I look forward to the sermons, which remind me of my Chumash and Talmud classes, where hidden meaning behind the scriptures and stories are revealed. I get excited when the pastor references the Old Testament, or a passage that I recognize, and imbues it with a new perspective.
For many years, I and many other people I know have had trouble commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. I can't bear to view the official state ceremonies on television, broadcast from Yad Vashem, with all their clichés and us-against-the-world ideology.
Today, we join together to remember the six million European Jews murdered by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust. The people of Israel and those from all around the world will pause today for Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom Hashoah.
The organizers behind the Jewish Rescuers Citation Award ceremony view believe it is especially important to expose Jewish youth to the phenomena of Jewish rescue during the Holocaust as a model for Jewish solidarity and courage.
Today, on Equal Pay Day, we lift up the fight against wage discrimination, an affront to our moral sensibility. Unjustly paying some workers less than others undermines their value and their dignity as human beings and constitutes an intolerable act of discrimination.
It's the shoes that make me cry. In a photo of my mother from 1924, I am drawn to her scuffed Mary Jane shoes. I remember my grandchildren toddling in their Robeez. In 1944-45, Jews were told to remove their shoes and then shot and pushed into the river. Only their shoes remained behind. Some of them were so tiny.
People who have converted to Judaism often tell me about holiday overload. They go from celebrating a handful of holidays to almost a dozen. Yet, above and beyond the holidays we have certain practices, one of which I did not learn about until rabbinical school.
Some might suggest that it is the charisma, success or personalities of my Muslim friends that draws me to their words. Yet, I think this understates the meaning of the progressive and distinctively American form of Islam that they articulate and live out.
The Ba'al Tefila (prayer leader) was old, probably in his 80s, his complexion wan, his hair snow white and thin, his posture stooped, but his voice was strong enough to reach every part of the large main sanctuary.
What does it mean to be "Israel"? We must remember that there is an "Israel" broader than the State. "Israel" is the name of a People also.
We need to understand why there is anti-Semitism to begin with because despite numerous explanations, we have not figured out why it has endured for so many centuries, constantly wearing new attires, and most important, what can be done to finally uproot it.
Israel has existed before Netanyahu and it will exist after him. He does not represent the best, most humane, moral and creative aspects of Israel.
I never liked Passover when I was a kid. Sedars were long and tedious. We couldn't eat anything until all of the blessings were said, and all of the commentaries were read in Hebrew and sometimes in both Hebrew and English.
Telling the Exodus story without acknowledging the violence against the Caananites is similar to repeating the Zionist myth that Israel was a "land without a people for a people without land."
The increased interest of many Christians to know about the Jewishness of Jesus, and the interest from those in the Jewish community to know about the teachings of that first-century Jew, reflect some of the best of the interfaith awakening of our time.
As Jewish people across the United States and throughout the world celebrate Passover an remember their past, this is a perfect time to reflect on diversity and the future of the Jewish diaspora.