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New Film Chronicles the Surprising Story of Jewish Renewal in Africa

Bernard Starr | Posted 02.08.2017 | Religion
Bernard Starr

Production photo by permission You're a young Jewish woman on a six month volunteer stint with a women's rights group in Ghana, West Africa. Your pas...

Jewish Ethics of Warfare

Ron Kronish | Posted 02.07.2017 | Religion
Ron Kronish

Is the God of the Bible a God of War? Or a God of Peace? Or both? And, are there ethics of warfare that should be followed by a Jewish army, according...

"Love The Alien As Yourself": Trump's Refugee Ban And The Bible

Brennan Breed | Posted 01.30.2017 | Religion
Brennan Breed

Donald Trump's ban on global refugees and Muslim inhabitants of seven nations is not just excruciatingly bad policy. It is an affront to one of the core ideals of both Judaism and Christianity, as well as anybody else who thinks of the Bible as a source of important moral guidance.

The Moral Underpinnings Of A Two-State Solution

Alan Elsner | Posted 01.25.2017 | Religion
Alan Elsner

Seldom has an idea been pronounced dead recently more often than that of making peace between Israel and the Palestinians through a two-state solution...

Receiving Torah for a New Year

Jonah C. Steinberg | Posted 10.06.2016 | Religion
Jonah C. Steinberg

"You stand this day, all of you, before the Eternal One your pass into the covenant..." (Deuteronomy 29:9-11) It may be possible to receive ...

How Researchers 'Unwrapped' This Ancient, Disintegrating Torah Scroll

The Huffington Post | Antonia Blumberg | Posted 09.26.2016 | Religion

More than 40 years ago, archaeologists discovered what appeared to be a hunk of scroll at the site of En-Gedi, an ancient Jewish community in modern-d...

What Would Jesus Say About Distortions Of His Teachings?

Bernard Starr | Posted 09.09.2016 | Religion
Bernard Starr

The lack of access to the words of the religions masters and founders enabled religious leaders to distort the teachings of these towering figures to reflect their own ideologies.

Life Interrupted: Parashat Shoftim & the 15th Anniversary of September 11

Rabbi Yael Ridberg | Posted 09.09.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Yael Ridberg

Fifteen years ago this Sunday on September 11, 2001, 2,996 people left their homes on a seemingly ordinary day that boasted crystal blue skies in New ...

Hillary Clinton's Nomination: A Holding and an Inheritance

Rabbi Yael Ridberg | Posted 07.29.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Yael Ridberg

More than a decade ago a congregant told me that one of her young daughters was playing the game "shul" (synagogue) with a male friend. Upon deciding ...

On the Impact of What We Say, and How We See (Parashat Balak, Numbers 22:2-25:9)

Seventy Faces of Torah | Posted 12.07.2016 | Religion
Seventy Faces of Torah

By Rabbi Dr. Michael Shire It was only a few months ago that we saw graphic and horrific images of refugee children dying on European beaches, while D...

When Mourning Is Not Yet Done (Parshat Hukkat, Numbers 19:1-22:1)

Seventy Faces of Torah | Posted 12.07.2016 | Religion
Seventy Faces of Torah

Shabbat can function as a break from the unbearably real. We spend our week not only consumed by our personal struggles, large and small, but also tun...

The Two Lessons I Learned After Four Days With 370 Jewish Campus Leaders

Rabbi Eitan Webb | Posted 07.06.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Eitan Webb

Last week saw Gitty and myself spending four days with some of the greatest men and women in the Jewish world. These 185 couples have devoted their en...

”The Girl Who Said No”

Seventy Faces of Torah | Posted 07.22.2016 | Religion
Seventy Faces of Torah

I run from confrontation. The very thought of disagreeing with someone makes me breathless. Yet, as a rabbi, I have to accept that people will not a...

The Bible Is For The Birds

Michael Gilmour | Posted 06.27.2016 | Religion
Michael Gilmour

Avian language is everywhere in the Bible. But what, if anything, does it say about ethics? Quite a lot, I suspect. For whatever reason, God does not want humans killing mother birds.

How Far We Haven’t Come (Parshat Naso, B’midbar 4:21-7:89)

Seventy Faces of Torah | Posted 12.07.2016 | Religion
Seventy Faces of Torah

There should be a name for the particular sense of pride, the utter self-righteousness, that arises when we modern readers encounter the deeply proble...

'The Priestly Benediction' -- Its Meaning For Today

Ron Kronish | Posted 06.14.2016 | Religion
Ron Kronish

I had the privilege of sharing this blessing with my daughter and son-in-law, as part of their wedding ceremony, which of course was a great honor for me. And, when our children were growing up, my wife and I blessed them with this blessing around the Friday night Shabbat table as I know that many contemporary Jews with their children every Friday night.

Shavuot 2016: Celebrating The Giving Of The Torah

The Huffington Post | Carol Kuruvilla | Posted 06.10.2016 | Religion

HistoryShavuot is a Jewish holiday which celebrates God’s giving of the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. It is also known as the “Feast ...

The Forgetful Sands of the Wilderness (Parshat B'midbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20)

Ariel Mayse | Posted 06.07.2016 | Religion
Ariel Mayse

God's self-revelation and the giving of the Torah at Sinai was followed by the sin of the Golden Calf, and then the command to build the Tabernacle and thus establish a dwelling place for God amidst the physical world.

And None Shall Make Them Afraid: Gun Violence Awareness

Rabbi Yael Ridberg | Posted 06.03.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Yael Ridberg

A Facebook post from my friend and colleague Rabbi Sharon Brous on Wednesday read: "I'm under lockdown @UCLA. Apparently 2 dead, active shooter at lar...

Back to the Garden (Parshat Behukotai, Leviticus 26:3-27:34)

Alicia Jo Rabins | Posted 06.01.2016 | Religion
Alicia Jo Rabins

It makes sense that the utopian promise is not heaven, but earth. Our ancestors, pre-factory-farm, understood the miraculous elegance of a functional ecosystem.

The Bells That Still Can Ring: On Rest and Action (Parshat Behar, Leviticus 25:1-26:2)

Rabbi Susan P. Fendrick | Posted 05.24.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Susan P. Fendrick

It is a year of complete freedom for the land and humanity alike, a do-over year, a time to begin all over again. In this context of new beginnings, the choice of Yom Kippur as the day on which to proclaim the Jubilee year does make some spiritual sense.

The Human Soul is a Candle of God: Finding Meaning in Existence (Parashat Emor, Leviticus 21:1-24:23)

Rabbi Daniel Klein | Posted 05.19.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Daniel Klein

My wife's grandmother is 94 years old. She lives alone in the same house she has lived in for decades. She is remarkably healthy, but is at an age when many people would have already moved into a retirement community or an assisted living facility. But she has no interest in moving.

Beyond Ghosts and Familiar Spirits: Finding Holiness in the Old and the New (Parshat Kedoshim, Leviticus 19:1-20:27)

Rabbi Lisa L. Goldstein | Posted 05.10.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Lisa L. Goldstein

We are on a multi-layered journey. On the Jewish holiday calendar, after leaving Egypt two weeks ago with all the attendant fear and drama of Passover we are moving steadily toward the holiday of Shavuot--on which we celebrate the revelation of the Torah--and thus toward Mt. Sinai.

The Mothers of the Priests (Parshat Acharei Mot, Leviticus 16:1-18:30)

Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson | Posted 05.04.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson

Parshat Acharei Mot closes with a long list of the sexual partners forbidden to men, continuing the apparent male-centric nature of the text. On its most obvious level, the women in this parashah are there mainly as passive objects, or are simply absent.

Violence and Vision (Passover: 7th day, Exodus 13:17-15:26; 8th day, Deuteronomy 15:10-16:17)

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg | Posted 04.28.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg

The ancient rabbis chose Isaiah's vision of peace on earth as the prophetic reading to accompany the Torah reading for the 8th day of Passover, the Festival of Freedom.