An Open Letter to NY Giant Geoff Schwartz

This first appeared in the New Jersey Jewish News:

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Dear Mr. Schwartz,

When I first heard that you, an offensive guard for the New York Giants, are planning on playing against the Dallas Cowboys on a game unfortunately scheduled to begin after sunset on Sunday, Sept. 13, the first night of Rosh Hashana, I have to admit that I was a bit crestfallen.

I know that when you were a college freshman on the University of Oregon team, you took a day off for Yom Kippur. When I heard that the NFL had ignored the Giants request, and scheduled te game on Rosh Hoshanah, Continue reading “An Open Letter to NY Giant Geoff Schwartz”

Passover Warehouse

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Welcome to the Passover Warehouse! That’s right folks, you’re ONE STOP SHLEPPING for all the ridiculous bargains you look for in the Passover aisle!

We got a fantastic play/skit that reviews the key points of the Exodus narrative for the seder. featured by PJ Library

We got a collection of clean jokes for your seder. featured on Haggadot.com

We have a quirky poem you could add to your seder. Popular with fans of Michael Jackson 

And, wait, what’s this? We got a e-book short novel perfect for the 8-11 year old kinderlach in your life to read before the seder on their magic pad. on Amazon

Oh, and we got some musical inspiration to groove to while you make your charoset. viaYoutube

And speaking of charoset, here were my wine recommendations when I was the official wine tasting rabbi for the Wall Street Journal. 

But wait! There’s more!

Some great meaning-of-the-holiday reading material to simmer in while you are digesting the meal.

Including an amazing reflection on contemporary slavery by a brilliant young woman. Who happens to be my daughter

And best of all, we have a kid’s video for ages (3-6) made by my very own sons! featured on Jewtwins.com

All material one hundred percent original content produced and distilled by the Association of Brenner Family Members for Jewish Cultural Advancement.

Wishing you a Zissen Pesach!

Rabbi Daniel Brenner

This is Your Brain on Rabbi School

This is Your Brain on Rabbi School: A Cartoon Collection

By Daniel Brenner


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I really should have been paying more attention during rabbinical school. Instead, I was spinning ideas into wacky cartoons in my notebook. The cartoons here are the ones that I saved by cutting them out and putting them in a folder. When I got my first job in New York City (about twenty years ago!) I threw all my folders into a cardboard box and shoved it into the back of a closet. The move to Jersey led to the box being warehoused in our basement (picture that last scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark.)

Now that my boys are off at college, and I have a dedicated office space, I have been able to unearth my old files. And now…cartoons for a small audience presents…This is Your Brain on Rabbi School.

 

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Biography of Rabbi Daniel Brenner

 

Rabbi Daniel Brenner

Photo of Rabbi Daniel Brenner
Photo of Rabbi Daniel Brenner

Daniel S. Brenner was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. He received a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin, studied in Jerusalem at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies, and earned both an M.A. and rabbinic title from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

After rabbinical school, Brenner studied with the Modern Orthodox theologian Rabbi Yitz Greenberg and went on to serve on the faculty of CLAL- The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership from 1998 – 2003. At CLAL he authored works on medical ethics with Joseph Fins MD (Chief of the Division of Medical Ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College) and Rabbi Tsvi Blanchard  (Embracing Life and Facing Death, A Jewish Guide to Palliative Care, 2002. Preface by Senator Joe Lieberman) on spirituality with the late Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, and on a variety of Jewish topics for periodicals including The Forward, Spirituality & Health, Beliefnet, and The Jewish Week. Brenner also served as co-director of CLAL’s program for rabbinical and graduate students.

In 2003, Brenner became the first Rabbi to direct a center of learning at Auburn Theological Seminary, a historic Presbyterian seminary on Manhttan’s Upper West side. At Auburn, Brenner spearheaded the creation of the nation’s first doctoral level program for clergy who work in the context of religious diversity, developed a program for religious leaders with Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Science and Religion, and created a religious diversity curricula for Face to Face/Faith to Faith, Auburn’s international youth leadership program.  Brenner was also at the epicenter of an effort to stop anti-Israel divestment in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and his efforts in this debate garnered him a Simon Rockower Award for Excellence in Jewish Journalism.

In 2007, Brenner became the vice president, education of the Birthright Israel Foundation and the founding executive director of Birthright Israel NEXT, an organization dedicated to engaging young adults in Jewish community life. Under his guidance, Birthright Israel NEXT grew to become a national organization with programs that reached over 50,000 young Jewish adults each year. As part of this effort, Brenner launched Next Shabbat, a grassroots program that sponsored over 20,000 home-hospitality events, brought on HBO Def Poetry Jam artist Vanessa Hidary to direct The Birthright Monologues and worked with Nextbook and Toby Press to develop the anthology “What We Brought Back.” In 2009, he was named by Newsweek Magazine as one of America’s fifty most influential rabbis.

In 2011, Brenner left Birthright Israel to join the Jewish educational organization Moving Traditions. During the past five years, Brenner has built a national educational program for teen boys, entitled Shevet Achim: The Brotherhood, which aims to reverse the trend of young Jewish men disconnecting from the community following bar mitzvah. The program is now active in over a hundred Jewish communities.

In addition to being a Rabbi, Brenner is a published playwright  and essayist and his commentaries have appeared in the New York TimesChicago Tribune, Jerusalem Post, KtBHuffington PostIconia and NPR’s Infinite MindIn 2012, he had the pleasure of serving as the official Rabbi for the Wall Street Journal’s Passover wine tasting, an event that may have indirectly led to his launching the dance craze Klezmer Aerobics.

 

Wikipedia entryDaniel Brenner 

 

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A NOTE ON MY RABBINIC AND CHAPLAINCY WORK

For the last seventeen years I have been an active member and volunteer at Congregation B’nai Keshet in Montclair, NJ. I occasionally serve as a scholar-in-residence at other congregations, officiate at baby naming ceremonies, weddings or funerals, or serve in other rabbinic capacities. In the past, I have served as a community rabbi of String of Pearls Congregation, Princeton, NJ (2000-2007) and Mishkan Ha’Am, Westchester, NY (1998-2000); as a student rabbi: Congregation B’nai Abraham, Bordentown, NJ (1995-97); a volunteer prison chaplain: Montgomery County Correctional Facility, Eagles Point, PA (1997); a nursing home chaplain: Philadelphia Geriatric Center, Philadelphia, PA (1996); and an emergency room and intensive care chaplain: Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA (1995.)