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Rabbi Asher Brander

Rabbi Asher Brander is Rabbi of the Westwood Kehilla, Founder/Dean of the LINK (Los Angeles INtercommunity) Kollel, and has been a long time High School Rebbe.

Vayechi: Real Relationships

December 20, 2007, by

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be – Yogi BerraTo the unreflective, memory is quaint; a nostalgic window upon a past experience that might evoke a momentary glance backward (and perhaps even a smile). To a thinker, memory is a marker, a measurement of whither my dreams? Has life “happened” the way I thought it

Vayigash: Why Are We Jews?

December 13, 2007, by

“Biblical stories are in our present — in the cheder we cried when we learned of the sale of Yosef — and we rejoiced in his ascendancy to power. There was a freshness, a vigor, a nearness, which we felt in that drama.” — Rabbi Yosef B. Soloveichik Oh to be a fly on the

Optimalism : A Chanukah View of the World

December 6, 2007, by

Upon return from a fundraising trip from America for his Yeshiva, Chachmei Lublin, Rav Meir Schapiro gathered around his students who were eager to comprehend the Jewish mindset of the nyer velt (new world). Rav Meir, related a conversation he had with a baalabos (congregant) who was eager to impress with his piety. “Every day

Vayeishev: Murky Messianic Beginnings

November 29, 2007, by

Back in 5th grade, I remembered we skipped the story. Never has a teacher sparked such interest; the particular episode being one of the great and difficult pieces of the written Torah, that of the story of Yehuda and Tamar (1). What follows is one piece in the puzzle. Context: Immediately, following Yosef’s sale and descent

Vayishlach: Spiritual Heroism

November 21, 2007, by

“Paralysis by analysis” is a favorite phrase in our home. It bespeaks an intense contemplation of all one must accomplish to the point that nothing gets done. Should I first clean my desk, room or office and the most efficient approach for each, is a sterling example of why they remain so cluttered. Is it

Vayetzei: Surviving Exile

November 15, 2007, by

Sipping an ice-blended white chocolate dream in the cholov yisrael Coffee Bean in November makes it hard for a California Jew to consider the imperiled state of the Jew in exile. Yes it’s a galus (diaspora) – ober a gutte galus (but a good one). But is it? May 1964 – LOOK magazine runs a