Society and the Stranger

Society and the Stranger

Feb 5, 2005 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Mishpatim

Sensitivity to the plight of the stranger stands at the core of Parashat Mishpatim. With debates raging over migrant workers in the United States and the treatment of foreign laborers in Israel, our Torah reading could not come at a more appropriate time. Just a few weeks ago, the Jerusalem Report ran a cover story on the plight of the foreign–worker community in Israel.

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The Syrian Refugee Crisis: Realities and Responses

The Syrian Refugee Crisis: Realities and Responses

Feb 2, 2016 By The Jewish Theological Seminary | Public Event video

What are the realities on the ground in Syria and other affected countries? What are our responsibilities as individuals, as a country, and as a Jewish community? How do we fulfill the Jewish moral imperative of dealing compassionately with the stranger even as we ensure domestic security?

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Modern Day Prophets

Modern Day Prophets

Jun 26, 2010 By Andrew Shugerman | Commentary | Balak

Twice during my teenage years, I felt that I’d witnessed a modern-day prophet speaking live on television. I grew up with the idea that such a phenomenon was not just possible but something for which we, as American Jews, yearn. We have watched how tremendous oratory can change history by reflecting the transformations taking place in our society and around the globe.

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Jealousy As a Test of Virtue

Jealousy As a Test of Virtue

Dec 14, 2007 By Daniel Nevins | Commentary | Vayiggash

Gifts can make you crazy. Picking them is hard, and so is accepting them with grace.

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Judah’s Story, Our Stories, and the Stories of Refugees

Judah’s Story, Our Stories, and the Stories of Refugees

Dec 17, 2015 By Julia Andelman | Commentary | Vayiggash

They grabbed me and led me to a van. I told them: ‘I’m an old man. I’m not a threat.’ But they didn’t listen. On our way to the prison, they kept stopping on the street and collecting more people. They blindfolded me when we arrived and they beat me very badly. Then they put me with seventy other people in a room smaller than this one. It was very cold because it was December and I was barefoot because I’d lost my slippers. 

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Our Lying Patriarch

Our Lying Patriarch

Oct 21, 2009 By Abigail Treu | Commentary | Toledot

The evidence stared at us: a hot pink eye embedded in dark skin. “Which one of you did this?” my mother demanded. I, of course, knew the secret, having mashed the Bubbilicious bubble gum into a crack in the dark-stained paneling of our family room some hours earlier. My little sister, trying to be helpful, asked with what I knew to be complete innocence: “Well, what kind of gum is it?” Which was all our mother needed to hear to jump to a conclusion that brought her investigation to its end and my sister to her inevitable reprimand.

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Do We Really Do Tzedakah?

Do We Really Do Tzedakah?

Aug 27, 2011 By Marc Wolf | Commentary | Re'eh

By delving into the biblical and rabbinic texts concerning tzedakah, we can begin to discover that what we consider to be tzedakah may not fit the parameters of what our sacred texts are actually demanding of us.

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In the Shadow of the Twin Towers

In the Shadow of the Twin Towers

Sep 10, 2011 By Judith Hauptman | Commentary | Ki Tetzei

As we approach the 10th anniversary of this tragedy, we can search in Parashat Ki Tetzei for a way to respond to it. The parashah ends with the verses about Amalek’s attack on the Israelites, shortly after they left Egypt (Deut. 25:17–19). The Torah says, “Remember what Amalek did to you . . . when you were famished and weary, [they] cut down the stragglers in your rear” (v. 18). According to the JPS translation, the words v’lo yarei Elohim (and not fearing God) at the very end of this verse refer not to the Israelites, as one might think, but to Amalek. The enemy did not fear the Divine, and so they attacked. The paragraph goes on to say that when the people of Israel reach their own land and are at peace, they should blot out all memory of Amalek itself, but always remember what Amalek did.

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