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The Cantor's Blog

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 12:37pm -- AJ Blog


Cantor’s Blog

To boldly go where too few have gone before

From the Liberty Bell to a Carillon Concert

The adventure has begun!

For the many who asked for updates on my Sabbatical, I have agreed to try to write a bi-weekly update to be sent out to the congregation with our weekly AJ news blasts. Here’s the first.

Flutter By: Eikev 5774 by Cantor Lipp

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 10:11am -- AJ Blog

I had to get up very early on Sunday morning to catch a flight for a CA officer function and I was so taken with the radio program that woke me up, I made sure to turn it on in the car on the way to the airport.

On Being, an NPR program with Krista Tippet, featured Adele Diamond, a professor who studies the Science of Attention.

Compare and Contrast: Vaetchanan 5774 by Cantor Lipp

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 8:59am -- AJ Blog

What do Atheistic Zealotry and Religious Zealotry have in common?

Not much. But this:

Both assume that religious individuals must have a fundamentalistic notion of what God wants from the religious person based on an inerrant view of text or an authoritarian interpretation unmoved by scientific evidence or conscience.

When famous atheist debaters are informed that not all religious people believe in this fundamentalistic kind of way, they often simply say, ‘Well, those religious people are just hypocrites or simply atheists who haven’t realized it yet.’

Anchoring Articulation: Dvarim 5774 by Cantor Lipp

Mon, 08/04/2014 - 10:52am -- AJ Blog

An optimist sees the cup half full. The pessimist sees the cup half empty. The engineer sees a glass that’s two times too large for its contents.

I’ve been reading Rebbe, the recent tome written by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin on the occasion of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson’s 20th yahrzeit. It’s incredibly well written and, though there are many points on which the Rebbe and I would disagree, inspiring.

Dyslexic March: Mas'ei 5774 by Cantor Lipp

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 9:15am -- AJ Blog

The dyslexic paranoid is someone who is always wondering whether he’s following somebody.

     --The Pretty Good Joke Book by Garrison Keillor

As we approach the end of the book of Numbers with the enumeration of the ‘Stations in the Wilderness’ traversed by the Israelites on their way to the promised land, there is a kind of dyslexic ‘covering the bases’ that occurs. In Numbers 33:2, we’re told that “Moses recorded the starting points of their marches as directed by God. Their marches, by starting points as follows:”

On the Fringe: Matot 5774 by Cantor Lipp

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 9:07am -- AJ Blog

I was reflecting with my wife during our vacation that we had a string of good luck.

We were walking out of a brewery -- Toronto is known for it's beer expertise -- which looked completely full when we arrived but there were just two seats left. By the time we left, there was a line.

A few days before at the Fringe Festival, we got two tickets that hadn't been picked up for a sold-out show and, later that evening, had a similar experience when we were first on a waiting list and the only ones to benefit from that position.

Some might say God was looking out for us.

Comes a Time: Pinchas 5774 by Cantor Lipp

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 9:17am -- AJ Blog

We are uncomfortable with Pinchas. 

He is an example of zealotry that is rewarded and we are uncomfortable with zealotry, the violent kind in particular.

If we don’t see the Torah purely as the word of God or history, it’s even more disturbing because we are left with the idea that this story has something to teach us and the most simplistic moral to the story seems to be that zealotry is good. How can we view Pinchas as an example of how to behave?

Short answer: We can’t.

The Torah alludes and the rabbis conclude that this was a ‘one and done’ kind of event.

Balak 5774 by Cantor Lipp

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 9:16am -- AJ Blog

The Great Poem by Lawrence Raab

The great poem is always possible.

Think of Keats and his odes.

But you shouldn’t have to be dying.


What I’m writing now is not 

the great poem. After a few lines

I could tell. It may not even be


a particularly good poem, although

it’s too early to decide about that.

Keep going, I say. See what happens.


But trying hard is one of the problems,

Literary Lucidity, Pivotal Purity and Tie Tolerance: Chukat 5774 by Cantor Lipp

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 10:34am -- AJ Blog

We’re not used to ties in our professional sports. 

Basketball can’t end in a tie. Five minute overtimes until one side wins.

Football can tie in the regular season but only after at least one sudden death overtime. Playoffs require sudden death overtime until, well, ‘death’ occurs.

Hockey, since 2005, requires a 5 minute overtime and then a shootout.

Baseball requires extra innings.


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