Congregation Beth Shalom

Rabbi Marc Rudolph’s Sermons

Parasha Emor — What it Means to be a Jew

I am going to give you a quiz tonight. Are you ready? Which one of the following common Jewish surnames does not belong in the group:  Katz; Rappaport; Kahan; Kagan; Kornfeld. ……….  The answer: Kornfeld does not belong with the others.  The rest are all surnames that are associated with being from the priestly class […]

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Three Strikes and You’re a Winner — Parasha Achare Mot

Dave and Mike, both in their 90s had played professional baseball together and, after they retired, they remained close friends. Dave suddenly fell deathly ill. Mike visited Dave on his deathbed. After they talked a while and it became obvious that Dave had only a few more minutes to live, Mike said, “Listen, old friend. […]

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Some Reflections on “Chad Gaya”

In 1947, in the wake of the United Kingdom’s decision to relinquish their Mandate for Palestine, the United Nations formed the Special Committee on Palestine. The purpose of the commission was to investigate the conflict in Palestine and to make a recommendation on future governance of the area. David Ben Gurion, the future Prime Minister […]

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Shabbat Ha-Chodesh: Acts of Defiance

Last night Middy and I went to Chicago’s Symphony Hall to hear a program called “Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin”. This was a benefit concert for the Jewish United Fund /Jewish Federation of Chicago Holocaust Community Services program. This program helps Holocaust survivors in Chicagoland to live out their sunset years with hope and dignity. […]

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Jewish-Muslim Dialogue

A few weeks ago I delivered a sermon on four common misunderstandings about Judaism. It was rather well received, and many of you commented that you learned something new about our own religion!  This week I attended a talk sponsored by the Chicago Board of Rabbis that addressed specifically Muslim misunderstandings about Jews. The talk […]

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The Challenge of Purim

We begin our celebration of Purim tomorrow evening with our Megillah reading. On Sunday morning with our Purim carnival. Purim is a story for the ages. Haman, the villain of the story, is the archetypical anti-Semite, the kind of government official that we have seen often in Jewish history. He is a wicked man whose […]

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Parasha Mishpatim — Confronting Hatred

Early this February, four Muslim women rang the door to our synagogue. Alzeena Saleem, Sabrina Zubair, Saima Mussani and Seema Zafar were extremely alarmed and upset about the recent spate of bomb threats called in to Jewish Community Centers throughout the United States. Over the course of three days in January, forty eight JCCs in […]

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Four Common Misunderstandings about Judaism

On Tuesday afternoon I was invited to speak on a luncheon panel entitled “Dialogue among the Abrahamic Religions” sponsored by the Muslim Student Association at North Central College. The other panelists were Eric Doolittle, chaplain at North Central College, who represented Christianity, and Aadil Farid, immediate past president of the Islamic Center of Naperville. We […]

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Parasha Toldot — Raising Children

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving with family and friends. Middy and I spent the holiday in Connecticut with our son Mario and his wife and two children. Our son Ariel joined us there. On Sunday all of us guys went on a hike in a game reservation. We hiked about a mile to […]

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Lech Lecha and the Elections — Going Forward From Here

Does it not seem like a long time since the Chicago Cubs won the World Series? Last Friday night we were all gathered right here in our sanctuary celebrating the historic victory. What has happened to that spirit of joy and solidarity that we all experienced? What happened? The election of Donald Trump to the […]

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