The Atrocity in Orlando

Here is the message that I sent out yesterday to my own community:Today our country experienced what President Obama has called "an act of terror and an act of hate."In the days and weeks ahead we will struggle to come to terms with yet another mass shooting, this one the worst in our nation's history. We will hear calls for prayers and for gun legislation. We will argue about religious fanaticism and immigration and security. Many people will call the shooter "crazy" or otherwise … [Read more...]

Republican Jewish Coalition Is Spineless

My previous post about Trump raised the hackles of a couple of members of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC). They were upset that I dared to compare Trump to Hitler.For the record, I did not compare Trump to Hitler. I did call him the the führer. But that's just the German word for leader.What I actually did point out was that there is no shortage of unrepentant Jew-haters pulling for Trump. And I asked Jewish Trump supporters if they weren't just a wee bit concerned that they were ge … [Read more...]

What Do Sheldon Adelson, Stormfront, the KKK, and Louis Farrakhan Have in Common?

I have to say that I’m beginning to understand why evangelical ministers protest about their 501(c)(3) restrictions on speaking up about candidates at official functions or in their publications.I’m feeling their frustration as I am muzzled by the same rules at my Secular Humanistic Jewish congregation at a time when I really want to speak up about Donald Trump. I guess I’ll just have to do what everyone else does and blog about it.Today I want to talk to any Jewish Republicans who might … [Read more...]

Support Target Stores’ Inclusivity!

As some of you know, Target stores have taken a stance in support of transgender people. The American Family Association (a far right extremist religious hate group) has started a boycott that has attracted hundreds of thousands of supporters. I've started a petition in support of Target. Please consider going to this link to sign my petition against the boycott of Target! … [Read more...]

Why I’m Still a Zionist

With the publication of my previous post (My Crisis of Zionism), I have had the pleasure of being called an idiot by Rabbi Daniel Gordis and many other names by many other people. This is what happens when we touch the third rail of Israel in the Jewish world today.One intelligent question I’ve been asked is whether I am a Zionist any more or not?I believe that I am. I’ll begin with a little history.The core idea behind Zionism was that the Jews needed a refuge. Given the horrors of a … [Read more...]

My Crisis of Zionism

True Zionist confessions: As a campus Hillel director and later a JCC professional, I was professionally (and frequently fanatically) committed to telling Israel’s story, as I then understood it. Somehow, across the years I managed to retain my optimism that Israel would be the great success story of the Jews who would now go about showing the world what a truly enlightened liberal universalistic nation they could build. Perhaps I was naïve, but that’s how life goes. It’s not easy undoing generat … [Read more...]

Liberal Jews Get a Piece of the Rock

If you follow news of the Jewish world, by now you have heard about the historic decision by Israeli leaders to accommodate Reform, Conservative (etc., etc.) Jews by giving them a mixed-gender prayer space at the Western Wall.Here’s an illustration of where it will be:Part of me applauds the victory of my liberal theistic friends. It was not fair to exclude them from any worship at the Wall. A greater part of me, however, wishes that they would outgrow the need to worship there at a … [Read more...]

Home of Israeli Secular Humanistic Leader Vandalized

This is the sort of "breaking news" that I don't usually blog about, but in this case it's personal.Prof. Yaakov Malkin, one of the great leaders of Secular Humanistic Judaism in Israel (and father of Rabbi Sivan Malkin Maas), woke up this morning to find his Jerusalem home vandalized.From Haaretz: A Star of David and the phrases "Psalms 139: 21-24" and "Destruction of Amalek" were scrawled on the fence surrounding his home. A knife and an envelope containing a threatening letter were al … [Read more...]

Conservative Rabbis and the Intermarriage Dilemma

It has been noted that there really are no Conservative Jews, just Conservative rabbis. Last year a poll of Conservative rabbis revealed that 40% of them would officiate at interfaith weddings. This led me to wonder whether even the existence of Conservative rabbis would soon be in question.They’re probably not going to disappear all that quickly. The poll was deeply unscientific so it’s meaningless as an indication of where Conservative rabbis are on the issue. It was conducted by the out … [Read more...]

Israeli Crackdown on Left-Wing Groups Continues

News out of Jerusalem this week is that the right-wing government has given the thumbs-up to the so-called “Transparency Bill” sponsored by Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked of the Jewish Home Party.With its passage, human rights NGOs that receive more than 50% of their funding from foreign governmental sources will be forced to reveal their status as “foreign agents” in every published document. They will also be required to wear special identity badges marking them as such when lobbying pub … [Read more...]