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Rabbi Michael Bernstein
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Rabbi Michael Bernstein is spiritual leader of Congregation Gesher L’Torah in Alpharetta, Ga. He received his ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1999 and served as the senior Rabbi at Congregation Bnai Jacob in Longmeadow, MA from 1999-2004, and at Congregation Beth Am Israel in Penn Valley, Pa., from 2004-2008.

Entries by Rabbi Michael Bernstein

Priceless Light: Responding to the Killings of Ali Saad Dawabshe and Shira Banki

(0) Comments | Posted August 6, 2015 | 12:13 PM

An infant and a sixteen year old. One just a sliver of light with the promise to grow. One shining with the light of youth, passion and a desire to repair the world. A Palestinian Muslim and a Jewish Israeli. Shira Banki was stabbed along with five other...

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G*d's Burning Questions: A Tribute to Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu Salha, and Razan Abu Salha

(8) Comments | Posted February 13, 2015 | 1:55 PM

On Tuesday, February 10th, Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammed Abu Salha, and Razan Mohammed Abu Salha were shot to death by a man living next door to them at an apartment complex in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Because they were observant Muslims and the man who allegedly murdered them had expressed...

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Never Again Must Begin With Never Forget

(0) Comments | Posted January 29, 2015 | 3:21 PM

Seventy years ago, the Soviet Red Army reached the Polish town of Oswiecim and broke through the gates of the camp that would become synonymous with the most heinous crimes of the Nazi genocide. Every year, on January 27, the day that Auschwitz was liberated and the magnitude of its...

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Send in the Clowns: A Rabbi's Take on Charlie Hebdo

(0) Comments | Posted January 16, 2015 | 11:25 AM

It is a very serious time in France, especially for the Jewish community. And yet, at the center of the storm is a very unserious entity, the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo who may have become best known for caricatures of Muhammed (venerated as a prophet by many throughout the world),...

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A Rabbi's Thoughts on A Christmas Carol... No, Really

(0) Comments | Posted December 24, 2014 | 2:11 PM

Yes, it seems like a strange topic for a rabbi. The ultimate violation of "Stay in Your Lane." But this year as the eighth candle of Hanukkah burns down and the calendar moves to the 25th of December, I find myself thinking of Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol.
...

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The Breath of Dignity

(0) Comments | Posted December 5, 2014 | 4:12 PM

Being Jewish is a way of being human. Our story does not begin with Abraham, but with the creation of Adam, described at first as male and female and bearing the stamp that would be found upon every one of Adam's descendants throughout all time: the image of G*d, tzelem...

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Noah in the Time of Ebola

(0) Comments | Posted October 23, 2014 | 8:32 PM

One chapter in the story of Ebola may be coming to an end as those in Dallas who had been singled out to be monitored after contact or potential contact with the stricken Thomas Eric Duncan now are cleared. The two Dallas nurses who have contracted the disease seem to...

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The Prisoner Can Not Release Himself From Prison: Thoughts on the Passing of Robin Williams

(1) Comments | Posted August 15, 2014 | 3:22 PM

The death of Robin Williams by apparent suicide has touched a raw nerve. Few have embodied so much manic energy while at the same time possessing such a laser focus on profound truths. In addition to countless unforgettable moments from film, TV and stand-up comedy Robin Williams has left a...

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Building Trust in a Broken World: In Tribute to Lives Cut Cruelly Short

(0) Comments | Posted July 9, 2014 | 2:28 PM

A car slows down as it comes to the bus shelter.  It has Israeli plates and the sound of Hebrew can be heard from the station on the radio.  The three boys, looking for a ride home from their yeshiva near the city of Hebron, get in.   Getting into...

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Taking and Giving: Responding to the Kidnapping of Three Young Israelis

(0) Comments | Posted June 23, 2014 | 9:46 PM

For many in Israel, and among those who are attuned to Israeli life, the kidnapping of three teenagers over one week ago tore open a hole that cannot yet be sewn back. While there is a flurry of activity, from military operations to press conferences, prayer vigils to hashtag campaigns,...

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Remembrance Is the Beginning of the Task

(0) Comments | Posted May 27, 2014 | 1:48 PM

In Israel, Memorial Day (Yom HaZikaron), leaves few untouched. A siren goes off, the country comes to a halt and even drivers stop their cars and stand at solemn attention. The day is one for public ceremonies and private reflections taking place at graveside or at small monuments erected in...

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A Time of Vigilance in the Ukraine

(0) Comments | Posted April 18, 2014 | 9:14 PM

In the last 24 hours there has been a flurry of reports about the distribution of leaflets written in Russian that warn Jews in the eastern Ukrainian province of Donetsk that they are guilty of supporting rebellion and must register with with pro-Russia authorities. Since the story broke, there have...

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Why On This Night Do We Ask So Many Questions?

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 11:08 AM

Perhaps no religious occasion is associated with asking questions as is the Passover Seder, the ritual retelling of the Israelite's Exodus from Egypt by means of symbolic foods and thematic conversation. At this gathering a prime role is traditionally played by the youngest present who leads the way with what...

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The Bald Truth

(0) Comments | Posted April 7, 2014 | 12:14 PM

George Carlin, one of my favorite comedians, was known for his obsession with language and his uncensored, incisive take on the way language can shield us from facing reality and allow us to hide from hypocrisy in society and our own lives. When reports of the shooting at Fort Hood...

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Strange Fire and the Big Bang: Religion Science and the Cosmos

(41) Comments | Posted March 24, 2014 | 10:43 AM

With all the big stories being covered by the news in recent days, one news item out of the South Pole may have fallen through the cracks. However, this item may turn out to be one of the most significant moments in several decades and mark a major step toward...

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Gathering in Kiev for the Sake of Heaven

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 9:39 AM

While the world officially gathered in Sochi Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics, much of the world is focused 600 miles to the northwest on the central square of Kiev, capital of the Ukraine. Blood, fire, and tears marred the once beautiful Maidan as the death toll rose, even as reports...

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The Worth of Michael Sam

(0) Comments | Posted February 13, 2014 | 10:23 AM

Many barriers facing gays and lesbians have fallen recently and many more seem poised to fall.  A country in which it was commonplace to find laws forbidding particular, consensual sexual acts between adults has watched as more and more states have seen marriage between same-sex partners recognized and protected.  It...

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Here Are the Clothes, but Where Is the Emperor? (Torah in Memory of My Friends Matthew Eisenfeld and Sara Duker)

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2014 | 8:51 AM

Few stories or their morals are more recognizable than that of the Emperor's New Clothes. The clever weavers trick the foolish monarch into thinking they have made him a wondrous suit, only visible to those who are of sufficient intelligence and skill. So he moves around the kingdom completely naked...

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Richard Sherman and Seeing More Than Skin Deep: A Different Take on Judging the Content of Character

(0) Comments | Posted January 23, 2014 | 1:44 PM

When you look at Richard Sherman what do you see?

This question would probably not have made sense to most people before last Sunday night when Sherman, a cornerback for the now Super Bowl bound Seattle Seahawks, followed up a spectacular play on the football field with the spectacle...

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Saving Time

(0) Comments | Posted December 27, 2013 | 11:05 AM

Time may not be on our side, but its always on our mind.  What lament is more widespread then "I wish I had more time..."  What fantasy more compelling then the ability to travel through time, whether to the distant future, buried past, or to get another crack at something...

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