Is This the Fast I Desire?
Oct 11, 2016 By Julia Andelman | Commentary | Yom Kippur
When I was a congregational rabbi, my practice was to offer a sermon on Yom Kippur morning relating to social justice. I would raise an issue of ethical concern in the world; share my reading of what Jewish texts and tradition had to say on the matter; and suggest actions for individuals and for the community.Read More
Our Eyes Did Not See
Sep 9, 2016 By Eliezer B. Diamond | Commentary | Shofetim
The history of murder begins with Cain’s slaying of Abel. That murder itself has a prehistory. When Adam and Eve ate forbidden fruit, God called them to account, and gave them the opportunity to acknowledge their sin and seek forgiveness. Instead, they chose obfuscation and recrimination. Adam shifted blame to Eve, who in turn argued that the serpent was culpable. As when they ate the fruit (Gen. 3:7), their eyes again were opened; each now saw that the other was capable of sin without remorse, and indifference born of self-interest.Read More
Corruption Begins at Home
Sep 9, 2016 By Hillel Gruenberg | Commentary | Shofetim
Only here are three prime ministers
investigated and don’t cooperate.
Only here do I feel belonging,
Even though I’m angry about the corruption.
The Currencies of Justice
Aug 12, 2016 By David Hoffman | Commentary | Devarim
You shall not be partial in judgment: hear out low [katan] and high [gadol] alike. Fear no man, for judgment is God’s. (Deut. 1:17)
Philo, the great 1st-century Alexandrian Jewish thinker, was engaged in a project that in many ways was deeply modern. He sought to “translate” Judaism for the Greek-speaking world of his day, and to demonstrate to a highly educated and urbane population that the Torah was a philosophically serious work. Not only could one be a Jew and be a Greek, but in many ways a pious Jew was the truest of Greeks.Read More
Facing Our Past and Looking Toward the Future
May 27, 2016 By Michal Raucher | Commentary | Behar
Recently, the US Treasury Department announced that Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States, on the $20 bill. Tubman was born as a slave around 1820, ran away in 1849, and returned south repeatedly to usher more than 300 slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad. Her selection for the $20 bill is exciting news, because Tubman will be the first African American and the first woman to appear on federal paper currency. Women and civil rights leaders will be added to the $5 and $10 bills in the coming years, as well. While these changes are long overdue, the question is whether this change is merely symbolic or a further step toward acknowledging our nation’s ugly history of slavery.Read More
Beyond the Exodus from Egypt
Apr 15, 2016 By Arnold M. Eisen | Commentary | Pesah | Shabbat Hagadol
Most of us, at one time or another, have asked the question about the Passover seder that the Haggadah attributes to the “wicked son”: What is the point of all this? At such moments of skepticism, we probably understand why an annual family gathering is worthwhile, we perhaps remember fondly the seders of our youth, and we may even confess to being moved by the rituals reenacted at the seder table year after year: reciting the four questions, dripping wine from cup to plate at the recital of the ten plagues, singing Had Gadya. But really, we ask: Why is the event of Israelite slaves leaving Egypt over 3,000 years ago (if it ever happened in the first place) so important that an entire holiday is devoted to it (not to mention countless daily prayers)?Read More
The Ethics of Health Care Reform
Oct 4, 2012 By Daniel Nevins | Public Event audio
Rabbi Daniel Nevins, Pearl Resnick Dean of The Rabbinical School of The Jewish Theological Seminary, delivers a lecture on “The Ethics of Health Care Reform” at Temple Beth Sholom in Cherry Hill, NJ.Read More
Are We Taking Too Much?
Oct 4, 2012 By The Jewish Theological Seminary | Public Event audio
The 2010 Bokser Memorial Lecture, “Are We Taking Too Much? Urgent values Questions Brought into Focus by the Global Recession.” Featuring an opening presentation by Dr. Noam Zohar of Bar-ilan University, followed by text study led by Dr. Eliezer Diamond and Rabbi Nina Cardin, and concluding with a panel discussion between these three, moderated by Prof. Alan Mittleman.Read More