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...]

The Complaint

COMPLAINT

Houses of Worship are unique organizations in many ways. The House of Worship, regardless of faith, functions as a spiritual home for individuals to commune with their God, their traditions and their people. For many the House of Worship is an anchor in an ever-changing fluid world. A place of stability. A rock of peace and serenity. A haven from the tumultous currents of the outside world.However, Houses of Worship also have a lot in common with every other mission-directed people-focused … [Read more...]

What Amazes You?

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Tomorrow night people around the world will sit down with their family and friends and partake in the Passover seder. The seder is perhaps the oldest continuously practiced ritual unbroken throughout the generations. Throughout time and place it has adopted various new customs and adapted old ones but the essential component remains the same: the retelling of the Exodus. The great formative narrative of the Children of Israel, in which God with an outstretched arm and a mighty hand redeemed the … [Read more...]

Newtown and a Jewish Reflection on Gun Control

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It was only a few weeks after my family and I moved to Denver to assume the position of senior rabbi at a synagogue just a few miles from Aurora that the horrific massacre at the movie theater occurred. Our television screens and laptops were inundated with the life stories of the victims and the images of so much grief and destruction. I wrote an article back then for The Denver Post calling on all people of faith and good conscience to affirm the sacredness of all life as a response to the … [Read more...]

The Righteous Mind

The Righteous Mind

I recently finished reading Professor Jonathan Haidt's new book The Righteous Mind and found it to be utterly fascinating. The objective of the book is to present readers with a nuanced psychologically based reason for why people of good will and character differ so sharply and so strongly on critical issues. He specifically draws our attention to the subjects of religion and politics but his theory could be applied to any subject on which people passionately and vigorously disagree.This is … [Read more...]

Is George Zimmerman Jewish?

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If one begins typing into Google Is George Zimmerman... the first suggestion that pops up is Jewish. The question of the Jewishness of the man who shot to death Trayvon Martin in Florida seems to be a quite popular inquiry. Indeed, news outlets from The Washington Post to Tablet Magazine have considered the question. This, however, is by far missing the point. In fact, it is as far from the point as is possible.There are many debates to be had about this constantly evolving case. One could … [Read more...]


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