Prayer, Good Deeds and Sacrifices? Explaining The Role of Sacrifices in Judaism


The most read book in human history, the Bible, spends much of its time concerned with the construction of a special sanctuary, a Tabernacle, in which animal (and grain) sacrifices were performed regularly. We may have grown up on the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah and the Great Deluge, the Twelve Tribes and the Exodus from Egypt but the majority of the text of the Five Books is dedicated to a set of rituals that have not been performed in the last two thousand years.How do we explain the … [Read more...]

Living Life With The GPS Off

lost road

When is the last time you got lost? I don't mean you missed a turn that you should have taken and you experienced a short inconvenience. I mean genuinely seriously lost, as in stuck on a back mountain road with no idea where you were and the sun was quickly setting.I can remember the last time I got lost.I was on my way to visit my then fiancee, now wife. She was working for the summer in a camp near some small town in Pennsylvania. I was working at an internship in Chicago. I printed … [Read more...]

Religious Conservatives: Let’s Celebrate Marriage!


I am an Orthodox rabbi. In my faith community we do not perform same-sex marriages. We believe that the Torah and subsequent rabbinic tradition rule out the possibility of two people of the same sex coming together in marriage. Yet, we are called upon to be welcoming, to be embracing and to be inclusive of all people. A growing list of Orthodox rabbis and leaders have added their names to a Statement of Principles first published in July of 2010 affirming the inherent dignity of all people who … [Read more...]

A Modest Case for Civil Marriage Equality (Two Years Later)


The Supreme Court may very well transform the landscape of marriage rights in the United States this coming June when it offers its decision on Obergefell v. Hodges. The questions are many and the answers are contradictory and confusing. For those of us who cannot officiate same sex marriages in our faith traditions, what will be our legal liability if the Supreme Court rules that it is a Constitutional right? How will the right of people to marry who they love interact with the right to freedom … [Read more...]

The Koren Yom Ha’atzmaut Mahzor: When Your Values Align With Your Prayer Book

Yom Haatzmaut Machzor for USA C2 for web

I remember the first time I encountered the black cover siddur, prayer book, from Artscroll. I was well acquainted with the brown cover Artscroll prayer book but had not yet seen this edition before. What was different about it? The first thing I noticed was that it was the "Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) Edition". An RCA prayer book seemed fascinating. The largest body of Centrist Orthodox rabbis in North America had collaborated with Artscroll to produce a new prayer book? What would be … [Read more...]

Is There A Future For Jews In Europe?

Germany Hanukkah

A young girl's bat mitzvah is cut short. The life of a volunteer security guard is permanently cut short. The Jewish community of Copenhagen is only the latest in Europe to face the rising tide of anti-Semitic violence. It is almost impossible to comprehend how a community that still within living memory experienced the most systemic attempt at their genocide in history, now once again, faces the fear of terrorist attacks. This time though it is very different. Despite the strong emotional … [Read more...]