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Rabbi Daniel Brenner
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Rabbi Daniel Brenner is leading a national effort to train a cadre of educators and mentors who can connect the ethical insights of Jewish life to the challenges facing today's teen boys. Prior to joining Moving Traditions, Rabbi Brenner was the founding Executive Director of Birthright Israel NEXT and he developed and directed graduate-level training programs at both Auburn Theological Seminary and CLAL -– The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.

A graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Brenner's commentaries have been featured in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Jerusalem Post,Forward, Jewish Week and on the NPR show The Infinite Mind. In 2009, he was named by Newsweek Magazine as one of America’s most influential rabbis.

More on the work of Rabbi Brenner can be found at

Entries by Rabbi Daniel Brenner

Was Moses Armed and Dangerous? The Other Problem With Exodus: Gods and Kings

(7) Comments | Posted December 9, 2014 | 12:42 AM

Famed Hollywood director Ridley Scott has been under fire in recent days for casting a White actor, Christian Bale, as his Moses in his new epic Exodus: Gods and Kings, fire that the director responded to with the phrase "get a life."

But as troubling as the racial casting...

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When Will the U.S. Supreme Court Protect the Freedoms of Religious People Who Use Contraceptives?

(109) Comments | Posted June 30, 2014 | 2:41 PM

I must admit that I was shocked to read about today's 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the claims made by the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties corporations. Their argument, that a health care mandate that requires them to provide contraception to their employees is in violation of...

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Will Katy Perry Apologize for Her Anti-Jewish Caricature?

(12) Comments | Posted May 22, 2014 | 1:01 PM

Earlier this week, the hip-hop wunderkind Macklemore was called to task for a performance at an event in which he wore a bad wig, beard and large beak-like nose -- what Gawker and others labeled as an offensive Jewish caricature. Macklemore was quick to respond to the accusations...

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Questioning Darwin: One Man's Quest to Teach Science to Clergy

(38) Comments | Posted January 10, 2014 | 12:28 PM


"If I started talking about science from the pulpit," a seasoned Methodist minister sitting to my left said, "my wife would shoot a spitball from the choir!" As Anthony Thomas' new documentary about the rise of creationism entitled Questioning Darwin is about...

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Why I Will Not Be Celebrating 'Thanksgivukkah'

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2013 | 9:56 PM

In 1970, when one of the descendants of the Wampanoag tribe was asked to speak at Plymouth Rock, he said to the assembled crowd:

Today is a time of celebrating for you -- a time of looking back to the first days of white people in America. But it...
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Does Passover Celebrate the Death of Innocent Egyptians?

(342) Comments | Posted March 12, 2013 | 3:57 PM

"How could God kill all those Egyptians? What if some were innocent? Should they die with those who were truly evil?"

As I prepare for Passover this year, I'm haunted by these questions from Charlotte Davies, an insightful and sensitive 13-year-old girl (delivered at her recent bat mitzvah ceremony.)...

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Mommy, Do Jews Believe in the Christmas Story?

(622) Comments | Posted December 11, 2012 | 7:33 AM

Last year before Christmas I got a Facebook message from my church-going high school sweetheart. (We still write, yes, and don't worry folks, my wife knows about it.)

"My sister has just converted to Judaism. My children are very interested in this. They'd all learned the dreidel song and...

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Who Has the Right to Pray at the Western Wall?

(14) Comments | Posted October 23, 2012 | 6:50 PM

After I posted an article on Facebook about Anat Hoffman, the Israeli woman arrested last week for praying in a tallit at the Western Wall, a friend and colleague, who happens to be an Orthodox rabbi, messaged me on Google chat to ask why I was bothered by...

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Is Drake's 'Re-Bar Mitzvah' Video a Mockery of Judaism?

(5) Comments | Posted April 16, 2012 | 2:12 PM

In the past week, a video of the hip-hop superstar Aubrey Drake Graham has become the most watched bar mitzvah film clip in human history. The video of the song HYFR has garnered more than 1 million viewers on YouTube, and features the 24-year old Drake having a...

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Every Sperm Is Sacred? Jewish Perspectives on Contraception

(11) Comments | Posted March 5, 2012 | 10:37 AM

Should Catholic hospitals that receive federal dollars be required to provide their employees with contraceptives?

This was the heated debate on talk radio as I drove up the New Jersey Turnpike recently. I tuned in because I was one of the many people who had seen the photo of...

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Will Men Stand Up Against the Sex Slave Trade in Israel?

(111) Comments | Posted February 1, 2012 | 7:30 AM

An e-mail popped into my inbox this morning:

"It would be wonderful if we have men standing with us!"

It was a message from a Canadian woman, Peggy Sakow, who is an advocate for the hundreds of thousands of girls and women across the world sold into slavery as...

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