A Rabbi's World

03/04/2008 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

What are we to make of Elliot Spitzer’s dramatic fall from grace? How can it be that the man who was swept into office by a record plurality of votes, running as the Mr. Clean who “judged every decision before him simply on the basis of whether it was right or wrong,” as one of his campaign ads suggested, could be so very, very wrong on so basic a principle?

03/13/2008 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

“Spitzer-fatigue” has set in. For an eclectic variety of reasons, not least of which is the tawdriness and blatant hypocrisy of what Governor Spitzer was engaged in, most people appear to have had enough. It’s time to move on, they say, and to let him and his family deal with the detritus of his epic fall from grace.

By and large, I agree. There is little to be gained by rehashing what is known, and speculating about what is not. True enough. But personally, I don’t think that there’s been enough discussion about it with our children.

03/16/2008 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

As I write, a fierce debate is raging among my colleagues, and indeed among Americans, about the relationship between Barack Obama and his minister/mentor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

Americans of all creeds are disturbed by Rev. Wright’s comments- played on what seems like a continuous loop on YouTube- that essentially blame 9/11 on America, and reveal a huge reservoir of toxic anger against insults both real and imagined perpetrated by White America against Black people.

03/24/2008 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

I’ve waited a week or so to write this, mostly because of my disinclination to write things that people will read and respond to by saying “Oh, well, he’s a rabbi, what do you expect?” I don’t at all like when people say things like that. It makes it sound like I- and all rabbis- are somehow less than human, that we don’t know or understand what it means to live in the real world.

But now, having waited, I have to let it out. Does anyone out there in public service still view fidelity within marriage as an active concept?

04/02/2008 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

I have worked with many Jews-by-Choice during my career in the rabbinate, far too many to actually be able to casually come up with a number. Most of my rabbinical work involves rites, rituals and teaching that I’ve done many times before. Conversion is no exception. But while I occasionally will reflect on the challenge of “staying fresh” for bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings and funerals, I never find myself challenged in that way when it comes to someone who is adopting Judaism by choice.

04/08/2008 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

Like many others, I’m sure, I awoke Sunday morning to the terrible news of the death of Rabbi Jacob Rubenstein and his wife Deborah, z”l, in a tragic house fire in Scarsdale. I am horrified by the random and senseless nature of their death, and the loss that it represents for the congregants of his synagogue and for the Jewish community.

But in addition to the communal tragedy, I am deeply saddened by the loss of a man whom I met long ago under very unusual circumstances, and whom I was proud to call a friend and a colleague.