjoy the high days of summer in South Florida, we are wary of the potential for tropical storms and the dreaded hurricane to interrupt our lives.

If you have ever given it any thought, you will have considered that just about every place on the planet is subject to some type of storm.

In this country alone, there are a variety of natural manifestations that affect the different areas of this nation.

Snowstorms in the Northern states, tornadoes in the Midwest, earthquakes on the West Coast and hurricanes in the South are just a few of the inevitable realities that we will have to contend against and live with.

More than a disruption to our lives, storms are destructive and potentially deadly.

Recent news coverage showed the damage caused by flooding in Kentucky and Arizona. Homes were saturated with water, vehicles were swept away and lives were put at risk. Similarly, an ice storm can topple power lines and damage roofs.

Hurricane force winds can decimate unstable structures and make projectiles out of debris. And raging fire storms can wipe out thousands of acres of forests and destroy an area’s ecology.

While some would place the cause of storms on man-caused climate change, they have really been occurring as long as life has existed on earth. But why do storms occur, and what purpose do they serve? Outside of human involvement, storms have origins that are best explained by scientists and meteorologists.

Their purpose may be a mystery to their victims, but those who study storms point to some advantages. Hurricanes and winter storms are said to vent off heat from the lower levels of the atmosphere. And the same storm that erodes the beach on a barrier island actually fortifies the back side of the same island through new sediment deposits carried by the wind and waves. In addition, nutrients on the ocean floor are stirred and cycled to the surface to boost marine life. And lightning is said to maintain the electrical balance in the atmosphere, as well as help with nitrogen deposits in soil.

We’ve likened the adversities of life to storms, and even refer to them as such. Could there also be an intent in some of the difficulties that we inevitably face?

If one looks closely enough, he may indeed find some semblance of a purpose for his pain. Many successes have resulted only after a series of setbacks. Necessity (want or lack) is said to be the mother of invention.

A weakness in one area may cause us to discover a strength in another. And some people with disabilities are driven to achieve, and often excel, in their efforts.

While answers to the purpose for life’s storms are not always easy to discover, and some may never be found, it does not hurt to ask. As King Solomon declared in Ecclesiastes 3 verse 1, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”

Faith in God has enabled many believers to weather the storms of life. The comfort of Biblical promises, and the strong sense of God’s presence has provided peace through some of the greatest challenges.

As you prepare for the possibility of a hurricane, make sure you also have the spiritual equipment to help you survive the emotional and spiritual upheaval that may come your way. “You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat” (Isaiah 25:4).

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: Why the storm?

CLERGY CORNER: A prayer of Thanks

Posted on 16 July 2015 by L.Moore

There is a prayer that is traditionally recited upon wakening in the morning. It is the Modeh Ani which basically says, “I thank You G-d for this new day.”

What a wonderfully positive expression of gratitude to begin anew.

Oddly enough, I recently read an article online that talked about the most important thing in a happy marriage and, according to that particular analysis, the No. 1 ingredient that was found to exist in happy marriages was that both partners took the time to express gratitude to their partner on a daily basis.

I used to sarcastically tell a story about gratitude in marriage.

I would say how wonderful it was (and please don’t call me a male chauvinist for this … it is just a story) about how after a couple returns home from their honeymoon, the wife lovingly works in the kitchen to prepare these amazing meals each evening.

And, for the first two weeks, or, if you are really lucky, for the first two months, the husband lavishes praise upon her, letting her know each and every night how grateful he is, how delicious the food is, how loving it is for her to take the time to prepare each of his favorite dishes.

And then, you should pardon the expression, the honeymoon is over.

The husband now takes all those wondrous meals for granted and does not express any gratitude at all.

Now, instead of the wife feeling that what she is doing is appreciated, what used to be a joy to her now feels like she is stuck slaving away in the kitchen.

Make no mistake about it, gratitude is important and it is important not just to the recipient but to the acknowledger.

Now let’s turn back to the prayer that is traditionally recited upon waking.

How many of you get up in the morning and your first thought is, “Oy, my aching back?” How many of you wake up in the morning and simply think, “Oh no, not another day?”

Not a very positive way to start the day, and it immediately triggers your brain to put the emphasis on negatives.

Modeh Ani, on the other hand, has you start your day with words of thanks, of gratitude. The practice of thanking G-d each and every morning just for waking up teaches an important lesson. You see, just because we get up each and every day does not mean that we should take it for granted.

Neither should we take other daily things for granted.

Funny, we don’t give a thought to breathing until we have difficulty catching our breath. We don’t give a thought to our heart beating until we feel those beats out of sync.

A friend of mine recently needed some eye surgery. I was on the phone with her late at night to see how she was doing and she said that it is amazing that she is beginning to be able to see again.

I learned something very special from those words. How many of us close our eyes at night to go to sleep and, when we wake up in the morning, we rub our eyes and open them up to start the day? How many of us take the time to thank G-d, not just that we have a new day, but that we can see again?

Blessed is G-d who enables us to open our eyes and see.

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach (201 S. Military Tr., Deerfield Beach, FL 33442). Regular Shabbat services are open to everyone on Saturday mornings from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: A prayer of Thanks

CLERGY CORNER: What does “church” mean?

Posted on 09 July 2015 by L.Moore

A conservation scientist theorized that much of the negative feeling toward sharks is in the presentation, specifically the background music.

For example, when sharks are shown onscreen, ominous music is playing, almost vilifying them. However, for dolphins, it is always an upbeat and joyful tone — playful and fun. (No wonder everyone loves dolphins). During his experiment, when sharks were onscreen, cheerful music was playing, and just the opposite for the dolphins. As the researcher guessed, our brains were tricked. The sharks appeared to be the heroes of the sea, and the dolphins, the vicious creatures lurking below. And while it may be awhile before public opinion sways toward shark acceptance, one thing is for sure: What is heard affects human response.

So I am left wondering. Because people hear the old adage “going to church,” does this simple statement wreak havoc upon the mission of Christianity? How can one both go to church, and, what’s this now, be the church? Something does not align. And because of this misalignment, we sit comfortably in the pews playing church.

We are go-ers not do-ers of the Word. I don’t know about you, but that is not acceptable for me. I want my community to hear (through our actions) about the Church — its people loving others as He first loved us.

To do this we must recognize the Church is not a place one goes. The Church is the body of believers with a heart to serve and on a mission for God, taking the Word and putting it into action.

A popular First Baptist outreach event is our Laundry Love. Each year, we flood a couple of laundry mats with rolls of quarters and eager hands. Beyond the free wash, dry and fold are the hours of meaningful conversations and prayer. Inevitably, both patrons of the laundry mat and volunteers alike leave the event changed. On that day, we are the Church. Yet, the day is about something more. The point of an outreach is not to leave our safety zone, do a good deed and run back to base camp. No. Outreaches equip people to be the Church in all facets of their life — beyond Sunday. Trust me. There is nothing more humbling than folding another man’s tighty-whities. But it is in that moment of humility when hearts are changed. The reality of God is revealed and people’s faith becomes real; a paradigm shift occurs — from being about the sermon (going to church) to serving (being the Church). They are two very different things. One is a thing; the other is a way of life that brings glory to His name.

Truly, at the end of the day, what else matters than bringing glory to His name? It is not a request, but a calling. Yes, each of us is called to share the Good News. What’s that? You do not feel qualified … something about needing a degree to teach about Jesus?

Well, I’ve read and studied the Bible over. I have yet to find where Jesus denies someone based on their lack of formal education. Christ is about the surrendered heart, knowing Him, not just knowing about Him.

So be encouraged; check out what Hebrews asserts, Christ “equip[s] you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever.” That is right; you are called and He will equip you to be the Church — to complete His will, to bring glory to His name.

Does that get your heart racing? To know the Creator of everything has placed within you a mission to reach His people for the Kingdom? My prayer is that from this day forward you never just go to church again. Instead, you would be the Church.

Pastor Jeremy Earnest is pastor at First Baptist Church, 701 NW Eller St. Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. www.deerfieldfirst.com.

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: What does “church” mean?

CLERGY CORNER: A light unto the nations

Posted on 02 July 2015 by L.Moore

I was in Orlando not too long ago and I had the pleasure of watching the incredible fireworks display as the sun set at Epcot. But, as much as I enjoyed the sights and sounds there, I did not get those goosebumps that I get watching similar displays on the 4th of July.

For some reason, this year, a question came to my head about why we celebrate the 4th with fireworks. The first person I asked told me that it had to do with a letter written by John Adams to his wife as the Continental Congress adopted the final version of the Declaration of Independence which said: “I am apt to believe that (Independence Day) … ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to G-d Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

I thought that I had my answer. I thought that I knew why we shot off fireworks on the 4th.

But as I was preparing to write this article, I was looking over a recent Torah reading that we have done in Synagogue. And we have been reading a lot about death recently. We read about how to purify oneself if one comes in contact with a dead person. We read about the death of Miriam. We read about the death of Aaron. And, we read about the death of Moses.

How on earth did that fit into our upcoming Independence Day and the shooting off of fireworks? Well, oddly enough, there is more than one connection. First of all, it was Moses, Aaron and Miriam, with the help of G-d, who helped lead the Children of Israel from slavery in Egypt to freedom and from the Pharaoh.

Independence Day is about G-d helping us free ourselves from what one could conceive as a more modern Pharaoh, King George III, which brings me back to the whys of fireworks.

You see, in Pre-Revolutionary years, colonists held annual celebrations of the king’s birthday and they did so with ringing of bells, with bonfires, with processions and with speechifying.

But, in 1776, some of those colonists changed things just a tad. Instead of celebrating the king’s birthday, they held mock funerals for King George III. This was a way of expressing being led to freedom from the monarchy. These celebrations included concerts, bonfires, and the firing of muskets and cannons.

So now I thought I had my answer about fireworks.

But, then, I learned from another source that while Congress was in the midst of dealing with war, such loud and beautiful displays were held to build the spirits of those whose loved ones were off fighting for our freedom.

So, now I had my answer.

Nope, because then I found an article that talked about how, after the Revolutionary War, we continued to celebrate the 4th with loud noises, lights in the sky and political orations to create a feeling of unity among all Americans.

Okay, so maybe I’m still not really sure why we have fireworks on the 4th, but we can still enjoy those wondrous displays. And, as for unity, let me remind you, with the recent tragedy in Charleston, that that incredible city has a music festival each year called Moja. Moja is a Swahili word and it means “One.” As we celebrate American Independence Day, let us remember that we are all one. Let us celebrate together in peace, as One Nation, under G-d, Indivisible with liberty and justice for All.

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach (201 S. Military Tr., Deerfield Beach, FL 33442). Regular Shabbat services are open to everyone on Saturday mornings from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: A light unto the nations

CLERGY CORNER: Who am I?

Posted on 25 June 2015 by L.Moore

There’s been a lot of recent news attention given to those in an apparent identity crisis.

Famed Olympian Bruce Jenner unveiled his transformation as Caitlyn on nationwide television.

Rachel Dolezal, a white woman in Spokane, WA, came under the glare of public scrutiny when it was revealed that she had been claiming to be a black woman. Her estranged parents were the ones who outed her for what they felt was a deception since there was no evidence of black heritage in the family tree.

None of this is really shocking in the context of contemporary society. We’ve known for years that there are men who want to be women, women who identify as men, blacks who want to be white, and now there are some whites who think that they are black. Surprising? Not really. Confusing? It doesn’t have to be.

The search for identity has prevailed upon human existence ever since mankind came into being. The Biblical worldview teaches that, in Genesis, God created man and woman giving them specific instructions that pertained to their identity and purpose in creation. It was the serpent, Satan, who posed the question that confused the first man and woman about who they were, and who they could really be (see Genesis, Chapter 3). Falling for the deception that they could be gods themselves, and make their own determinations about good and evil, they violated the one restriction of their Eden existence and plunged mankind into sin and rebellion against God.

The Old Testament portrays God as passionately pursuing mankind so they could reconnect with Him and discover their true identity.

He even established a nation through Abraham to distinguish the blessed life of submission and obedience to the Creator, from a dissatisfactory lifestyle of self-government and self-determination.

The challenge for those whom He called was whether to trust His way and forsake their own ideas, or to reject the notion of a God they could not see while charting their own paths in the visible realities of life.

Psychologists tell us that everyone longs for significance, and a sense of belonging and purpose in life. Our identities are an integral part of where we fit and how we function in the world. It is, therefore, important that we understand who we are and what we are to do, if we hope to find fulfillment in this life.

The New Testament portrays God as lovingly providing a remedy for man’s sin, and offering the opportunity to discover who each of us was created to be. It appears that what Satan suggested in the Garden was actually attainable, if one did it God’s way. John, Chapter 1, Verses 12 and 13, states, “But, as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

It is my prayer that Bruce/Caitlyn and Rachel find their true identity and purpose in a real relationship with God.

It is my prayer for all of those searching for meaning to their existence. The external preoccupation with one’s identity will never satisfy the internal quest for fulfillment.

Only God can fill that vacuum with His presence, His power and His purpose. Only the Creator can define His creation and declare its true intent.

How strange it seems, but also how wonderful it is to discover that in giving up ourselves to Him, we find out who we truly are.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: Who am I?

CLERGY CORNER: Happy Rabbi, Father, Padre’s Day

Posted on 18 June 2015 by L.Moore

Years ago, I was blessed to work with my father of blessed memory.

We not only got to share the pulpit for several high holy days, we also did rounds together at several health centers. Back in those years, we worked alongside a wonderful Franciscan Friar, known lovingly to all those under his charge as Father Joe.

One day, the three of us were walking down a hospital hallway side-by-side and someone came up to us. They looked at my father and then at me and said, “I never remember, which of you is the father and which of you is the son.”

My dad immediately responded, “I’m the father and he’s the son,” at which point I looked over at Father Joe and said, “You know what that makes you, don’t you? That’s right, if my dad’s the father and I’m the son, then you must be the Holy Ghost!”

Father Joe wasn’t offended in any way, and, as he smiled at my sick humor, the patient in front of us got such a wonderful belly laugh, the first time he had laughed in ages.

Oddly enough, I now do rounds each week at the North Broward campus of Catholic Health Services. When I first started working there several years ago, everyone call me Rabbi. But I have been there for a long time, and, over the years, many of the staff and patients have slipped and, instead of calling me Rabbi, they call me Father.

The first time they do it and realize what they have done, they apologize. But I tell them, you have nothing to apologize for. I am honored that you accept my position here to the point that you actually refer to me in such a way.

I don’t have any children of my own, but I do have those who call me Father, and that is a blessing in my life.

Amazingly enough, here in America, we celebrate Father’s Day on the specific day we do because of Priests, Pastors and Ministers.

This year marks the 115th Anniversary of Father’s Day.

Sonora Smart Dodd came up with the concept of Father’s Day. Her mother died giving birth. Sonora’s father raised her and her five brothers all by himself. And, during the church service on Mother’s Day, Sonora knew there should be a special day set aside for fathers.

Her father happened to have been born on June 5, and she thought that would be the perfect day to celebrate Father’s Day. But when the Ministerial Association of Spokane, WA met to approve it, they felt there was too little time to prepare proper sermons for fathers so soon after Mother’s Day. And so it was that they opted to celebrate Father’s Day on the third Sunday of the month of June. That was back in the year 1910 and we have been celebrating it ever since.

Father’s Day was not meant to be a day for buying ties. And I believe that Calvin Coolidge said it best as he signed a resolution in 1924 pertaining to Father’s Day as a day “to establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations.”

I hope all the Fathers reading this column will take those words to heart. You can be a Saint to your children. In fact, in several traditionally Catholic Countries (Spain, Portugal, etc.), Father’s Day is observed on March 19, which just happens to be The Feast of St. Joseph.

Shalom my friends and a very meaningful Father’s Day,

Rabbi Craig H Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach (201 S. Military Tr., Deerfield Beach, FL 33442). Regular Shabbat services are open to everyone on Saturday mornings from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: Happy Rabbi, Father, Padre’s Day

CLERGY CORNER: Peace

Posted on 11 June 2015 by L.Moore

John 14:27

27 Peace I leave with you; my [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]

AMP

Why is it that when things aren’t going our way, or when trials arise, we can’t seem to handle things well? Fear, anxiety, worry, attitudes and life’s cares seem to get the best of us. The majority of the things that we worry about are tied to our past. Are we going to let yesterday’s problems dictate what we do today? We need to remember that yesterday is gone. There is nothing that we can do about it. We are able to start fresh each day (today). We choose each day, what kind of day we are going to have, so decide to have a great and peaceful day. Matthew 6:27 tells us that the things we worry about so often are the things that are beyond our control. We need to trust in the Lord. Shifting our focus off of God and onto the problems is a sure formula for worry. We then allow worries and problems to become bigger priorities than God. When that happens, the things we worry about begin to consume us! When life’s hassles get too big and you feel overwhelmed, stop, take a deep breath and focus on what God is doing today.

Philippians 4:7-8

7 Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

8 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious — the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

The Message Bible

When you worry about tomorrow, you’re worrying about what you can never control, and you rob yourself of peace today. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. Matthew 6:34 says “God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” When you begin to worry, don’t panic – pray. God is the one who has all the answers. God is waiting patiently on us. He’s saying I’m here, give everything to me. God knows what you’re going through.

How are we ever going to learn to have peace, if we do not trust the God we serve? In order for us to have peace and to be a peacemaker, we need to trust our God. Scriptures speak of the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding. You have to be at peace in order to know you’re in the will of God. If you’re not at peace, then you’re not trusting God. Don’t let stress and worries rob you of the peace you could have —focus on God!

Tony Guadagnino is pastor at Christian Love Fellowship Church.

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: Peace

CLERGY CORNER: Hopping and Hoping

Posted on 04 June 2015 by L.Moore

Mr. Weiss is a carpet salesman in Pittsburgh. I suspect that he spends each of his workdays observing people in his store as they look at all the carpets that are available. And, as he watches them, he may hear them say that they like this one or that one. He may hear them say that this color is great or this one is not bad. He may even hear them say, “Yuck!”

Some people may opt for one particular carpet on their first visit. Others may come back a few times. Some may just be browsing. Others will feel as though the store is either too expensive or that it has nothing they really like, or, perhaps, they did not like the way they were treated by the staff.

Keeping this in mind, it was not surprising to me that Mr. Weiss wrote an article called, “Confessions of a Synagogue-Hopper,” telling the story of how he enjoys hopping from one Temple to another. He even became a member of a few of them.

But, it would be a mistake for you to assume that because a congregation is Reform, Conservative or Orthodox that you know what their service will be like.

And I have a bit of a problem with Synagogue Hopping. You see, I looked up the word “Hop” and one of the first things I saw in the synonyms was “to bounce.” Hopping from one Temple to another is like bouncing. You will hop around and look for all the ups and downs of the Temple, instead of growing to feel like family and focusing on what you need to change within yourself and how you need to grow and mature, and build a relationship with G-d. You will spend your time analyzing what the Temple is doing right or wrong from your vantage point.

Another synonym for “Hop” is “Hurdle” and, if you hop from one house of worship to another, you may well put hurdles between you and G-d and those hurdles may become harder and harder to leap over. (Perhaps, that is where the expression “a leap of faith” comes from).

The next synonym I saw was “Trip” and, if you spend all your time hopping from one house of worship to another, you just might get yourself all tripped up and, sadly, that could lead to a big fall.

There is one more synonym I saw that I want to share with you “Skip.” If someone is a regular at my Temple and one Shabbat I do not see them in the pews, I know to check up on them. But if someone does not attend regularly, it will be pretty hard to notice that they are not there. And, if you hop from Temple to Temple, it can become very easy to skip whenever you do not feel the urge to attend.

Oddly enough, the antonyms for “hop” are “to allow” or “to permit.” If you hop from one Temple to another, then you are not permitting yourself to become truly at home with the other members of the Congregational Family and you are not allowing yourself to have the full experience of becoming fully familiar with the service and how it can lead to a greater connection with others and with G-d.

So, instead of being a Synagogue- Hopper, why not consider becoming a “Synagogue-Hoper!” Experience all the ups and downs of your life with your Temple Family and with G-d by your side.

Let me close with a wonderful story of hope. There was a king who sentenced a man of his realm to death. The poor soul told the king that if he let him live, he could teach the king’s horse to fly, but the king would have to postpone his execution for one year.

Another man who was also condemned to death, asked him, “Why delay the inevitable?” and he replied, “It is not inevitable. The king might die, I might die, the horse might die. Then again, I might just teach the horse to fly. The odds are four to one in my favor.”

Do yourself a favor. Come to Shul filled with hope and we just might teach you how to fly!

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach (201 S. Military Tr., Deerfield Beach, FL 33442). Regular Shabbat services are open to everyone on Saturday mornings from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: Hopping and Hoping

CLERGY CORNER: The value of community partnership

Posted on 28 May 2015 by L.Moore

Much ink and airtime has been given to the recent troubles of Baltimore, MD and its inner city residents in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death.

Pundits, politicians and the community alike have weighed in on the problems and causes of mistrust, aggression, violence and crime that permeate the minority communities of our urban cities. Thankfully, most agree that riots and looting are not the answer. Several meetings and gatherings of community leaders, politicians, clergy and citizens of Baltimore sought to identify solutions to problems that, in reality, affect far too many minority communities across America.

Many of those participating in the disturbance of Baltimore were young people. In fact, the initial protests that preceded the riot and looting involved high school students. Clearly, there is a problem affecting minority youth that needs to be addressed. Baltimore schools have a dropout rate of over 12 percent and a four-year graduation rate under 70 percent. Consequently, many solutions arising out of meetings focused on achieving better educational outcomes through greater parental involvement and community partnerships. Mentoring programs for youth, tutoring initiatives and career skills training are some of the efforts that many from within these communities are asking for.

Our city has not faced the challenges of other communities like Ferguson or Baltimore. There is a relatively healthy relationship between our communities and law enforcement, our citizens and government leaders, our faith leaders and city personnel. Our youth are served through various initiatives aimed at keeping them out of trouble, completing their education and becoming productive citizens. The involvement and even collaboration of faith-based programs, the business community, law enforcement and social service organizations is necessary to providing opportunities for all of our youth to succeed in life.

A few days ago, I was thrilled to witness and participate in a small, informal commencement activity for students served through our tutoring program. Since the 2010- 2011 school term, Cathedral Community Development Corporation has been offering after-school tutoring in Reading and Mathematics for children in grades 3 to 5. The program and curriculum have been developed by Rev. David Johnson, who retired from a career in education and was employed as a Broward County school principal. Several certified teachers have partnered with the program to address deficiencies among children in our local schools.

The success of the program has been seen in marked improvement among the children who participate. Pre- and post-testing reveals the gains made by each student in the respective classes. Parents consistently write to express their appreciation for the improvement of their children, and the impact of the program. Through strategic partnerships and grants from several organizations, the program has been able to continue each school term, but much more could be done with a significant donation. Some of the children demonstrate below average reading skills, and specialized staff would enable personalized instruction for those who are struggling.

We would love to include other grade levels as well. Some of our local schools need all the help they can get in raising the proficiency level of our children. Insufficient resources hinder expansion and further development, but Director Johnson has worked wonders with what has been provided over the past several years.

Major funding would be a boost to our program and the children of this community. As more and more communities take ownership of the issues facing the less fortunate around them, productive partnerships can be formed to the benefit of both those who are served as well as those who serve. As Proverbs 11, verse 17 states, “The merciful man does good for his own soul.”

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: The value of community partnership

CLERGY CORNER: A double portion

Posted on 21 May 2015 by L.Moore

In The Torah, we learn the laws of Shmittah, where we are commanded to let the land rest from all the hard work it has done in providing for us.

So we are told we should not plant, we should not harvest, nor should we prune during the sabbatical year.

Many of you might remember the story from earlier in the Torah where the Manna falls from the heavens and The Children of Israel are told to gather enough manna each day for that day only. But when Friday came along, they were told to gather a double portion. That extra portion was to be kept aside for the Sabbath and Israel was told that that portion would not rot … it would stay fresh and delicious.

Well, I don’t know about you, but if I had to depend on food magically falling from the sky, I would wonder — what if no food comes tomorrow? I had better consider gathering extra so that I will have in case nothing is delivered on the morrow. But somehow, the brunt of the people had the faith in G-d. Those who didn’t wound up finding that the extra food they had gathered had rotted away quickly.

In the Shmittah year, I know that I would be prone to ask the same question that we find in The Torah itself, “Should you ask, ‘What are we to eat in the 7th year, if we can’t sow or gather our crops.’”

And G-d responds, “I will put my blessing for you in the 6th year, so that it will produce enough for three years.” (Lev. 25:20-21)

How similar to the story of the Manna.

It even brings to mind the story of Joseph in Egypt when he knows there is a famine coming and advises Pharaoh to store enough grain and wheat so there is plenty of food during that time of need. In simple terms, he plans in advance.

I will soon be 61 years of age. I know to many of you that sounds like I am a young whippersnapper, but it just so happens that I am in the midst of planning for my future retirement. Fortunately, I have been putting aside an extra portion for years, building toward those Goldenah Yoren (Golden Years).

Many of you are already retired. Some of you are planning for that time … not just for a Sabbatical Year, but for years of retirement.

May we all be wise enough to gather those extra portions, to invest them wisely, to have enough to cover not just our basic needs, but enough to share special times with those we love whether it be in going to the theatre, to dine, to travel, to dance, or whatever trips your fancy.

That is my prayer for each of you today: may you have enough for all your needs, and don’t forget to gather an extra portion so that you can enjoy the rest of your years doing things you love to do, and may you have someone beside you who you love to share those joys with … and, while you are at it, why not save a little extra for those who were not as wise in gathering enough for themselves and their families.

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach (201 S. Military Tr., Deerfield Beach, FL 33442). Regular Shabbat services are open to everyone on Saturday mornings from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: A double portion

Advertise Here
Advertise Here

front page

COVER