Israeli Extremists Respond to Paris Massacre


Haaretz writer Uri Misgav has published a powerful blog post about right-wing nationalist Orthodox Jewish responses to the horrors in Paris. (Unfortunately, it’s only available in Hebrew.)Their responses are repulsive in so many ways. They are consistently characterized by a horrible kind of schadenfreude, even rising - in Misgav’s words - to a level of “pure joy.”Rabbi Dov Lior, until very recently the chief rabbi of the Kiryat Arba settlement (near Hebron) and head of one of its largest … [Read more...]

Greta Christina’s “More Atheists Who Aren’t Dawkins or Harris: Jeffrey L. Falick”


Sorry there haven't been new posts here for a few weeks.Here's a short one...actually a link to another blog where I've been profiled by Greta Christina, a writer and thinker whom I deeply admire.Thanks, Greta!More Atheists Who Aren't Dawkins or Harris: Jeffrey L. Falick. … [Read more...]

Does Torah Command Immediate Execution of Disarmed Terrorists?

By אביעד חזני [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

To my liberal rabbinical colleagues who hold the view that the Torah’s wisdom is necessary in the search for morality, I present this necessary reminder that what constitutes the will of the Torah is in the eyes of the rabbis who interpret it.And sometimes there is murder in their eyes.Rabbi David Stav, of the moderate Israeli rabbinic organization known as Tzohar, issued a halakhic opinion last week ruling that it is forbidden to kill a terrorist who has otherwise been rendered h … [Read more...]

Ben Carson Hates Israel!

By Gage Skidmore via Flickr [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Ben Carson speaks with great authority about the Bible. This is in spite of the fact that Ben Carson doesn’t know seem to know anything about the Bible.Last week he was asked about why he opposes gay marriage. He remarked that legalizing it now opens the door to the “the next natural question”: Why should we not open marriage up to polygamy?The whole gay marriage issue, he noted, shows how America is ignoring “the word of God” and tossing “the whole thing in the garbage.”But it is act … [Read more...]

It’s the Occupation, Stupid


View image | gettyimages.comI’ve mentioned before that I’m still a paid-up member of the Reform movement’s Central Conference of American Rabbis. Because of this I get to lurk on the Facebook page and hear what’s on the minds of Reform rabbis.Yesterday I learned that some of the major lights of the movement have opinions about the latest wave of terror in Israel that I find stunning.I won’t mention any names here - that would betray the closed nature of the group - and I won’t quote anyon … [Read more...]

Francis and Kim

"Pope Francis - Caricature" by DonkeyHotey via Flickr [CC BY-SA 3.0]

I was not planning to write about the visit of the Bishop of Rome, whom I unaffectionately refer to as Pope Fluffy.But that was before I read about his meeting with Kim Davis.Yesterday’s edition of the Times reported that Fluffy was asked what he thought about government employees who refuse to do their jobs: Asked about government employees who refused to discharge their duties as an act of religious conscience, including refusing to grant marriage licenses to gay couples, Francis did n … [Read more...]

Happy Sukkot!

By Gilabrand (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

It's Sukkot...the "Feast of Tabernacles"!Being a busy Secular Humanistic rabbi at the holiday season, I have not had much time to blog recently. But with the "high" holidays behind us we're into that second round of holidays, Sukkot and Simchat Torah.Over the next few days I'll share a few readings that I wrote for the Sukkot holiday program at my congregation. Chag Sameach...Happy holiday!Why We CelebrateSukkot is one of the richest and most splendid of all Jewish holidays.  Thr … [Read more...]

Now ALL the Jews Hate Ann Coulter!

By David Shankbone (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

All the Jews are up in arms about Ann Coulter.Liberal Jews, like liberal everyone-elses, have been pointing out for years that this woman is a rabid racist. Her latest book alone should be enough to demonstrate that.But now all the Republican Jews are whining about her, too. They've suddenly discovered that she’s just as much a Jew-hater as a hater of all people who are not white northern Europeans.Here’s the odd thing. Taken as a whole, what Coulter tweeted was not the most inac … [Read more...]

Christian-Jewish Relations in 5776

Jews and Christians disputing scripture (the Jews are wearing the poiny hats) in a 15th c. Dutch woodcut.

Let's talk about the state of "Christian-Jewish" relations!For most of the past 2,000 years, our relations consisted of Christians alternatively killing and forcibly converting (and killing and forcibly converting and exiling) the Jews.Since the rise of the state of Israel, all kinds of power dynamics have changed and today the word “complicated” hardly begins to describe it. So as we begin the new year of 5776, let's take a look at how representatives of two of the world's most int … [Read more...]

Helping Syrian Refugees


In July 1938 delegates from 32 nations met at the French resort if Évian-les-Bains to discuss the mounting problem of Jewish refugees from Germany and recently-annexed Austria. At the time Hitler was willing to let them leave “even on luxury ships,” in his own words.As everyone knows, little was done to help the German and Austrian Jews. The nations who participated in the conference were mostly unwilling to change their immigration quotas and very few of the Jews who needed a visa received o … [Read more...]