Muslims and Jews: What Happens to the News That Doesn’t Fit the Story?

I read Matti Friedman’s article on Tablet published last month and was deeply intrigued. In fact, I read it several times because the picture he provides in the way news reporters craft a story happened to me not long before he published his piece. The article, “An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth,” which was shared on Facebook more than 78,000 times, details how the major news agencies are more interested in crafting a story than they are… Read more

Between The Parts: The Liminal Space Between Continuity and Assimilation

In the great epic story of humanity there has always been the forces that compel us to assimilate amongst each other and those that urge us to maintain our differences and to hold up the uniquenesses within the human family. The desire to blend in is strong and indeed is admirable. The unity afforded by blending in, by assimilating, cannot be overstated. When we collapse the contours that are the map of the human family into one straight path our… Read more

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

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… Read more

Why The Hobby Lobby Decision Is Bad for Religious Liberty

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… Read more

Hamas and the Struggle for Our Children: #BringBackOurBoys

Three teenage boys traveling home from their religious seminary to be with their families for the Jewish Sabbath get into a car and the nightmare begins. The fates of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali are unknown. It is not even known which terror group has abducted them. It would not be a surprise to discover it was Hamas, the internationally recognized terrorist organization, that has used kidnappings before in its struggle to uproot the State of Israel. The United States State… 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… Read more

History Made Personal: A Book Review of Teach Them Diligently

Rabbi Berel Wein is beyond any doubt one of the most profound, prolific and inspired rabbis of the 20th century. I have never learned with him personally or attended any of his lectures but nonetheless I have encountered his teachings throughout my life. Rabbi Wein is a moral voice on societal issues, a contemplator of Jewish history and Jewish destiny and a master educator. It is with that background into the man that I brought with me when I began… Read more

Don’t Pray, Communicate! A Book Review of Holistic Prayer

To understand the newest book by Rabbi Avi Weiss one needs to tell a story that appears in the book, Holistic Prayer: A rabbi was once informed that a crazed woman was in the beit midrash (the study hall, which is sometimes used as a small prayer room). “She is standing in front of the Ark, the Ark is open, and she is babbling and gesturing wildly,” he was told. “She seems to be mentally imbalanced. Perhaps you can go… Read more

Learning, Living and Blogging: #Patheos5Yrs Later

The first time I was introduced to Patheos was when I met Leo Brunnick, a founder and CEO of Patheos, when he came to present to the Harvard University Chaplains in 2012. I was a Jewish chaplain at the university at the time and was quite impressed with his passion, vision and determination to build an interactive, engaging online space for both intrafaith and interfaith dialogue and learning. I felt inspired by his presentation and asked him to become a… 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… Read more


Browse Our Archives