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Tamar Frankiel, Ph.D.
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Dr. Tamar Frankiel was appointed President of the Academy for Jewish Religion, California in January 2013. She previously served as Provost and Professor of Comparative Religion.

Dr. Frankiel recieved her Ph.D. in History of Religions from the University of Chicago. She has taught at Claremont School of Theology, Stanford and Princeton Universities, and UC Berkeley and Riverside.

She is the author of four books on Jewish mysticism and spiritual practice, including "The Gift of Kabbalah," and one on Jewish women’s issues, "The Voice of Sarah: Feminine Spirituality and Traditional Judaism." She has also authored two books and numerous scholarly articles on religion in America, as well as a widely used textbook on Christianity.

Entries by Tamar Frankiel, Ph.D.

Friends in High Places: The Jewish Story of Purim

(0) Comments | Posted March 2, 2015 | 5:12 PM

There is a certain irony in the media and political furor about the upcoming speech of the Israeli prime minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, to the U.S. Congress. His visit falls just before the Jewish holiday of Purim, a "minor" Jewish holiday in that it does not involve cessation of work like...

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Religion Is Fair Game -- But We Have to Rewrite the Rules

(4) Comments | Posted January 13, 2015 | 11:18 AM

Some people say we shouldn't satirize religion. I disagree. Satire, an ancient genre that uses humor to reveal the perceived weaknesses of a person, idea, or belief, should be a welcome addition to any public debate -- particularly if it is humorous more than bitter or mean-spirited. Of course, it...

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Reset Your Clock

(0) Comments | Posted March 25, 2014 | 6:02 PM

Most of us groaned as daylight savings time was announced: We would lose an hour of sleep! It hardly seems the best way to welcome the beauties of the spring season. One of the problems, in my opinion, is that it is totally secular, unconnected to our feelings for the...

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Giving in to Thanksgivukkah

(0) Comments | Posted November 22, 2013 | 8:34 AM

Skeptic that I am, when I first heard that Hanukkah would begin this year on Thanksgiving, I never thought it would interest anyone except calendar freaks. Lunar and solar cycles, each having its own permutations, and Thanksgiving being calculated not by Gregorian date but as a Fourth Thursday?

But Thanksgivukkah...

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What's In Our Eyes?

(0) Comments | Posted September 13, 2013 | 2:03 PM

A friend told me a peculiar dream the other day. She was looking in the mirror and noticed a speck of something in her eye. At first she thought it was just the normal debris of sleep, but then she saw it was black. She carefully took it out and...

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Birthday of the World

(0) Comments | Posted August 27, 2013 | 1:25 PM

On September 4th, Jews will begin celebrating Rosh Hashanah, which in the traditional liturgy is called "birthday of the world." Actually, in the traditional view of the calendar, it is not the birthday of the universe, which was created in the preceding "six day" process, but the birthday of Adam...

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The Aftermath

(5) Comments | Posted April 19, 2013 | 12:53 PM

In Judaism, we read a portion (parsha) of the Torah every Sabbath for the entire year. Sometimes, depending on the Jewish calendar, we read a double portion as is the case this week when we read Acharei Mot and Kedoshim. The pairing of these words, can be read as: "After...

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(Re)telling God's Story

(1) Comments | Posted March 20, 2013 | 12:49 PM

On the night of March 25, a question will be asked in Jewish homes all over the world. With family and friends sitting around a festive table marked by the absence of bread, the youngest person will sing: "Why is this night different from all other nights?"

The day...

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The Pope's New Clothes

(2) Comments | Posted March 18, 2013 | 1:20 PM

As Jorge Bergoglio begins his new life as Pope Francis, we join in celebration with the Roman Catholic Church in the election of the first Latin American, first Jesuit pontiff. With the selection of the name Francis (in reference to St. Francis of Assisi) it appears Bergoglio seeks...

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Cast Your Lot With Goodness: A 2,300-Year-Old Lesson for Today

(9) Comments | Posted February 21, 2013 | 4:31 PM

A high-ranking Persian official vilifies the Jewish people and seeks to destroy them. Old news, you might say, and understandably so. Who hasn't heard about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's calling the Holocaust "a mythical claim" and asserting that "the uniform shout of the Iranian nation is forever 'Death to Israel!'"...

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A Woman's Dreams -- in the World of Rabbis

(1) Comments | Posted January 28, 2013 | 11:04 AM

Jewish unity is my eternal dream. And not only mine -- many Jews look back with longing to the moment of camping at Mount Sinai, about to receive the Torah, as the time when the Jewish people were like "one person with one heart" (commentary by Rashi on Exodus 19:2)....

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Help America Heal Itself

(5) Comments | Posted October 7, 2011 | 1:26 PM

Collectively, we've been through a lot in the last 10 years. The decade's pain began with the wound of 9/11, which shook our confidence in our relationship to the rest of the world, in our sense of power and our desire to be on good terms with others.

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