Shavuot: Learn, Baby, Learn!

Shavuot: Learn, Baby, Learn!
Poor Shavuot!  It is surely the “Rodney Dangerfield” of major Jewish holidays. Yes, of major Jewish holidays. The Torah commands us to celebrate three pilgrimage festivals; Pesach, Sukkot, and Shavuot.  But Shavuot gets short... Continue Reading »

Be-Hukkotai: A helpful reminder.

Be-Hukkotai: A helpful reminder.
A few blessings, but many curses.  That’s the count in this week’s Torah portion, Be-Hukkotai (combined with Behar outside Israel). And that’s how our lives sometimes – perhaps often – seem.  Especially... Continue Reading »

Responsibility -- A True Story

Responsibility -- A True Story
“All Jews are Responsible For One Another” (Talmud, Shevuot 39a)  “Adoni, atah yachol l’azor li?”  (Sir, can you help me?”) There was no one else around, so he must be talking to me.   I tur... Continue Reading »

Behar/Emor: Consistently Inconsistent

Behar/Emor: Consistently Inconsistent
I’ve returned to Israel, where this week’s Torah reading is B’har. Back in America, though – and everywhere in the Diaspora, – this week’s Torah portion is Emor, which was read last week here.   The diverge... Continue Reading »

Kedoshim: Love to disagree? Disagree to love!

Kedoshim: Love to disagree? Disagree to love!
“What can I learn from (you/him/her/them)?”  This is not normally the question we ask ourselves when deciding whether to meet with someone.  But if it was, we would be acting to fulfill what no less an authority than Rabbi Ak... Continue Reading »
May 01

No Jewish Future Without Israel?

This week, speaking at Israeli Memorial Day (Yom HaZikaron) ceremonies, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “… we find comfort in the fact that these sons and daughters died for the noblest of causes: to ensure the survival of this nation.... Continue Reading »

Vayikra: Guilt is good.

Vayikra: Guilt is good.
“Guilty pleasure” usually refers to enjoying a trivial action that is nominally harmful -- like eating a rich chocolate bon-bon (but only one!) rather than a piece of fruit.  But although this is indeed a trivial example, the princip... Continue Reading »

Understanding Israel: Election Part 6: My Vote

Understanding Israel: Election Part 6: My Vote
“I can’t accept Arabs as 30% of the ruling coalition.  Fortunately, I don’t have to.  I’ll vote for Buji [Herzog] and Tzipi [Livni]… they’ll win … but they don’t have a coalition, so Bibi wi... Continue Reading »

Understanding Israel: Election: Part Five

Understanding Israel: Election: Part Five
[If you prefer to listen to this post, please scroll down to the end and click on the attached audio file.]  Can Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu win this election even if he loses it? The short answer is “yes.”  Current pol... Continue Reading »

Understanding Israel, Part Four, Elections

Understanding Israel, Part Four, Elections
[To listen to this posting, please scroll to the end and click on the attached audio file].   With the election less than three weeks away, the latest polls show Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party in a tie – or even slightly b... Continue Reading »
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If charity cost nothing, the world would be full of philanthropists.
Jewish Proverb