December 4, 2015

Well it seems that the topic of the day is “prayer-shaming,” prompted by yesterday’s New York Daily News front page headline about the San Bernardino shooting. It made the important point that maybe some people should stop praying so much and actually do something. I’ve actually thought about “prayer-shaming” before, but the other way around. In the Jewish community I often feel that “prayer-shaming” is not directed toward those who pray, but to those who do not. Michael Knopf, one… Read more

November 16, 2015

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

November 10, 2015

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

October 26, 2015

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… Read more

October 19, 2015

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… Read more

October 16, 2015

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… Read more

September 30, 2015

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 not… Read more

September 29, 2015

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 Celebrate Sukkot is one of the richest and most splendid of all Jewish holidays.  Throughout… Read more

September 19, 2015

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… Read more

September 17, 2015

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… Read more

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