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Ari Hart
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Rabbi Ari Hart is an orthodox rabbi and leader of multiple initiatives that bring the Jewish community and the world together to make positive social change. Rabbi Hart co-founded of Uri L'Tzedek (Awaken to Justice): The Orthodox Social Justice Movement, the Jewish Muslim Volunteer Alliance, and launched Or Tzedek, the teen institute for Jewish social justice. A contributor to the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz magazine, and the Forward, and others, he was recently selected by the Jewish Week as one of the 36 "forward-thinking young people who are helping to remake the Jewish community." He received his ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in New York City.

Entries by Ari Hart

Shmitta: The Bible's Solution to America's Debt Problems?

(7) Comments | Posted September 28, 2014 | 8:49 PM

The book of Deuteronomy calls us to spend one out of every seven years actively eliminating debt, in a practice called shmittat kessafim -- the release of money.

Deuteronomy 15:1-6 reads:

At the end of every seven years, you shall celebrate the year of release (shmitta). This is the...
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Celebrating Nissan: Blessing the Trees

(1) Comments | Posted April 1, 2014 | 4:28 PM

Happy Nissan! This is the month where freedom blooms!

Did you know that with this new Jewish month comes a great opportunity to appreciate the beautiful trees and creations that make our Earth an amazing place to live?

From the Talmud -- Brachot 43b

אמר רב יהודה: האי מאן...
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My Religious Zionist Dream, My Religious Zionist Reality

(29) Comments | Posted March 21, 2014 | 8:05 PM

"A Song of Ascents. When God returns us to Zion, we were like dreamers. Then our mouths will be filled with laughter, our tongues with joyous song." Psalm 126, verse 1-2.

I sing these verses, marking the first exile of the Jewish people from Israel by the Babylonians in the...

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Enter the Word! Social Media and the Story of Noah

(5) Comments | Posted October 7, 2013 | 12:12 PM

Hereʼs a thought experiment: Try and remember every single word you emailed, tweeted, of posted to Facebook this week. Ok, got it? No? Can you remember a half of what you said? A third? A tenth? A hundredth? So many words!

We send out so many words a day. And...

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Parting Gifts From God: The End of the Jewish Holidays

(9) Comments | Posted September 30, 2013 | 9:29 AM

The two-month marathon of Jewish holidays is over. For many, (myself included), there is a feeling of some of relief -- no more cooking, no more emails piled up after missed days of work, back to regular life.

But there is also a sadness. All the amazing ways we've tried...

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'Damage By Seeing' -- Jewish Insights for the Privacy Debate

(14) Comments | Posted July 8, 2013 | 3:38 PM

What quality makes a society great? Is it justice? Freedom? Opportunity?

One famous Jewish teaching claims none of the above. Rather, it claims privacy makes a society great. The Bible teaches a story about a prophet named Bilaam who was hired to curse the children of Israel, but upon seeing...

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Should I Thank God for Not Making Me a Woman?

(80) Comments | Posted May 2, 2013 | 3:55 PM

"Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has not made me a woman." -- Morning Blessings, Artscroll Siddur, p. 12.

I'm supposed to say that each morning. If I were a woman, I would recite this instead: "Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of...

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5 Jewish Responses to the Boston Attacks, From Rabbinic and Torah Sources

(0) Comments | Posted April 17, 2013 | 1:39 PM

As our nation reels and begins to recover from this week's attacks, our religious traditions can offer wisdom and comfort. Below are five primary sources from the Jewish canon. I hope you find some of them helpful in your own grieving and processing. May God protect the wounded, help our...

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Authenticity in a False World

(12) Comments | Posted March 6, 2013 | 5:52 PM

What is the realest thing you know?

A few weeks ago, I posted this question as my Facebook status. These were some of the answers my friends wrote:

  • Nature
  • My family's love and support
  • Breath
  • Friends
  • Death
  • Diapers (from a new father)

This question of realness resonates so deeply, evoking our most...

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The Weapon's Shame: A Case for Gun Control in Jewish Law

(3) Comments | Posted December 18, 2012 | 11:25 AM

Newtown, Auruora, Tuscon, Littleton: hearing the names of these picturesque American cities once evoked images of the American dream. Now they evoke an American nightmare -- mass gun violence. The wounds in Newtown are the freshest and probably the most horrific, but the scars of gun violence run deep throughout...

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Sandy: A Spiritual, Scriptural Response

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2012 | 12:42 PM

This sermon was delivered at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, an Orthodox Synagogue in New York City, days after Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast.

This is a powerful moment. It's our first time together in large numbers as a community after witnessing and experiencing the devastation caused by Hurricane...

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Cries in the Night: Human Trafficking and Tisha B'av

(3) Comments | Posted July 26, 2012 | 11:46 AM

The following is the second in a series of excerpts from Uri L'Tzedek's "Rising in the Night: Compassion and Justice in a Time of Despair," a collection of reflections, poems and calls to action intended to bring mindfulness and social justice to the experience of Tisha B'Av.

"Alas!

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Calling American Jews -- Show Compassion for Vulnerable Immigrants in Israel

(40) Comments | Posted June 25, 2012 | 1:10 PM

Thousands of American Jews were shocked and horrified to hear of the riots aimed at African refugees and migrants in South Tel Aviv a few weeks ago. A few hundred Israelis, incited by lashon hara, evil speech, marched through immigrant neighborhoods, chanting racist slogans, smashing stores and even...

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Prayer on Becoming a Rabbi

(2) Comments | Posted June 8, 2012 | 10:30 AM

Creator of the universe, divine energy that flows through all things, source of love, wisdom and compassion... Hi, it's me. Back again.

In a few days, I will be ordained as a rabbi.

It's been a journey over many years. Four in YCT Rabbinical School. Thirty in this world....

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A Passover Song About ... the Food System? Dayenu!

(0) Comments | Posted April 3, 2012 | 5:31 PM

If God had provided for our needs in the wilderness for 40 years -- dayenu!

If God had fed us manna -- dayenu!

It's arguably the most famous Passover Jewish song. Each year, sing-song verses and repetitive chorus stick in my head almost as long as the matzah sticks in...

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Top 7 Reasons Why You Should Invest in Private Prison!

(0) Comments | Posted March 21, 2012 | 10:03 AM

Dear readers, do I have a hot stock opportunity for you.

Why invest in boring stocks like Exxon, McDonalds, or Lockheed Martin when you could invest in one of America's hottest growth sectors -- the private prison industry!

Here are 7 great reasons, quoted directly from the Corrections Corporation of...

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Purim and Taxes: Paying Civilization's Price

(6) Comments | Posted March 7, 2012 | 11:12 AM

The concluding chapter of the Scroll of Esther is three verses long. Two of them, not surprisingly, celebrate the triumphs of the Jews. The other verse reads: "And the king Ahasuerus laid a tax upon the land, and upon the isles of the sea."

What a strange ending to our...

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Is the iPhone Kosher?

(5) Comments | Posted February 23, 2012 | 6:12 PM

I bought my first iPhone in January. After only a few short hours, I was hooked by the sleek design, ease of use, and power. After a few weeks, I couldn't remember life without it. And then, on my iPhone, I read the following email from SumOfUs:

"Every day, tens...

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Prison Reform: An American Spiritual Crisis

(19) Comments | Posted November 19, 2011 | 2:00 AM

"Welcome to the Waldorf Astoria," said the jail guard as he showed me the room I would sleep in, my prison issue bedding (top sheet, bottom sheet, two pillowcases, no pillow) and the vacuum-packed kosher meals that had been prepared for me. This was the beginning of the three days...

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Confronting the Oppression of Our Hands: A Social Justice Reflection for Yom Kippur

(23) Comments | Posted October 6, 2011 | 7:12 PM

It is dusk on Yom Kippur. As the holiest day of the Jewish year comes to a close, the Neilah service arrives. Neilah means closing, and the Jewish tradition understands that this fifth and final prayer service occurs when the gates of prayer begin to shut. In the liturgy, we begin with...

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