The New Synagogue of Long Island
The Synagogue for Spiritual Judaism

Humanity’s Common Values

Today, we live in a thriving world of over seven billion people, with fewer casualties of war, less poverty, longer and healthier lives than ever before in recorded history. Technology and medical breakthroughs continue to abound along with global commerce and communications.   But this progress is possible only because of humanity’s common values.

In G‑d’s Likeness

It’s a very big world, and yet no two people are alike. No two people think alike, look alike or live the same life. Yet the Torah declares something very radical: that every human being is created in the likeness of G‑d.  Each human being is a representative of the Creator, each in his or her unique, irreplaceable way. Which means that the life of each person is sacred. The Jewish sages taught: “Anyone who takes a single life, it is as though he has destroyed the entire world. And anyone who saves a single life, it is as though he has saved the entire world.”  That is the only measure we have of a human life: Each one is worth the entire world.

Fixing Up the World

Can human beings make the world a better place? For most of history, wise people laughed at this notion. Many considered this world a dark and cursed place. No one imagined that we could make permanent and lasting change. Everything, they said, goes in cycles. Sometimes good prevails, sometimes evil. But the Torah sees all of time as a story, working towards an era of peace and wisdom here on earth. It is the duty of every person to leave the world behind better than he or she found it. All of us, in our actions, are builders of a world to come.   This idea is called tikun, which means to fix up the world - to make it even better than its Creator made it.  G‑d created this world out of love. G‑d loves this world, and G‑d sustains all of its creatures with love. And the greatest gift of love G‑d can give us is the opportunity to partner with G‑d in the creation of the world, by setting it straight and bringing it into harmony.

World Peace

Is peace better than war?  It’s hard to believe, but not long ago most people thought war was a great enterprise. It was the way men showed their strength and nations demonstrated their power. People who protested war were generally considered foolish crackpots.  But more than 2,600 years ago, the Jewish prophets Isaiah and Micah prophesied of a time when nations would choose never to go to war again and the world would be filled with peace. – Shalom.   It wasn’t until the close of the First World War that people began to understand that humanity, with its vast new arsenal of technological weapons, could no longer afford to go to war. After the Second World War, the nations of the world built a great structure - the United Nations - where they would sit and discuss peace instead of war. On a wall in the United Nations Headquarters complex are engraved the words of Isaiah and Micah: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift the sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

Be the eternal optimist - remember that we are all created in G-d’s likeness; remember that our mission is to make our home a better place; remember that a world of peace and spirituality can exist with G-d’s help and yours.

Ani Maamin – “I believe”


 Rabbi Stuart Paris, HaKohen

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Torah Completion and Celebration

Sunday, May 15, 2016

7 Iyar, 5776

Rabbi Stuart Paris and Rabbi Gedaliah Druin

Rabbi Gedaliah Druin completing the last letter of the Torah