A Rabbi's World

03/19/2015 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | A Rabbi's World

Those conversant in the vernacular of Talmudic Aramaic will know that, following a legal or aggadic teaching, the Talmud will often ask “Mai Ka Mashma Lan? Loosely translated, it means, “What is this coming to teach us,” or, the more frequently used “what do we learn from this?”

03/13/2015 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | A Rabbi's World

With the news this week that the city manager of Ferguson, Missouri has resigned following a scathing Justice Department report that accused his police department of systemic racism, and with a fraternity on the University of Oklahoma having been thrown off campus for an ugly, alcohol-driven (evidently) racist incident, it is clear that race relations in America remain in crisis. As President Obama said quite eloquently at the ceremony marking the fiftieth anniversary of what came to be called Bloody Sunday in Selma. Alabama, we have indeed come a long, long way from where this country was at its worst. Clearly, we have a long way to go.

03/05/2015 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | A Rabbi's World

I can only imagine that, after everything I’ve written the past few weeks about Bibi, Barack, and the “Situation,” and having just come back from the AIPAC Policy Conference, you might expect me to write about all that … And you’d be completely justified in assuming that I would.

02/27/2015 | | A Rabbi's World

The Shabbat immediately preceding the festival of Purim has long been referred to as Shabbat Zachor– literally, the Shabbat of Remember (exclamation point!). It takes that title from the opening word of the special Maftir – a supplementary Torah reading in Deuteronomy– read from a second scroll. It  commands us­– the Jewish people­– to remember the ancient treachery of Amalek, and never to forget it.

02/12/2015 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | A Rabbi's World

Dear Mr. President:

Over the past two weeks, to the consternation of a good many of my colleagues and friends, I have strongly defended both the integrity of your office and the legitimacy of your dismay with Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu by publicly, and unequivocally, calling upon him to cancel his forthcoming address to a joint session of our Congress. For a wide variety of reasons, chief among them the insertion of Israel as a wedge issue in American politics and the public contempt being shown for you and the material support that you have shown Israel throughout your presidency, I believed the Prime Minister to be making a serious mistake.

02/05/2015 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | A Rabbi's World

I am not, as a rule, bothered by people who disagree with me, either publicly or privately. Were I to be, I would not have lasted for thirty-three-plus years in the pulpit rabbinate, and certainly not in the same synagogue. Almost by definition, rabbis who take strong positions on the issues of the day, be they moral/ethical or political, related to their own synagogues or to the world at large, will generate disagreement from those who look to them for guidance but see the situation differently. That is entirely the way it should be.