May 5, 2016

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… Read more

April 26, 2016

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

February 26, 2016

(Update: Since the original publication of this post, it has been repeatedly pointed out to me that what I’ve said here does not qualify me as a Zionist. I think I constructed a good argument for why I am a kind of Zionist, but those who disagree have told me—some of them in no uncertain terms—that what I’ve described here is better described as post-Zionism. I actually don’t care what it’s called. I stand by what I wrote.) With the publication of… Read more

February 23, 2016

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 generations… Read more

February 9, 2016

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… Read more

January 21, 2016

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… Read more

January 19, 2016

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… Read more

December 30, 2015

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 public… Read more

December 24, 2015

Warning: This post contains bad words. Sorry about that. But we’re all adults here and Science now says that people who curse have better vocabularies. I think that the funniest thing about Donald Trump’s use of the Yiddish word schlong is his denial that he said anything weird. The word really means “serpent.” But just like many people use that word as a synonym for penis, in Yiddish and English (or Yinglish) it pretty much exclusively refers to a penis. Also, schlong is a… Read more

December 17, 2015

Israeli right-wingers are going off the rails and taking Israeli democracy with them. The Jewish Home Party, which represents the interests of religious Zionist nationalist extremists, is sponsoring a “Transparency Bill” directed at shutting down left-wing NGOs. If passed, the law would require any left-wing NGO that receives 50% or more of its funding from foreign governmental sources to reveal this fact in every single interaction with Israeli government authorities. They would also be required to wear special name tags… Read more

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