And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. Isaiah 8:17

If you are looking for messages about the Europe Area Humanitarian Mission, go to

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sukkot : Booths : Feast of Tabernacles

We are currently in the middle of the 8 days of Sukkot or Feast of Tabernacles.  These are the 8 holy days in which the Children of Israel were to "dwell in booths" commemorating their 40 years in the wilderness with the LORD.

Modern observant Jews build their sukkot of various materials.  Here are typical ones.

Read about the Biblical and rabbinic rules for kosher sukkot (booths)here.

Meanwhile, at NYU (where my son got his masters), a group decided to hold a competition designing new/old more interesting sukkot.    They called the contest :Sukkah City NYC 2010 . 

They received over 600 entries and the results ranged from humorous to ethereal.

Now they have completed a documentary film on the project.  You can watch a trailer  here.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

New Movie Preview: Missionaries in Russa

A new movie has been made about the LDS missionaries kidnapped in Russia a few years ago.  They are inviting people to come to a free preview and give them feedback.  Enjoy!



On what seemed like any other day during their two-year LDS missions, Elders Travis Tuttle (Corbin Allred) and Andrew Propst (Maclain Nelson) are approached by Nikolai (Nikita Bogolyubov) to meet a friend. But then the missionaries experience the unimaginable -- kidnapped, beaten, and held for ransom for nearly a week -- on the other side of the world in Saratov, Russia. While their family, friends and the world pray for their safe return, Tuttle and Propst are tested physically, emotionally and most of all -- spiritually. 

But in abducting the missionaries, Nikolai unwittingly sets in motion a course of events that draws him and them closer to each other and to God in ways never expected. Through the harrowing experience they each discover the universal truth that there is a greater plan, a different way, a different approach to life – “The Saratov Approach.”

Inspired by actual events, THE SARATOV APPROACH is the extraordinary, untold story of Elders Travis Tuttle and Andrew Propst and their week-long abduction in Saratov, Russia. Through this harrowing experience, these men of God and their abductors alike discover a different approach to life – “The Saratov Approach.”

The screenings are as follows:
  • September 19th: General Public Advanced Word-of-Mouth screening at the Megaplex Theater at the District South Jordan, UT, at 7:00pm.
  • September 25th: General Public Advanced Word-of-Mouth screening at the Megaplex Theater at the Jordan Commons Sandy, UT, at 7:00pm.
  • September 26th: For the Press and Media.  At the Megaplex Theater at the Gateway SLC, at 10:30am.
  • October 8th: VIP Premier Event. Meet the Elders that the film is based on along with the full cast and crew. Megaplex Theater at the Jordan Commons, at 7:00pm. Tickets will go on sale soon at Jordan Commons box office.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Yom Kippur is Today

Can I Use a Scapegoat on Yom Kippur?

. . . or is there a catch?

 “I heard that in the original Yom Kippur services, the Jews used to send a scapegoat away with all their sins, and then they could start all over again. I’m looking for a scapegoat, but not sure exactly what to do with it when the day comes.” 

You got some of it right, but I need to set you straight on a few details. For one thing, there were two goats. One was an offering on the altar. The other was sent away.
You’ve got a goat inside. It has two sides.

For another, the goat helps only when the entire community is involved, fasting, expressing remorse, and otherwise dealing with their past. Even then, the requirements stipulate a Temple built according to exact specifications on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and a high priest to officiate. If you can put all that together by the holy day, we’ll all be grateful. And impressed.

But wait, there’s still hope. Even if you can’t do this with a regular, woolly goat nowadays, you can still do it with your inner goat. Here’s how:

You’ve got a goat inside. It has two sides. On the one hand, you can’t live without it, and it’s not at all bad. Maybe it’s like one of those nice goats that provides milk, wool and playfulness. On the other hand, it can get into some darned awful habits that can prove pretty embarrassing in your relationship with others. Even more embarrassing when it comes to your Creator.

So, you need to split that goat into two goats. And then send one of them away.

There’s a caveat here, something you really have to know: You can’t send a goat away unless you first take ownership of it. You gotta know, “This is my goat. It’s part of me. What it did, I did. I take full responsibility.”

Once you’ve done that, you can wave goodbye, close the door, and never let it back in again. Then get to work on raising up the other goat into a truly divine offering.

That sounds pretty simple, but I have to bring it up because most people seem to find it real hard. We tend to think the scapegoat is our mother, father, fourth-grade school teacher, wife, husband, job, employer, rush-hour traffic, pharmaceuticals, condition, or some crazy rabbi who gives nutty advice.

You can’t send the goat away as long as you deny that it’s your goat.

That doesn’t work. You can’t send the goat away as long as you continue denying that it’s your goat. Only once you say, “Yes, that’s me,” then you can say, “No, that wasn’t me. Not the real me. That was beneath me.
“And I’m never going to see that goat again.”

BY TZVI FREEMAN  a senior editor at, also heads our Ask The Rabbi team. He is the author of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. To subscribe to regular updates of Rabbi Freeman's writing, visit Freeman Files.

You can read more on Yom Kippur here

42nd Sperry Symposium on "Ascending the Mountain of the Lord"

Figures they would have my favorite topic while I am out of the country.  

It is FREE.  You should go.

You can get more information and a schedule HERE