'Education' and 'freedom' may seem like somewhat contradictory concepts. In some modern societies, education is looked as an integral component -- giving people liberty, autonomy and independence through the power and informed choices that come with knowledge.
There it sits on the Seder plate: charoset, a delicious paste of chopped nuts, chopped fruits, spices, and wine. So the question would seem obvious: Why is there charoset on the Seder plate? That's the most secret Question at the Seder.
The ethical imperative of religious inclusion has its basis in the powerful role granted to the Kohein in the Torah, and to clergy and lay-leadership in today's religious communities. Outsiders are created by our categorization processes. Exclusion is a choice, not a mitzvah
This first month, Nisan, is an exciting, auspicious and joyful time. The word for month, Chodesh, itself means "new," and since Nisan is the beginning of a new cycle of months, it begins a new round of newness, if you will.
In our collective grief, we rabbis came together, raised more than half a million dollars and raised the profile of paltry funding for children's cancer research. Men and women alike. All rabbis. More than 80 of us. Now bald. Symbols of hope and grief, empathy and activism.
We cannot hide from reality forever. We cannot occupy the role of Yosef Ha-Kohen indefinitely. For some, the veil behind which they stand might be the law, but for others it could be any number of behaviors.
The fact that a fetus is inside of Jane does not mean that Jane is morally responsible for the fetus. If she has become pregnant through rape or contraception failure, she has made no promise to the fetus, and so abortion would not be promise-breaking. Abortion is not wrong in either case.
Purim is not one story of Jewish memory; it is the story of Jewish memory as a perpetually evolving, perpetually animating impulse. How brilliant is our tradition for giving us this Memory Week, with its multiple narrations of the same Amalek!
If a sacrifice can take the place of a relationship, then the giving may not be a manifestation of a relationship but a replacement for it. If a sacrifice can bring about atonement, then perhaps the giver will repeat the offense.
This has been the hardest eulogy for me to write. I cried almost every step of the way. I miss him greatly. I know we all do. His smile, sense of humor, warmth, wisdom and vision. We have lost a giant.
What should I do with my life? I love studying and teaching Torah, but I need to be more of an activist, to do more to save the world. Cultivating the spirit is important, but is there time to do it while the world is on fire?
Criminality is not unique to New York in the 21st century. However, we can glean from our texts that living a religiously committed life means working on four levels of transformation: the personal, interpersonal, institutional, and societal.
Although the Talmud may have spoke about Golems, Isaiah spoke about 'wearying' the people with 'frankincense.' The full verse reads as follows: 'You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings, nor honored me with your sacrifices.'
It is a true ongoing test of a leader to stand always for and sometimes within their community, judging each moment and determining an appropriate response, acting with devotion and temerity, even and especially when it is uncomfortable.
Contemporary folks take the Sabbath commandment to liberate us from the stresses and timetables of modern life so that we can seek inner peace, spirituality, harmony with nature, etc. But the Bible offers different rationales.