Stand For Life: Minute of Silence in Honor of the Sacredness of Life

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: From:  Elaine Lichterman - BMH-BJ Congregation July 23, 2012 Contact:   Rabbi Ben Greenberg Email:      rabbi@bmh-bj.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:     STAND UP FOR LIFE – COMMUNITY GATHERING DATE:   SUNDAY JULY 29 TIME:    1:00 PM PLACE:  BMH-BJ CONGREGATION                                                                    560 S. Monaco Parkway, Denver 80224 PARKING:  … [Read more...]

The Thread That Binds Us All

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed a change in name from "Torah From The Square" to "Torah From The Rockies" and the reason is because my family and I have transitioned to new positions in Denver, Colorado. For the past three years I served as the full time rabbi of the Harvard Hillel in Cambridge, Mass. and it was there that I developed close relationships with students, community members and faculty. It was a tremendous experience and I feel blessed for the memories I will carry … [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...]

Conversion As An Act of Kindness

path

Conversion to Judaism is noble process that represents a person's desire to find shelter under the wings of the Divine Presence as manifested through the unique pathway of the Covenant at Sinai.1 For a long period of Jewish history it took quite an exceptional person indeed to seek out conversion to Judaism. Jews lived in bitter and harsh conditions, suffering persecution and discrimination at the hands of almost every country they found themselves in. Hence, the Talmud teaches that when a … [Read more...]

Is George Zimmerman Jewish?

jewishq

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...]

The Hunger Games and Divine Concealment

hunger-games

Many have written in recent days about the wildly popular new movie The Hunger Games based on the book series of the same name. There have been those who have written about it from a political perspective and those who have analyzed it from an artistic perspective, and of course, those who have viewed it from a religious lens. In regards to the latter category, many Jewish writers have focused in on its connection to the holiday of Passover, which we are currently in the midst of it. The story … [Read more...]

The Exodus and Miraculous Realism

Egyptian slaves

This past weekend Jews throughout the world celebrated the beginning of Pesach, the Passover holiday, by embarking on the ancient rituals of the seder. The seder, with its rich symbolic actions and accompanying powerful text from the Haggadah, is an entryway into the psychological, emotional and spiritual experience of the Exodus. Indeed, this is the very point of having the seder, as the early rabbis taught: "In every generation, one is obligated to see oneself as having left Egypt. (Pesachim … [Read more...]

Conversion: The Need for Orthodox Leadership

Shaking hands

In every generation throughout Jewish history there have been people who desired to enter into the Covenant of Israel and join their fate with the fate of the Jewish people. The earliest examples we have of such people are from the Tanach. The story of Ruth and her journey to the People of Israel became the paradigmatic story of conversion for the early rabbis1. Before Ruth rabbinic tradition speaks of Abraham as the first convert2 or of all of the Jewish people standing at Sinai as all … [Read more...]

Towards a Sustainable Rabbinic Community

Rabbis Arguing

We live in a drastically different world than people even a generation before us did. The modes of communication open to us allow for instantaneous communication between people around the globe. People used to need to wait for the newspaper the next morning to find out what happened somewhere else, but now, all one needs to do is point their web browser to the right address and discover live feeds of current events in every part of our world. Furthermore, this feed is not one directional any … [Read more...]

A Philosophy of Jewish Law

halacha

The most defining characteristic of an observant Jewish life is fidelity to the halacha, to Jewish law. The halacha is an all-encompassing system that governs a person's life from the moment they wake up in the morning until they go to sleep at night. There is little area in one's daily routine that is not nuanced by Jewish law. A person who maintains a life devoted to halacha is often asked about the perceived burden of doing so.1 How is it possible to live life encumbered by so many details … [Read more...]