The rabbis of old were interested in the why: Why was it necessary for the Israelites to develop their peoplehood in the crucible of slavery? "Django Unchained" is essentially Quentin Tarantino's exploration of exactly the same question.
All of the pro-Israel, pro-peace activists and thinkers I know are under constant barrage of attempts to prove that they are faking their authentic and deep connection to Israel, that they are somehow the enemy itself.
In the U.S., the debate about same-sex marriages has created a dividing line in the so-called culture wars, but in Jerusalem, where Orthodox Jews do not accept homosexuality, it feels like America, circa 1952.
We all like to be loved. We all desire to be admired. But we Rabbis must resist the urge for mainstream approval and promote the interests of our people at whatever price and serve as lights unto the nations at whatever cost.
The days of the rabbi as a weighty moral conscience are behind us. The rabbi as irritant has been replaced with rabbi as ego-massager. The rabbi's the with-it guy with whom you watch the ball game. Yep, that's one swell guy, our rabbi.
The high rate of intermarriage can be seen as the defining opportunity to transform the Jewish community from an insular, tribal entity to a diverse and expanding peoplehood based on key common causes and beliefs.