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Rabbi David Wolpe
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Named the most influential Rabbi in America by Newsweek Magazine and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post, David Wolpe is the Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California. He has taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, The American Jewish University in Los Angeles, Hunter College, and UCLA.

Rabbi Wolpe writes for many publications, including regular columns for the New York Jewish Week, Washington Post "On Faith", as well as periodic contributions to the Jerusalem Post, The Los Angeles Times, and many others.

He has been on television numerous times, featured in series on PBS, A&E, as well as serving as a commentator on the Face the Nation, the TODAY show, CNN and CBS This Morning. Rabbi Wolpe is the author of seven books, including the national bestseller Making Loss Matter: Creating Meaning in Difficult Times. Rabbi Wolpe's most recent book is Why Faith Matters (HarperOne). Join him at

Entries by Rabbi David Wolpe

Conservative Judaism Seeks its True Name

(7) Comments | Posted November 23, 2015 | 10:55 AM

I grew up as a Conservative Jew, my father a Conservative Rabbi. The appellation "conservative" was not a perfect fit for the Judaism I learned as a child. Conserving ancient traditions was essential, to be sure, but the Judaism I practiced was also dynamic, innovative, unafraid.

In Jewish tradition,...

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A Memorable Closing Speech

(1) Comments | Posted August 24, 2015 | 9:56 PM

Last year, I served as the foreman on a jury for an unremarkable case with a remarkable ending. The owners of an apartment complex in one of the poorer neighborhoods of Los Angeles were bringing suit to expel a Mexican family on the basis of noncompliance with the regulations of...

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A New Year's Prayer 2015

(4) Comments | Posted December 29, 2014 | 1:30 PM

May I learn not to be ruled by exhilaration or anger.
May failures be instructors, not judgments.
May other people's lives, their loves and joys and losses, be as real to me as my own.
May may doubts not be belligerent or my belief smug.

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A New Year's Prayer

(0) Comments | Posted December 31, 2013 | 8:46 AM

I am wrapped round with unfulfilled resolutions,
Cotton candy oaths that unspool and melt in the heat of the next day.
Was I wiser last night when I promised
Than today when I wish to renege?
But dear God, yes; we do have better, loftier selves

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How Blessing Works

(2) Comments | Posted November 11, 2013 | 7:50 PM

Why does time go forward? Physicists debate why the arrow of time moves in the direction it does. In imagination we sometimes reverse the direction: Merlin in the Arthur stories grew younger. But we also naturally project and often confuse the time trajectory of human life. We think what we...

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Sin, Repentance And Yom Kippur

(131) Comments | Posted September 12, 2013 | 11:59 AM

The most common word for sin in the Jewish tradition, chet, is a term borrowed from archery, one meaning 'missing the mark.' Chet is the most common Hebrew word for sin but hardly the only one. For there are many ways in which human beings wrong one another. Often we...

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What Judaism Says About Success

(58) Comments | Posted August 13, 2013 | 12:06 PM

Success is less a point than a direction. In each morning service there is a confessional because Judaism assumes that not a day passes without sin. Was there nothing you said today, or failed to say, that was wrong? There are at least two ways to understand this daily indictment:...

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Why This Rabbi Went to Church Last Sunday

(163) Comments | Posted July 31, 2013 | 11:16 AM

Rabbis don't make it a practice to attend church. When I read that Rick and Kay Warren would be returning to Saddleback after their son Matthew's tragic suicide however, I resolved to go.

Rick had attended services at my synagogue several times and was even kind enough to contribute a...

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Living by Clicks

(2) Comments | Posted June 20, 2013 | 6:50 PM

For a long time now I have been urged to tweet. I was assured that the world was on Twitter. Indeed, after a few weeks I have found that it is so. There exist a diversity of voices speaking in blessed brevity. After a few years of building a FB...

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Caring Far Away?

(1) Comments | Posted June 13, 2013 | 5:07 PM

In Newtown millions of dollars have gone unspent. The Red Cross is holding over 100 million dollars of aid for relief for hurricane Sandy. Money is pouring in for aid in Oklahoma. In other words, at times we have given more than can be...

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Civility and Tolerance at Judaism's Holiest Site: An Open Letter From Los Angeles Rabbis

(54) Comments | Posted June 7, 2013 | 10:40 AM

This letter was jointly written by members of a task force on Jewish unity comprised of Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Progressive and Reconstructionist leaders. They are Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, Rabbi Denise Eger, Rabbi Ed Feinstein, Rabbi Morley Feinstein, Rabbi Laura Geller, Rabbi Judith HaLevy, Rabbi Eli Herscher, Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky, Rabbi...

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Why Can't We Worship Idols?

(119) Comments | Posted June 2, 2013 | 9:14 AM

The Hebrew Bible contains no prohibition on atheism, but is filled with prohibitions against idolatry. The Torah teaches that it is safer to worship no God than to worship the wrong one. So it is worth asking why? What exactly is the point of prohibiting idolatry?


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Is Richard Dawkins Really the World's Leading Intellectual?

(1643) Comments | Posted May 7, 2013 | 11:36 AM

Prospect magazine just named the 65 leading intellectuals in the world.

First on the list was Richard Dawkins, known for his work in biology and for his polemics against religion. Dawkins on biology is an elegant, lucid and even enchanting explicator of science. Dawkins on...

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The Warren Tragedy: Is This a Time for Cruelty?

(30) Comments | Posted April 15, 2013 | 4:17 PM

I have enormous respect for Rick Warren, despite our deep disagreements on certain matters both theological and social. At this moment, in particular, along with millions of others I feel tremendous sorrow, solidarity and compassion for him, for Kay and for their entire family.

Never were the words of...

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Who Is to Blame? God, Society or Me?

(2) Comments | Posted December 20, 2012 | 10:30 AM

When something terrible happens whom do we blame: God, society or ourselves?

There is a case for the guilt of each in turn. Blaming God makes sense if God initiated the whole mess. A rabbinic story compares Cain's murder of Abel to gladiators in a ring. When...

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Two Sukkot Mysteries Solved With Love

(0) Comments | Posted October 1, 2012 | 11:49 AM

Sukkot is a puzzling holiday. Just days after Yom Kippur we suddenly take to living in thatched huts. The usual explanation is that the holiday recalls the wandering of the Jews in the desert, and the sukkah represents either the booths that the Jews dwelt in as they traveled or...

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Yom Kippur: Dying So We May Live

(4) Comments | Posted September 24, 2012 | 1:47 PM

Everything that is born, dies. We acknowledge our mortality, but should we give it much thought? The Spanish philosopher de Unamuno wrote that the syllogism that used to be taught in logic classes: Socrates is a man; all men are mortal; therefore Socrates is mortal, sounds very different when rendered:...

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Benediction at the DNC: Making God Small

(18) Comments | Posted September 10, 2012 | 3:10 PM

Recently I delivered the benediction at the Democratic National Convention. Rabbis should bless gatherings that represent roughly half the nation, and I would as willingly have offered a blessing to the Republican convention. But it soon became clear that how hard it is for some to think beyond politics.

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The Talmud vs. Todd Akin

(38) Comments | Posted August 22, 2012 | 1:14 PM

Two thousand years ago, the Talmud noted (Avodah Zarah, 54b) that if a man has intercourse with his neighbor's wife, although justice would demand that she not get pregnant, "the world goes on its way."
You might see this as a lament, a protest or a...

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The Hate That Does Not Die

(193) Comments | Posted August 10, 2012 | 9:57 AM

The horrendous events in the Sikh Temple remind us that hatred is capable of bursting forth anywhere, at any time. Yet if one looks for a common denominator between the White Supremecist and the radical fundamentalist, between the communist oligarchy and the Fascist dictatorships, the binding thread is easy to...

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