Say No To Sheilaism: A Reflection on Assimilation and Continuity (Guest Blog Post)

Dr. Sharon Weiss-Greenberg

Jewish identity.  It is quite the buzzword these days. It is the goal set by rabbis, practitioners, places of learning and other religious centers.  Jewish identity is the holy grail. The question asked is rarely about defining or making clear what this grand result would look like.  Everyone just wants to know how to get there.  Unfortunately, life is about the destination and the journey.  In terms of Jewish continuity, the destination cannot be reached without a meaningful journey. There are n … [Read more...]

Why The Hobby Lobby Decision Is Bad for Religious Liberty

Supreme Court

Religious liberty is at the heart of our country. It is what has enabled countless people from all walks of life and from all religious and non-religious persuasions to be free and safe in America from persecution for their beliefs. It is why those fleeing the oppression of religious coercion in other countries seek out our shores for asylum and protection. It is a bedrock foundation stone of the United States. The Supreme Court in its recent 5-4 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby is a step … [Read more...]

Got Religion? The Challenge of Religion in 21st Century America


The first synagogue to take root in North America more than 350 years ago was Congregation Shearith Israel. This community of Sephardic Jews hailing from the Spanish-Portuguese community came with their deeply held beliefs of how the world works, how communities are formed and how they are maintained and began to earnestly set out to repeat that pattern on the shores of the Atlantic. Yet, something was very different here than it was in any other context that the Jews had lived in before. The … [Read more...]

I and You : Reflecting on Understanding the Other


How often do we truly put ourselves in the space to encounter the other in our world? How often do we truly break down the other and see the unity that shines through? These questions have been on mind since I went to a very special event this past week at the DuSable Museum of African-American History in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. The event was a dialogue between mothers and between mothers and sons on raising young men in the African-American community. I was there in an official … [Read more...]

One Year Since Aurora


The following is a modified version of the sermon I delivered this past Shabbat on the one year anniversary of the shooting at the Century Multiplex in Aurora, CO:One Year Later: What Have We Learned from Aurora?“Be comforted, be comforted, my people (Isaiah 40:1)” With these words synagogues around the world opened their Prophetic reading for this past Sabbath, from the prophet Isaiah. This Sabbath, the Sabbath immediately following the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, is named after t … [Read more...]

Kumare: The Allure of Otherness

I watched the documentary Kumare this weekend and I was struck by its portrayal of the development of a religious community and the search of people for meaning and fulfillment in their own lives. The movie follows the filmmaker as he morphs into an Indian Guru and plants himself in Phoenix, Arizona where he develops a coherent belief system and attracts followers. Throughout the movie he attempts to convey to his followers that they actually do not need a Guru and they can be their own … [Read more...]