I have complained about Presidential Inaugurals for years, and I have finally decided to write the letter--my own, as it were, “Inaugural Address”. I love watching the inauguration of our presidents; I’m awed by the pageantry and inspired by words that invariably invoke the best of what this country is, was and strives to become. Through speeches and poetry and song, I am reminded of the enduring nature of our founding documents, which contain lofty notions that transcend even the humanity and wisdom of the authors themselves--notions of inclusion, community and freedom that have served us for more than two hundred years.
Ever since the old AmericaOnline, people have used the Internet as a way to learn more about religion and to engage with likeminded co-religionists. The Senior Religion Editor of Huffington Post, Paul Raushenbush, published an interesting article about the search for religion on the Web. He writes that "Religion is one of the hottest areas of the Internet because religion is one of the most intense and contested arenas of human relations and ideas." He's right.
I was taken aback by Rabbi Hershel Schachter's article, "Experimental Judaism: Playing with Fire". It paints a picture of Christianity that was accurate before 1965, but which has undergone a sea change--one might even say a theological earthquake. This occurred as a result of the miraculous establishment of the State of Israel and the realization by honest and authoritative Church leaders that the Holocaust could not have taken place had it not been for the seeds of anti Semitism sown by Christian teachings over the last two millennia.
The Board of Directors of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations
The Board of Directors of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations (www.ccjr.us), an association of thirty-five academic centers and institutes in the United States and Canada devoted to enhancing understanding between Jews and Christians, objects to Rabbi Herschel Schachter's recent polemical claims and blatant inaccuracies, published in a d’var Torah for Parshat Re’eh on torahweb.org.
If you have anything like a normal human heart, you have probably fallen in love with Jeremy Lin. I have yet to find any criticism of the break-out New York Knick star—or at least any that doesn’t feel merely contrarian or just plain cruel. Almost every ethnic group seems to identity with his story too, and how couldn’t they?
In his usually precise and incisive way, critic Adam Kirsch tackles a thorny issue: should Christians read their Bible like Jews read theirs? The occasion is a new book--"The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book"--by Case Western religion professor Timothy Beal, who is also the child of evangelical parents.
Tonight the New York Philharmonic begins the first of three "Elijah" performances. They should all be magnificent, on purely aesthetic grounds. But there's a deep theological divide embedded in this work too, and one that has profound implications for our understanding of how Jewish a composer -- if one at all -- Felix Mendelssohn was.
‘Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam’ at New York Public Library:
The joy, and the complexity, of text.
One approaches “Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam,” a new exhibit of religious texts at The New York Public Library, with caution. The animating idea might cause you to roll your eyes at its surface naiveté: at a time of heightened tensions among Muslims, Jews and Christians, the curators suggest we should emphasize what we all share in common.