December 4, 2018

The mandate of Special Counsel Robert Mueller echoes a story of political authority and an independent figure who calls it to account: King David, Bathsheba, Uriah and Nathan the prophet. Through this lens, we see safeguarding Mueller’s ability to do his job is not an ordinary political matter, but a moral imperative. Read more

November 30, 2018

The historical development of the Jewish holiday of Chanukah is a good illustration of how religious leaders can promote a “greater jihad” (spiritual) focus over a “lesser jihad” (militant) focus. Read more

November 15, 2018

For the first time, I almost couldn’t find a prayer book. That is how many people came to my synagogue for the first Shabbat after the shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue. I knew something was different the instant I walked inside the wooden-walled, linoleum-floored, home-like little multipurpose room that houses the Beis Community (“beis” means “home” and is here a pun on the English “base”), a liberal-Orthodox synagogue and hub especially frequented by millennials in Washington Heights, New York City. More people came than usual — and they came on time. Everything about that Shabbat was intensified. Read more

November 4, 2018

Rabbis in San Diego, California, have denounced attacks by a Republican opponent against a local candidate for congress with Palestinian ancestry. Republican Duncan Hunter has called his Democratic challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar a “national security risk,” and accused him of being an “Islamist.” Read more

November 2, 2018

People are seeing me differently today, I thought. In that moment, I saw myself differently. People are seeing me as vulnerable. I saw how vulnerable I was. I realized that by putting on a kippah that morning, I had taken my life in my hands. The events of the past week testify that this viscera-twisting fact is now part of life in Trump’s America — as has been true for Jews of numberless epochs. Read more

October 5, 2018

In his September 27 testimony, Judge Brett Kavanaugh said, “going to church on Sundays was like brushing my teeth, automatic,” and was angry anyone would remark that church was not on his summer 1982 calendar. Brushing one’s teeth is a cosmetic thing; it deals only with the most superficial of stains. A religious experience, to truly move a person and be the foundation of an ethical and moral personality, needs to force you to grapple with the difficulty of becoming a better human, with the entirety of the self. Read more

June 13, 2018

By Rabbi Allen S. Maller Jalal al-Din Rumi taught, “Ritual prayer can be different in every religion, but belief never changes” (Fihi Ma Fihi). As a Reform Rabbi who has been studying Islam for almost sixty years, I think it is vitally important for our generation to understand how much Islam and Judaism have in common. In North America and the U.K., Jews and Muslims are the two religious groups that most noticeably practice fasting. The rules about fasting are… Read more

March 27, 2018

Here is a fable for discussion at the (Seder) dinner table for all those Christians, Jews and Muslims who want to use the exodus from oppression in Egypt as an encouragement to all who value freedom and justice to do more than just stand and wat Read more

March 27, 2018

Every Passover, Jews recite the ten plagues that led to the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. This year, however, it is not enough to dot our plates with the ten symbolic drops of wine and move on. In the most Jewish of traditions, we must wrestle modern-day meaning from our ritual. This year, as we witness the daily barrage of alarming afflictions across our landscape, why don’t we challenge our Seder guests to draw present-day parallels to… Read more

February 27, 2018

There is another group of Jews mentioned in the Book of Esther that most seem to have forgotten: “So the Jews took it on themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who joined them should without fail observe these two days every year, in the way prescribed and at the time appointed” (Esther 9:27). Who are these people described as “all who joined them”? Read more

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