The Rutgers Webcam Tragedy and The Right to Privacy

In the tragic story of the suicide of Tyler Clementi, the former Rutgers student, whose privacy was violated by his roommate, Dharun Ravi1, the need to emphasize the right to privacy becomes ever more pronounced. In a world where leaders of major corporations and trendsetters declare that “privacy is no longer a social norm,2” it is incumbent upon the voice of our religious and ethical traditions to re-assert the inherent dignity of each individual person. Indeed, privacy has been a… Read more

Abraham and Biblical Intertextuality

Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot has published a remarkable new book Mikra and Meaning (Maggid Books, 2012) in which he demonstrates his tremendous fluency with the Biblical text and his mastery of the rabbinic tradition surrounding it. Each chapter takes the reader on an adventure exploring the intricate and varied ways of understanding the narratives presented in Tanach and plumbing the depths of the tradition for layers upon layers of meaning. I had the distinct privilege of studying under Rabbi Helfgot for… Read more

Torah Learning as the Foundation of Community

It was a little over a year ago that I wrote an article for the religion magazine First Things in which I argued that the foundation for building a large umbrella inclusive community cannot rest on shared prayer alone. I wrote: “Perhaps we require a different paradigm for Jewish inclusiveness. For a generation we have relied on shared ritual. But ritual runs directly into contentious issues such as gender separation, and leads to the stark contrast of the highest or… Read more