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Jewish Wisdom

Preparing Our Seeds for a New Year

Daniel Raphael Silverstein | Posted 08.25.2014 | Religion
Daniel Raphael Silverstein

This week we will enter the Hebrew month of Ellul, a time traditionally dedicated to preparation for the re-birthing that waits us in one month - Rosh Hashana, the New Year.

From Enemy to Friend, Book Review

Ron Kronish | Posted 08.05.2014 | Religion
Ron Kronish

This is a deeply religious and spiritual book, well grounded in both theory and practice, and deeply rooted in Judaism as well as other contemporary religious thinkers, such as Rev. Martin Luther King, Gandhi and others.

Leaving Egypt

Rabbi David A. Teutsch | Posted 06.09.2014 | Religion
Rabbi David A. Teutsch

Pesach is a holiday that is mightily concerned with getting rid of hametz, leavening of all sorts, and with food preparation. Someone recently called it an obsessive-compulsive's delight.

Keeping Time, Seeking Meaning: Celebrating According to the Calendar

Rabbi David A. Teutsch | Posted 03.11.2014 | Religion
Rabbi David A. Teutsch

For an increasing number of Americans, even these holidays have eroded into family gatherings that no longer connect strongly to the spiritual meaning that they have in the religious cultures in which they developed.

The First Job Interview in Human History

Yaacov Cohen | Posted 01.25.2014 | Religion
Yaacov Cohen

The story of Joseph inspires us with important advice: during a job interview, be yourself, express your own core values, and explain how they will drive your work performance.

The Best Jewish Holiday

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson | Posted 11.16.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson

For more than a week, we continue to celebrate one holiday after another, each with its own set of rituals, songs, and customs. Exhausted by the holy days already behind us, and living in a culture that distrusts ritual in the first place, what can this frenetic activity mean to us?

So What Do Jews Do on Yet Another Day Off?

Galit Breen | Posted 11.06.2013 | Religion
Galit Breen

Tashlik, the casting away of regrets, is by far our favorite new year tradition. It surpasses the big meal and the white clothes, the honey cake and the days off from school. I wouldn't have it any other way. Here's why.

Jews vs. Muslims

Rabbi Levi Welton | Posted 10.19.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Levi Welton

When we can start envisioning a world where we care for more than just our pack or our flock, then we can truly enter a messianic utopia of peace where "the wolf shall lie with the lamb."

Three Questions You Need to Ask Yourself

Rabbi Evan Moffic | Posted 10.14.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Evan Moffic

This month Jews around the world are preparing for the most sacred days of the year. It is a month devoted traditionally to reflection and self-examination.Asking the following questions, first prosed 2,000 years ago, give us a way to start.

Why Is the 'Tinderbox West' the New Normal?

Rabbi Arthur Waskow | Posted 10.02.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Arthur Waskow

In Arizona a few weeks ago, 19 highly skilled firefighters were killed by a fire in what the New York Times called "Deadly New Normal: A Tinderbox West."

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

Rabbi Shaul Wertheimer | Posted 09.21.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Shaul Wertheimer

While numerous joyous events took place on Tu B'Av, it may seem a bit strange that our sages relate that no other day even comes close.

A Precondition for Intrafaith Engagement

Benjamin Barer | Posted 08.19.2013 | Religion
Benjamin Barer

We must make the compromises needed to ensure that we can laugh and cry together. I mean this literally and figuratively: we must become comfortable enough in each other's worlds to attend each other's funerals and weddings.

Let's Choose Certainty And Life

Rabbi Aaron Alexander | Posted 08.14.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Aaron Alexander

One wonders how the specious claims of the no-control gun advocates -- so filled with uncertainty and conjecture -- stands against the certainty of any human lives being saved. If this is a clash of simple values, then I choose life.

War: What Is It Good For? Not For The Sake of Heaven

Rabbi Michael Bernstein | Posted 08.11.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Michael Bernstein

Our tradition values peace above all things, and yet, were it not for the willingness to take arms and fight in 1944, there would have been no way to thwart the Nazis and most likely no Israel to defend in 1967. How can we understand such moments?

Serpents, Inner Demons And Spiritual Renewal

Rabbi Niles Elliot Goldstein | Posted 08.11.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Niles Elliot Goldstein

The tale of the copper serpent is not simply about the destructive power of sin; it is about our capacity to grow, and ultimately triumph, in spite of it.

The God I Don't Believe In

Rabbi Richard A. Block | Posted 08.10.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Richard A. Block

I don't know if God is aware of us, hears our prayers or answers them. As a teacher once told me when I asked if he believed in God, "I live in the tension between believing and not believing."

Mandela, Lincoln And The Tutsis: A Future Built On Forgiveness

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz | Posted 08.06.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

Forgiveness is hard, and sometimes seemingly impossible. However, before we decide that we cannot forgive, we should consider the price of not seeking forgiveness: Without it, there is no future.

Are We Afraid Of Talking About G-d?

Elad Nehorai | Posted 08.04.2013 | Religion
Elad Nehorai

Most of us consider G-d a four letter word. Something to be avoided at all costs, lest we be associated with the crazies and the terrorists and the preachers. When I started my journey into becoming a religious Jew, I figured this was finally going to change. It didn't.

Why Can't We Worship Idols?

Rabbi David Wolpe | Posted 08.02.2013 | Religion
Rabbi David Wolpe

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.

Spelling Community (Or Kehila And The Bee)

Rabbi Michael Bernstein | Posted 07.31.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Michael Bernstein

What makes a community is a constant recognition of how each individual acts in accord with an investment in the success of our endeavors, the valuing of our principles and, most importantly, the wellbeing of each other, whether in the national spectacle of spelling prowess or in the communities to which we belong.

Have A Little Faith

Ron Kronish | Posted 07.31.2013 | Religion
Ron Kronish

While Mitch Albom's "Have a Little Faith" is a book about two people of two very different faiths, it was written, as the author tells us at the beginning of the book, "in the hope that all faiths can find something universal in this story."

Jewish Lists: What They Say About Us

Rabbi Yonah Bookstein | Posted 07.29.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

Whether we are aware of it or not, published Jewish lists have been around at least since the sixth century when the scholars and leaders of the Jewish community were in exile in Babylonia.

Are Gentiles Cool?

Rabbi Levi Welton | Posted 07.28.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Levi Welton

When I hear the word "non-Jew," all I know is that the person in reference is not of the Jewish faith or culture. He could be of any other background, but this expression strips his identity down into one faceless lump of "gentile." Not a spiritually mature way of speaking about other people.

Welcoming The Dalai Lama To New Orleans

Rodger Kamenetz | Posted 07.17.2013 | Religion
Rodger Kamenetz

In the midst of our wreckage that I speak to you, both as a Jew and as a New Orleanian, because survival is not just a matter of urban planning, or of financial aid, or willfulness. It is something deeper. It is of the soul.

The Shavuot Festival Mystery And Its Business Implication

Yaacov Cohen | Posted 07.14.2013 | Religion
Yaacov Cohen

According to Jewish tradition, the upcoming festival of Shavuot is the anniversary of the giving of the Torah and the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. Oddly though, we find no clear link in the Bible between the Shavuot festival and the giving of the Torah.