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Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
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Rabbi Dr Bradley Shavit Artson ( holds the Abner and Roslyn Goldstine Dean's Chair of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and is Vice President of American Jewish University in Los Angeles. A member of the Philosophy Department, he is particularly interested in theology, ethics and the integration of science and religion, as an advocate of Process Thought. He supervises the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program and mentors Camp Ramah in California. He is the author of 10 books and over 250 articles.

Entries by Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson

Discrete, Wise, and Filled With Spirit: A Diaspora Judaism of Robust Hope

(0) Comments | Posted June 3, 2015 | 5:27 PM

Let me share with you that I've had a challenging schedule the last couple of days. The reason that the Ziegler Ordination was on a Tuesday night this year -- violating time-hallowed tradition stretching back to hoary antiquity that the Ziegler Ordination is always, always, always, on a Monday night...

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Manifest and Hidden: Embracing the One

(0) Comments | Posted October 13, 2014 | 7:29 PM

Swirling toward the conclusion of the grand pageant of the Days of Awe, a holy day season that launches with the midnight service of Selichot (forgiveness on the Saturday night preceding Rosh Ha-Shanah), then ascending from the New Year days toward the Ten Days of Repentance, we regroup at the...

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Transitions: What I Learned Sitting in a Sukkah

(1) Comments | Posted October 2, 2014 | 6:00 PM

Here's the thing about transitions: Most of the time you don't know you are about to go through it until it has already happened. I teach a course for first year rabbinical students - it is a History of Jewish Philosophy - and one of the first things I tell...

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Passover: Festival of Freedom

(0) Comments | Posted April 7, 2014 | 8:08 PM

In every generation, all are obligated to view themselves as having personally left Egypt, since it is said, "And you shall explain to your child on that day, 'It is because of what Adonai did for me when I went free from Egypt'." Therefore we are obligated to thank, praise...and...
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Dreams of Zion

(2) Comments | Posted December 18, 2013 | 2:01 PM

Israel's existence is a miracle, easily distorted by the politics, easily forgotten in the relentless propaganda hurled at its simply being a nation: After wandering in exile for almost twenty centuries, the Jewish people have returned to their homeland where they govern a Jewish democracy, speak the ancient language of...

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A Jew in the White House -- Halleluyah!

(1) Comments | Posted December 6, 2013 | 5:25 PM

I'm standing in the White House, near the presidential podium. The room is packed with invited guests from every part of the United States, each one of these fortunate people the bearer of a personal invitation from President and Michelle Obama to attend the annual White House Hanukkah party.


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From Death to Life

(0) Comments | Posted October 23, 2013 | 6:42 PM

The story starts, in my life, when I was first a student in college. I grew up an atheist, and I did not discover Judaism and religion until I was a student in college. In fact, I met God and Elana the same semester; it was clearly my season of...

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From Small Beginnings, or Finding Your Inner Bad Girl!

(0) Comments | Posted October 18, 2013 | 1:31 PM

There is a dispiriting hopelessness that can easily creep into human life: We have a deadening sense that we've seen it all; we've done it all; we've been there before; life doesn't change; we're really the same as we were last year; the same as we were the year before....

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Mishpat Ve-Hesed: Love and Justice

(0) Comments | Posted September 24, 2013 | 4:22 PM

Let us consider the enormity of the changes we've seen in our own lifetimes. Just within the last 20, 30, 40 years, the sweeping changes that we thought could never happen in the world have now become commonplace. I have to remind my 21 year-old daughter that you can rely...

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The Best Jewish Holiday

(5) Comments | Posted September 16, 2013 | 6:47 PM

After two days of Rosh Ha-Shanah and a day of fasting on Yom Kippur, you would think that Jews would be exhausted. Enough Judaism, already!

Yet at precisely that time, the calendar of Judaism presents a dazzling array of festivals -- Sukkot, Hoshanah Rabbah, Sh'mini Atzeret, and Simhat Torah. For...

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The Crack Is What Lets in the Light

(9) Comments | Posted September 12, 2013 | 5:04 PM

I was traveling with my family to Independence Hall, the Philadelphia locus of the American Revolution. In the middle of this storied courtyard stands a large bell. The entire world knows that bell. It was hung in the Philadelphia State House in 1753, and it sounded to summon the pre-Independence...

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'If I Am Here, All Is Here': A Rabbinic Ordination Address

(1) Comments | Posted May 14, 2013 | 11:15 AM

The ordination of a class of rabbis is an act of abounding faith. We gather together, taking the future of our people, taking our covenant with God, firmly in hand. Because we believe in our people and because we believe in our God's covenant, we stand ready to reach with...

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Matzah: Hope and Integrity

(6) Comments | Posted March 25, 2013 | 6:06 PM

As we heighten our preparations for a Pesah both kosher and happy, I want to offer a brief thought about one aspect of the festival:

The Mah Nishtanah notes as it's first statement, ha-lailah ha-zeh kulo matzah -- "on this night, we eat only Matzah." According to Philo, ztz"l, "each...

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4 Reasons I'm Bound to Israel

(120) Comments | Posted January 31, 2013 | 5:27 PM

I write these words on board a plane flying to Israel. In our time that fact is neither unusual nor noteworthy. But what is noteworthy is my excitement every time I board this flight, the thrill I get when I hear the announcements made in Hebrew, the diverse faces, attire...

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Unity Is Not Uniformity: An Open Letter to Natan Sharansky

(24) Comments | Posted December 28, 2012 | 11:08 AM

Dear Mr. Sharansky,

I am writing to ask you to use your new authority to provide real freedom of religion at the Kotel, Jerusalem's Western Wall.

Like many others, I have long been in awe of your heroic fight on behalf of Soviet Jews. Your courage in the face of...

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Your Non-Partisan Guide to Voting for Biblical Values

(38) Comments | Posted October 30, 2012 | 5:19 PM

Seems these days that some politically motivated pastors are attempting to direct the way their congregants vote by selectively lifting some occasional biblical verses out of context and then pretending that this reflects a self-evident biblical mandate in politics. Those red-letter issues -- abortion, dismantling a welfare state, keeping women...

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Closer to You: Approaching the Holy Days

(38) Comments | Posted September 2, 2012 | 10:15 AM

The image of these Holy Days wafts toward us, again and again, in many different guises. When I think of these Yamim Nora'im (Days of Awe), one of the strongest images I have is of our cantor, starting at the back of the room and marching up to the Ark,...

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Embodied Spirituality: 'The Body Is the Glory of the Soul'

(17) Comments | Posted July 13, 2012 | 8:10 AM

Jomo Kenyatta led Kenya to independence after years of colonial rule. When asked to explain what he saw as the central dynamic of modern African history, he said, "When the Europeans came to Africa, the Africans had the land and the Europeans had the Bibles. Then the Europeans taught the...

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May You See Your World: An Ancient Blessing for Today

(0) Comments | Posted June 26, 2012 | 2:51 PM

Every year, I have the privilege of ordaining a new class of rabbis. And as a climactic moment of the ordination ceremony, our beloved Rector, Rabbi Elliot Dorff, recites the words of an ancient poetic blessing found in the Talmud in Tractate Berakhot (Blessings).

The blessing, as found in...

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The Bible is a Book of Inclusion and Love

(52) Comments | Posted June 6, 2012 | 9:30 AM

I would like to offer you a relationship to the Bible that allows us to do what, I think, it was originally intended to be, which is a source of light, a source of affirmation, a source of deeper humanity. The Bible that you hear preached by some is a...

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