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Editorial & Opinion | Musings

04/16/2012 - 20:00 | | Musings

The Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas talks about the “meaningful world into which the face of the Other has introduced me.” For Levinas, our ethics are a result of appreciating the existence of another human being, a human face, before us. By ignoring others we shirk our abiding responsibility.

04/09/2012 - 20:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

We are surrounded by certainty. After a lifetime of finding out how wrong I can be about things I used to be sure of — including myself — I am amazed by the tub-thumping certainty of people around me. From politicians to pundits to preachers to — well, everyone — people seem incapable of entertaining the possibility they may be wrong. No wonder the Talmud tells us, “Teach your tongue to say ‘I don’t know.’”

04/02/2012 - 20:00 | | Musings

 

Recently I read an article citing studies that the more power one attains inside an organization, the less empathetic one becomes to those who have less power. Power, in other words, dulls our compassion. So permit me to slightly reframe a message I wrote about Passover several years ago: This Passover, don’t only imagine yourself a slave — imagine yourself an Egyptian.

03/26/2012 - 20:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

I know of many descriptions of the Jewish people: talented, beleaguered, stiff-necked, enduring — but rarely “joyous.” Most people don’t say — “Jews, now there is a happy people!” Our holidays reinforce this. On Pesach we celebrate leaving slavery — to go to a desert. On Purim we rejoice because we were not killed. Not exactly gleeful.

03/19/2012 - 20:00 | Musings

There are some colorful anecdotes about “helicopter parenting,” the practice of parental hovering to monitor children’s every movement. Colleges complain that when students matriculate, they are often lost — they don’t know how to budget their time, handle disappointment, cook their own meals, and even laundry defeats them.

03/12/2012 - 20:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

‘The jealousy of scholars increases wisdom.” (Talmud Bava Bathra 21a.)