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Torah

Meatless Monday: Kosher Vegan

Ellen Kanner | Posted 04.15.2014 | Green
Ellen Kanner

With Passover beginning tonight at sundown, I've been thinking about the intersection of vegan and kosher. Seems like they'd be good friends. Being ve...

Gaining Freedom: Fly and Sing Like a Bird!

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz | Posted 04.11.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

Today, many escape dark places in life but don't know where to turn for light. It is our job to help support their transition and be a walking light in their journey.

Can You Educate to Freedom?

Yaacov Cohen | Posted 04.10.2014 | Religion
Yaacov Cohen

'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.

Innermost Secret of Passover Seder: Charoset

Rabbi Arthur Waskow | Posted 04.08.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Arthur Waskow

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.

Jesus and Paul Chose to Die as Dedicated Jews--According to the New Testament

Bernard Starr | Posted 04.08.2014 | Religion
Bernard Starr

It's well documented that both Jesus and Paul were arrested and indicted on the charge of blasphemy against Judaism. By what authority did the Sanhedrin invoke these charges?

Human Boundaries and Inclusion

Rabbi Menachem Creditor | Posted 04.07.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Menachem Creditor

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

A Jewish Response to Noah

Marc Erlbaum | Posted 04.07.2014 | Religion
Marc Erlbaum

Hollywood, meantime, has started paying very careful attention to what the Christians are saying. Not because the industry has suddenly seen the light, but rather because they've seen the money.

Nisan: The (Re-)Beginning of Time

Daniel Raphael Silverstein | Posted 04.05.2014 | Religion
Daniel Raphael Silverstein

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.

A God Who Hates Bribes: A Religious Response to the McCutcheon Ruling

Rabbi Michael Knopf | Posted 04.04.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Michael Knopf

The impact of this phenomenon on politics and on our society is the same as bribery's. To argue otherwise reflects either a profound naïveté or the total divorcement of law from real life.

Empathy Activism (Metzora, Leviticus 14:1-15:33)

Rabbi Michael Adam Latz | Posted 04.01.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Michael Adam Latz

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.

Life on the Margins (Tazria, Leviticus 12:1-13:59)

Rabbi Niles Elliot Goldstein | Posted 03.25.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Niles Elliot Goldstein

There are modern-day 'metzoraim,' outliers who stand at the edge -- and not always as a result of their own willful choices. I have felt like a leper, someone living outside the comfort of the camp.

Learning to Live With Loss (Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47)

Sara Hurwitz | Posted 03.24.2014 | Religion
Sara Hurwitz

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.

Therapeutic Rituals in Leviticus Shed Light on the Abortion Debate

Howard J. Curzer | Posted 03.14.2014 | Religion
Howard J. Curzer

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.

Jewish Memory Week: A Tale in Three Parts (Zachor, Deuteronomy 25:17-19)

Yehuda Kurtzer | Posted 03.12.2014 | Religion
Yehuda Kurtzer

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!

Situating God: Revisiting Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1-5:26)

Erica Brown | Posted 03.06.2014 | Religion
Erica Brown

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.

The Cut That Divided Jews and Christians -- and the Mystery of the Missing Circumcision in Artworks

Bernard Starr | Posted 03.05.2014 | Religion
Bernard Starr

Art historians, curators, and critics offer extensive commentary on the minutest details and nuances of artworks but ignore the glaring and obvious falsification of biblical history.

Eternity in an Hour: In Tribute to Rabbi Joseph Ehrenkranz

Rabbi Daniel Cohen | Posted 02.28.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Daniel Cohen

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.

Blending Torah and Activism (Pekudey, Exodus 38:21-40-38)

Rabbi Arthur Green | Posted 02.25.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Arthur Green

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?

Four Levels of Societal Transformation (Vayakhel, Exodus 35:1-38:20)

Rabbi Lisa L. Goldstein | Posted 02.19.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Lisa L. Goldstein

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.

Frankenstein Meets the Bible

Rabbi Levi Welton | Posted 04.12.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Levi Welton

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.'

Leadership: Always for and Sometimes Within

Rabbi Menachem Creditor | Posted 04.09.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Menachem Creditor

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.

Here Are the Clothes, but Where Is the Emperor? (Torah in Memory of My Friends Matthew Eisenfeld and Sara Duker)

Rabbi Michael Bernstein | Posted 04.08.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Michael Bernstein

Few stories or their morals are more recognizable than that of the Emperor's New Clothes. However, the Torah reading this week, Tetzaveh, turns this classic story inside out.

Judaism and Charity

Zev Gotkin | Posted 04.01.2014 | Religion
Zev Gotkin

Charity is not Jewish. At the grave risk of exacerbating the unfounded, anti-Semitic stereotype that Jews are stingy I'm going to argue that the concept of giving charity does not exist in Judaism.

What the Bible Can Teach Our Leaders About Humility

Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, Ph.D. | Posted 03.31.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, Ph.D.

Just maybe our own leaders can take a clue from the leaders of the ancient world, and open their hearts and minds to embrace the power of humility and collaboration for the betterment of us all.

The Sabbath Commandment and the Minimum Wage

Howard J. Curzer | Posted 03.30.2014 | Religion
Howard J. Curzer

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.