Sicily continues to amaze me. The history here is so multi-layered and so ancient that I, from Boston with its proud and (very) young history, am overwhelmed and find it incomprehensible on many levels when faced with 8000 years or so of history.
This is a deeply religious and spiritual book, well grounded in both theory and practice, and deeply rooted in Judaism as well as other contemporary religious thinkers, such as Rev. Martin Luther King, Gandhi and others.
We find a lot of information in letters no one touched for years. Reading in between the lines of the censored letters and short telegrams we are learning about what life was like in the big city, the beautiful moments, the hopes and plans, the attempts, the downfall, the wrong decisions, the despair.
I am a Jew, by heritage and ethnicity. No one in my family is particularly religious; I don't think any of us believe in God.
As a travel writer whose inbox is always jam-packed with profound and deeply moving press releases, it started me thinking. Wasn't it high time that the finest of these works earned the recognition they deserve?
Since the US is religiously the most diverse nation in the world, it is crucial that we educate ourselves about different religions. It is like being multilingual: When you are multilingual you can connect with more people.
The narrative of what occurred at Mount Sinai is not one of the better-known biblical stories. Perhaps, because it is overshadowed by the unfortunate event that happened shortly thereafter...that whole incident with the golden calf.
On the holiday of Shavuot, we read the story of Ruth, which teaches us that hindsight gives us the clarity to interpret prior events and intentions -- for better or worse.
In preparing for the celebration of the holiday of Shavuot -- "the time of the giving of Torah," as it is referred to in countless rabbinic sources -- I have been reflecting on a striking teaching from the great Hasidic sage Rabbi Levi Isaac of Berditchev.
Matisyahu's new album, Akeda, is almost pure roots music, with a little dancehall sprinkled in the mix. It's the kind of album you put on when you need to get away, or shut the bedroom door and just kick-back, soaking in the music.
Why am I even thinking about a tattoo for the first time, at the age of 53, with grown children and aging parents and memberships to three synagogues on Manhattan's Upper West Side? Why do I keep on asking myself what sign, what image, which words, what message I would want marked on my body? Is this a sign of mid-life crisis? Is it a diversion from more important matters?
The importance of each individual is certainly something that we are all aware of. We saw at the outset of the book of Numbers that God loves each individual and views our very existence as an opportunity to demonstrate that love.
Every woman I have met on each of my trips to Congo -- and most assuredly, everyone we will meet with over the next 10 days -- has been a victim of horrible violence.
The instructions given me were clear -- that my words should recognize the diversity present in the chamber. And that is what is disappointing about this ruling: Not its support of legislative prayer, but the low bar it establishes for a prayer's permissibility.
The antidote to bad, ill-advised free speech is good, healthy free speech. Judaism teaches that we should begin with righteous rebuke, and then go from there.
Why was Macklemore's costume offensive? To answer this, we need to take a quick look at the root of these stereotypes and how they've been used to oppress a group of people.