Nov 10, 2017 By Matthew Goldstone | Commentary | Text Study
Whoever is able to protest against the [sins of the] people of his household and does not protest is caught in the [sins] of his household; against [the sins of] the people of his city [and does not protest] is caught in the [sins] of the people of his city; against [the sins of] the whole world [and does not protest] is caught in the [sins] of the whole world.
—Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 54b
Jul 14, 2017 By Meredith Katz | Commentary | Pinehas
Many narratives coalesce in Parashat Pinehas, and it is challenging to review without connection to the current political and social climate. The daughters of Zelophehad make a proposal to inherit their father’s portion, as part of a land division framework aiming toward equality: “to the more thou shalt give the more inheritance, and to the fewer thou shalt give the less inheritance.” The daughters raise their claim with Moses et al. as women, demanding their right to inherit in the absence of any sons, a significant step for women in ancient times that is then added to the canon.Read More
May 5, 2017 By Julia Andelman | Commentary | Aharei Mot | Kedoshim | Shavuot
The Torah exhorts us in this week’s parashah: “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest…you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger” (Lev. 19:9-10). This mitzvah plays out in beautiful narrative form in the Book of Ruth, read on the upcoming holiday of Shavuot. But Ruth is the exception; she is rescued from her destitute state by Boaz, the owner of the field where she gleans, who marries her. What of all those who remained gleaners—whose survival depended on the daily toil of gathering other people’s leftovers?Read More
Apr 14, 2017 By Ruth Messinger | Commentary | Pesah
As we come, again, to the end of another Passover season, many of us are looking forward to moving beyond the matzah intensity. We are obliged, also, to ask ourselves what it means to have retold the story of our people’s quest for freedom, what new insights we might have gained, what the lessons are that we should take back into the world. I want to talk about our commitment to fight oppression as it manifests itself today in our lives and in the lives of others, and I want to make some observations about the roles there are to play in these struggles, about what we can learn about how to lead in these endeavors.Read More
Mar 16, 2017 By The Jewish Theological Seminary | Public Event video
David Milliband, president of the International Rescue Committee and former UK Foreign Secretary, discusses ways to address one of the most pressing political and moral issues of our time.Read More
Mar 17, 2017 By Yehudah Webster | Commentary | Ki Tissa
Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it politic? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular—but one must take it simply because it is right.
—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “A Proper Sense of Priorities”