iOS app Android app

Rabbi Adam Jacobs
GET UPDATES FROM Rabbi Adam Jacobs
Rabbi Adam Jacobs is the Managing Director of the Aish Center in Manhattan. He was born and raised in New York and has lived in Boston and Jerusalem, where he received his rabbinic ordination. He completed his B.A. in music from Brandeis University and has a Masters of Jazz Performance from the New England Conservatory. He is a blogger for the Huffington Post’s religion section and has a penchant for writing and teaching about the uplifting, beautiful and unexpected aspects of the Jewish tradition. He was recently featured in the documentary film "Kabbalah Me" and has published a collection of essays called The Forgotten Light. Rabbi Jacobs now lives in “the burbs” with his wife Penina and their five children.

Entries by Rabbi Adam Jacobs

God, Volcanos and Circumstantial Evidence

(2) Comments | Posted February 6, 2015 | 2:21 PM

The jurors in Sidney Lumet's classic 1957 film 12 Angry Men were presented with what they thought was an open and shut case. A young Hispanic man with a weak alibi was seen fleeing the murder location and the murder weapon (a knife he claimed to have lost) was found...

Read Post

Rethinking the Exodus

(2) Comments | Posted January 20, 2015 | 11:15 AM

In his classic "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions," physicist, historian and philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn introduced the world to the term "paradigm shift." He posited that rather than developing in a linear, step by step fashion, science tends to undergo periodic revolutions that wholly reshape how we understand the...

Read Post

What Is It Like to Be Sam Harris?

(2) Comments | Posted October 2, 2014 | 4:48 PM

I find neuroscientist Sam Harris to be considerably more interesting than most of his fellow "new atheist" thinkers, and, despite my fundamental disagreement with him on many matters of critical importance, I often find myself interested in his approach to various topics and periodically in agreement with what he has...

Read Post

The "Eye For An Eye" Fallacy

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2014 | 3:27 PM

"An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind."

- Mahatmas Gandhi

While Gandhi may have been a great social leader and an impressive and important historical figure, his knowledge of Jewish thought, as judged by the quotation above, seems to have been limited. It's hard to blame...

Read Post

How to Achieve Prophecy

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2014 | 5:31 PM

The Talmud makes the seemingly outlandish claim that Israel generated 1.2 million prophets over the roughly 900-year period that the two Temples stood. At that time there were whole academies dedicated to helping men and women cross the spiritual threshold -- affording them access to knowledge and information in a...

Read Post

The Revelation at Sinai Was Real

(3) Comments | Posted December 10, 2013 | 3:53 PM

We've all heard the sensible saying that history is written by the victors, but on second reflection it should seem clear that it's not the history itself that is written but rather the victors' feelings about that history. For example, in the late 18th Century the British had taken to...

Read Post

No God, No Good

(0) Comments | Posted November 19, 2013 | 1:22 PM

In season two of Julian Fellowes' British period drama Downton Abbey, a young and earnest footman named William is sent to the front to fight the Germans. Sadly, he returns mortally wounded. William has an incurable crush on Daisy -- the scullery maid at Downton. Sadly again, Daisy does not...

Read Post

Breaking (Through) Bad

(3) Comments | Posted September 26, 2013 | 6:45 PM

There once was a poor villager who scrimped and saved until he could afford a good and reliable horse to help him with his farming. Upon purchase the locals were duly impressed and commented on his fortune to which he replied "Not good, not bad, just is." As fate would...

Read Post

There's No Such Thing As Jewish Guilt

(30) Comments | Posted July 26, 2013 | 1:27 PM

We are all familiar with the archetypal Jewish mother -- an overprotective parental micro-manager -- clutching her pearls with one hand and biting on the other as she faces the wall and bleats out pained rebuke for her children's lack of fealty. This image (of a personality type that surely...

Read Post

Making Friends With My Grey Hair

(9) Comments | Posted June 11, 2013 | 12:40 PM

My big sister's hair went grey in her 30s
My little brother Eddie also went grey early
I was lucky that didn't happen to me
My hair was brown I was 43

But a few years later my hairdresser stared at my head
I'll never forget those words he said
'You've got to accept you've come...
Read Post

An Open Letter to the Theist Community

(25) Comments | Posted May 7, 2013 | 1:32 PM

Dear fellow theists,

I once sat on a grassy hill in Jerusalem with a group of friends. On my left was a gorgeous expanse of desert rolling on toward the Dead Sea and the burning disk of the setting sun was just scraping the Golden Dome of the Old City...

Read Post

How to Speak Like a Mensch

(4) Comments | Posted April 15, 2013 | 3:00 PM

Between Oct. 3 and 22 last year the nation was treated to four debates between the presidential contenders. Many viewers, myself included, thought they had an enhanced drama quotient this time around -- sharp exchanges, intense body-language and the usual mélange of content disconnect. What struck me most at the...

Read Post

An Iron-Clad Proof of God

(1479) Comments | Posted January 28, 2013 | 3:46 PM

A few months back I had the pleasure of watching the film "In Our Own Time," a surprisingly engaging documentary about the Bee Gees. Toward the end of the film, Barry Gibb mused that even a few years back you wouldn't be caught dead putting on a Bee Gees record,...

Read Post

The 7 Things Everyone Wants

(89) Comments | Posted December 27, 2012 | 11:05 AM

I recently came across a fascinating (to me) quote by Lady Gaga: "I want women -- and men -- to feel empowered by a deeper and more psychotic part of themselves. The part they're always trying desperately to hide. I want that to become something that they cherish." Now, while...

Read Post

Rubio Is Right (Sort of)

(92) Comments | Posted November 20, 2012 | 1:09 PM

Senator Marco Rubio set off something of a media fire storm in a recent interview with GQ magazine in which he suggested that the age of the universe was a "mystery" and that theologians have striven to reconcile the biblical account of a six day Creation with the current 4.54...

Read Post

The Daredevil's Doctrine

(5) Comments | Posted October 15, 2012 | 1:01 PM

I have to admit that I was fully transfixed this afternoon as I watched Felix Baumgartner stare down the 24 mile long void that separated him from the ground. There he stood, motionless and quiet, knowing that in moments his own body would tear through the sound barrier as gravity's...

Read Post

The Secret of Suffering

(86) Comments | Posted July 28, 2012 | 10:15 AM

The day my eldest child turned 16 months he began to vomit. It wasn't just your average little kid spit-up either. Rather, it was a cascading gastric fountain that randomly exploded like a little incontinent fire-hydrant. Our concern increased in proportion with the frequency of these episodes, which was several...

Read Post

The Moral Excellence of the State of Israel

(720) Comments | Posted June 1, 2012 | 11:14 AM

Tal Ben Shahar's class in positive psychology was one of the most popular in the history of Harvard University. Yet despite his pedagogical success, four best-selling books, a consulting practice with Fortune 500 companies and sundry television appearances, he decided it was time to move home ... to Israel. How...

Read Post

Keep Your Mask On

(28) Comments | Posted May 3, 2012 | 11:20 AM

I recently saw the following sentiment expressed in my Facebook newsfeed:

"Can we all just agree to drop our masks for 60 seconds? For one minute just quit pretending to be a 'sweet girl,' 'holy man' or 'accomplished business guy?' We'll all be better off when you are who you...

Read Post

Kabbalistic Feminism and the War on Women

(7) Comments | Posted April 18, 2012 | 12:16 PM

"In the 600th year of the sixth millennium [5600 in the Jewish calendar corresponding to 1840 C.E.] the gates of wisdom above (Kabbalah) together will the wellsprings of wisdom below (science) will open up and the world will prepare to usher in the seventh millennium [the 7000th year corresponding to...

Read Post