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Rabbi Sid Schwarz
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Rabbi Sid Schwarz is a senior fellow at Clal: The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership where he directs the Clergy Leadership Incubator (CLI), a program that trains rabbis to be visionary spiritual leaders. He is also the director of the Rene Cassin Fellowship Program, a year long fellowship on Judaism and human rights for young professionals with hubs in New York, London and Jerusalem.

Sid founded and led PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values for 21 years. He is also the founding rabbi of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda, MD where he continues to teach and lead services. Dr. Schwarz holds a Ph.D. in Jewish history and is the author of two groundbreaking books--Finding a Spiritual Home: How a New Generation of Jews Can Transform the American Synagogue (Jewish Lights, 2000) and Judaism and Justice: The Jewish Passion to Repair the World (Jewish Lights, 2006).

Sid was awarded the prestigious Covenant Award for his pioneering work in the field of Jewish education and was named by Newsweek as one of the 50 most influential rabbis in North America. Sid's newest book is Jewish Megatrends: Charting the Course of the American Jewish Future (Jewish Lights, 2013).

Entries by Rabbi Sid Schwarz

A Jewish Approach to the Differently-abled

(0) Comments | Posted February 27, 2014 | 4:30 PM


I did not know a thing about Jewish Disability Awareness Month (JDAM) until a member of my synagogue called and told me that she was going to make it happen at our congregation. As the founding rabbi of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist...

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A Rabbinic Call for Human Rights

(42) Comments | Posted January 28, 2013 | 10:41 AM

Last week I was one of several rabbis from a range of religious denominations meeting with a senior Israeli diplomat at the Israeli Embassy to deliver a letter asking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel plans to construct a new settlement in the E1 zone. Such a new settlement would...

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Curb Your Appetite: Numbers 8:1-12:16

(6) Comments | Posted June 5, 2012 | 12:19 PM

There are few activities in life that have more real and symbolic importance than food. Whether we talk about the prevalence of hunger in the world (13 percent of the world's population by U.N. estimates), the epidemic of obesity in America,...

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An Abrahamic Peace Strategy For The Middle East

(99) Comments | Posted March 9, 2012 | 4:02 PM

Just this week, President Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and some 13,000 pro-Israel activists gathered in Washington for the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference. Rather than focusing on the stalled Middle East peace process, the conversation focused on how best to stop Iran's...

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'One Jewish People' Takes Work

(9) Comments | Posted June 6, 2011 | 12:05 PM

I had the privilege of being one of 120 participants at a unique conference that took place in mid-May. Siach (conversation) was a gathering of Jewish social justice and environment professionals from Israel, Europe and the United States. Funded by the Commission of the Jewish People of the UJA Federation...

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Are Synagogues Still Relevant?

(60) Comments | Posted March 26, 2011 | 9:31 PM

The recent release of a draft strategic plan for the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) is simply the latest indicator of the challenge facing non-Orthodox Judaism in the United States. The USCJ press release was accompanied by data showing that the movement has lost 14 percent of its affiliated...

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Finding Faith, Doing Service in Haiti

(46) Comments | Posted February 19, 2011 | 9:58 PM

On the first anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, I travelled to the Leogane region of Haiti, the center of the earthquake's devastation. I went as the guest of an Israeli NGO called Tevel b'Tzedek (The Earth, in Justice) founded in 2005 by Rabbi Micah Odenheimer to promote social and environmental...

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Israel's Legitimacy: A Prophetic Strategy

(279) Comments | Posted February 10, 2011 | 8:12 PM

Editor's note: This column originally appeared in the New York Jewish Week on Feb. 1.

Even as many sectors of the American Jewish community struggle to return to pre-crash
contribution levels, the Israel advocacy sector is booming once again. With challenges to Israel's legitimacy coming from both outside and...

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Hanukkah and Interfaith Dialogue: Increasing Our Shared Light

(4) Comments | Posted December 4, 2010 | 4:09 PM

On the first night of Hanukkah this year, I found myself in an unusual place. I was supposed to be at a Jewish communal event hosted by Israel's Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren. But at the last minute I was asked by the Indonesian Ambassador, Dino Patti Djalal,...

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The Jewish Mandate for Advocacy, Service and Repairing the World

(41) Comments | Posted November 8, 2010 | 7:47 PM

Editors note: The largest gathering of the organized Jewish community is taking place over the next three days. It is the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America taking place in New Orleans. A major emphasis of the gathering this week is community service and delegates, both young...

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Jon Stewart: We Need More than Amplification

(79) Comments | Posted November 1, 2010 | 11:24 AM

I am a sucker for a meaningful gathering on the mall in Washington. Every year I come to the Fourth of July concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol and never fail to get choked up during the playing of the national anthem against the backdrop of the Capitol...

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The Necessity of Jewish Values in the Contemporary World

(268) Comments | Posted October 27, 2010 | 8:45 PM

At the dawn of the 21st century, the liberal, universalistic ethic is being challenged by many thoughtful people. The contemporary world has been shocked by the sudden surge of radical Islamic fundamentalism which sees Western, liberal democracy as an evil, surpassed only by the evil of Zionism, Israel and the...

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Food Fight: A Kol Nidre Call for Sustainable Consumption

(24) Comments | Posted September 23, 2010 | 4:35 PM

What follows is a sermon that I delivered at Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda, Md. at its 2010 evening Yom Kippur service (Kol Nidre). I am Adat Shalom's founding rabbi.

You may think it odd, maybe even cruel, to give a sermon about food on Yom Kippur --...

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Genesis 22: Abraham's "Return" and the Binding of Isaac

(387) Comments | Posted September 4, 2010 | 7:53 PM

Editor's Note: Huffington Post Religion has launched a scripture commentary/reflection series, which brings together leading voices from different religious traditions to offer their wisdom on selected religious texts. We are pleased to announce a series of reflections on scripture associated with the Jewish High Holidays with reflections by...

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Youth, Religion and Social Responsibility: Part II

(34) Comments | Posted August 7, 2010 | 10:39 PM

For more than 30 years I have been developing programs that help young people see new relevance in their respective religious traditions. Most of that work took place under the aegis of the PANIM Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values, an organization that I founded in 1988. In this, the...

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Embracing Israel, Justice and Peace

(331) Comments | Posted July 23, 2010 | 10:09 PM

Jews are people of history. It is not possible to make any progress towards peace without fully recognizing why Israel exists and what the state means to Jews. Each of us owns a piece of this narrative. Here is mine:

  • 1966: My first trip to Israel as a teenager. My...
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Youth, Religion and Social Responsibility: Part I

(286) Comments | Posted June 8, 2010 | 5:06 PM

For more than thirty years I have been developing programs that help young people see new relevance in their respective religious traditions. Most of that work took place under the aegis of the PANIM Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values, an organization that I founded in 1988. In this and...

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Israel Wrestling

(1122) Comments | Posted May 19, 2010 | 7:41 PM

I have long straddled two worlds with regard to diaspora engagement with Zionism and the state of Israel. As the founder/president of PANIM, an organization that has trained tens of thousands of American Jewish teens to pursue social and political activism on behalf of the Jewish people and the world...

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