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

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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

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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!

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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)

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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...]

Is There A Future For Jews In Europe?

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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...]

Why Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia Will Determine the Fate of European Society

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The future of Europe rests on how it protects the Jews and Muslims who live on the continent. The fate of the liberal political experiment in Europe, initiated in the 18th century and brought to the brink of collapse numerous times in the years that have followed, rests entirely on whether Jews and Muslims can safely walk the streets of Paris, London and Berlin. Is it possible for Jews and Muslims to experience full integration as members of the larger society? Can they practice their religions … [Read more...]


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