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Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz
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Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz is the executive director of the Valley Beit Midrash, the founder and president of Uri L'Tzedek, the founder and CEO of The Shamayim V'Aretz Institute and the author of Jewish Ethics and Social Justice: A Guide for the 21st Century. Newsweek named Rav Shmuly as one of the top 50 rabbis in America.

Entries by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

A Plea for the Citizens of Syria

(1) Comments | Posted October 1, 2015 | 2:06 PM

"Please. Please..."

Through tears and desperation, these were the words of a Syrian boy stopped by Hungarian border guards as his family tried to escape the horrors of the Syrian conflict and reach the safety of Europe. The manifold atrocities unleashed by the evils of the Assad government, and...

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Torturing Animals! For Eye Liner?

(3) Comments | Posted August 21, 2015 | 1:11 PM

One of the most heinous acts of animal cruelty is the egregious use of cosmetic ingredient testing on innocent creatures. The procedures are blood-curdling: force-feeding to the point of burst, irritants rubbed into skin and eye without anesthetic, and swallowing chemicals to the point of "lethal dose." And once testing...

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The Forgotten Story of Cesar Chavez and the Jews

(15) Comments | Posted May 12, 2015 | 6:37 PM

Whenever the cause of Jewish social justice comes up, a lot of ink is dedicated to the life and actions of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. Whether he was marching alongside Martin Luther King or protesting the Vietnam War, Heschel's work and erudition remains the standard for Jewish activists to emulate....

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Mandate to Stun Animals After Kosher Slaughter

(23) Comments | Posted May 4, 2015 | 12:55 PM

As an Orthodox rabbi, I am in spirit and in practice committed completely to, and a fierce defender of, kashrut, the corpus of ancient Jewish laws guiding food consumption. I am proud that the rich tradition of kashrut signifies an uninterrupted practice spanning generations and fostering elevated moral and spiritual...

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Factory Farming: Was the World Created for Me?

(1) Comments | Posted March 17, 2015 | 3:05 PM

Today, a great majority of people recognize that the destructive factory farming industry seriously harms the environment while regulatory bodies struggle to contain the mounting damage. Perhaps people take for granted that safety measures, so vital to prosperity and posterity, are maintained at a satisfactory level. Transportation and fuel industries...

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John Lewis: A True Superhero

(2) Comments | Posted February 4, 2015 | 6:43 AM

"What do you want?" says the police officer. "F'eedom," replies the little girl, holding a sign that reads "Can A Man Love God and Hate His Brothers".

Photo by Eric Etheridge

There are the heroes we always recognize in the comics: they have...

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Our Five Deaths

(1) Comments | Posted January 29, 2015 | 7:50 PM


In the 16th century, French philosopher Michel de Montaigne wrote: "To begin depriving life of its greatest advantage over us, let us deprive death of its strangeness, let us frequent it, let us get used to it.... A man who has learned how...

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Judaism and Reincarnation

(0) Comments | Posted January 26, 2015 | 1:12 PM

''If I shall exist eternally, how shall I exist tomorrow?'' -- Franz Kafka

While more associated with Eastern religions, the notion of reincarnation is not foreign to Judaism. Indeed, through the centuries, the topic has been earnestly debated among the great rabbis. Some were adamant that, as a matter...

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Holistic Prayer: Rabbi Avi Weiss is A Prayer!

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2015 | 4:08 PM

The Baal Shem Tov taught that before one could pray with love towards God, one must feel love for all others in one's presence. God is only interested in prayer where one feels compassion and love for those all around. Rabbi Avi Weiss is the contemporary embodiment of this Torah...

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The Torah Is Pro-Life and Pro-Choice

(1) Comments | Posted December 22, 2014 | 5:23 PM

This brief essay is bound to make no one happy. It is not meant to. Nor is it meant to place judgment on anyone's leaning regarding a very volatile political issue in American society. Rather, I'd like to take the effort to launch a serious conversation about abortion rights in...

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Has Our Sports Culture Gone Overboard?

(4) Comments | Posted December 22, 2014 | 1:47 PM

I have been a competitive athlete and sports fan all my life; however, upon reflection in emerging adulthood, my consumption and participation began to rapidly evolve.

For humans to flourish, we must grow intellectually, spiritually and emotionally. Through a myriad of educational and cultural opportunities, the avenues for self-growth...

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Forbidden to Feed the Homeless?

(1) Comments | Posted November 13, 2014 | 1:13 PM

How is it now a crime to help the poor? Recently, Arnold Abbott in Fort Lauderdale was arrested twice for publicly helping feed the vulnerable in his community and now faces jail time for giving food to homeless people. This new law bans public meal-sharing. Arnold...

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Should We Be Electing Our Judges?

(0) Comments | Posted September 17, 2014 | 1:02 PM

When the idea of electing judges was first introduced, it was seen as a way to avoid corruption. Today it has the opposite effect.

A poll taken in Texas found that 83 percent percent of Texans believe that campaign contributions influence judicial decisions and 48 percent of judges agreed....

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Can Human Dignity Be Lost? A Case Against Torture

(1) Comments | Posted August 7, 2014 | 3:53 PM

Social dignity can be lost by abandoning one's essential humanity, but human dignity (kavod habriot) cannot be lost, since it is an endowment, not an achievement. Human beings maintain free will and the basic human faculty for the potential actualization of moral conscience and spiritual consciousness. Whether one is a...

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It Is the Responsibility of Religion to Inspire Global Solidarity

(3) Comments | Posted July 28, 2014 | 12:16 PM

Consider some of our greatest global challenges today: millions of Syrians suffering under the oppressive Assad regime; the terror of Hamas and the challenges of peace; millions suffering alone from painful illness without access to adequate health care, often due merely to an inability to afford care; Nigerian girls kidnapped...

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Religion and State: School Vouchers and Clergy Parsonage

(0) Comments | Posted July 18, 2014 | 10:02 AM

For a number of years now, I have been privileged to attend the White House Chanukah party in the presence the President. Each year, I am so deeply inspired that I live in a country that strongly supports religious commitment while protecting the rights of religious minorities from any possible...

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A Year of Service for All Americans

(2) Comments | Posted July 10, 2014 | 1:38 PM

Public service needs to be a fundamental aspect of American life. To achieve this, a norm of at least a year of public service should be standardized. It should not be required but highly incentivized, and normalized to such an extent (through education, work and social life) that it becomes...

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Malaria: We Must Win in Our Lifetime!

(2) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 5:50 PM

What if it was your baby without a mosquito net?

I was always one of the few fortunate ones who had vaccination and a malaria net during my many hot buggy nights in rural villages in Africa.


One of the most...

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Missing People: The Pain of Waiting

(0) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 4:04 PM

Imagine sweating through sleepless nights never knowing if your child would ever return home.

The recent kidnapping of three teenagers in Israel by terrorists has shaken the Jewish world. The international campaign slogan, "Bring Back our Boys" was modeled after the "Bring Back our Girls" campaign that was popularized...

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Rabbi Telushkin's Newest Book on the Lubavitcher Rebbe: A Testament to Greatness

(0) Comments | Posted May 30, 2014 | 12:51 PM

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin is one of the great Jewish thinkers of our time. In addition to being a prolific author -- the Rabbi has published over 15 books running the gamut on Jewish topics, from history to ethics -- and a dynamic speaker, Rabbi Telushkin is a thoughtful scholar. I...

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