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Editorial & Opinion | Musings

12/26/2011 - 19:00 | | Musings

Each year we are privileged to see Jews accomplish extraordinary things in science, art, literature and other subjects. Many of them strongly identify as Jews, but for many, Judaism plays little or no role in their lives. Rav Kook once asked a poignant question: When will Jews who are great also be great Jews?

12/19/2011 - 19:00 | | Musings

British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks tells an extraordinary story of his visit to Kosovo during the war. He interviewed Sir Michael Jackson, head of NATO forces in Pristina, Kosovo, where Serbian Christians had attacked mosques and now feared reprisals. In the midst of this tense atmosphere, Jackson thanked him for what the Jewish community had done — they had taken charge of the 23 primary schools in the city. Because of the Jewish community, said Jackson, the children were still being educated.

How many Jews were there in Pristina? Eleven.

12/12/2011 - 19:00 | | Musings


In his autobiography “Anti-Memoirs,” French writer André Malraux tells of running across an old friend with whom he fought in the war. The friend has become a parish priest and Malraux, seeing his compatriot anew after two decades, asks him what he has learned from years of listening to people’s confessions.

12/05/2011 - 19:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings


There is a large literature of “doubleness” — Dr. Jekyll and Mr.

Hyde, Poe’s William Wilson, Dostoevsky’s “The Double,” James Hogg’s “Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner,” among many others. The idea that we are all split is an attractive explanation of our conflicting impulses.

11/28/2011 - 19:00 | | Musings


In this age of deception and fraud, it is worthwhile to remember the unequivocal voice of the Jewish tradition. As Maimonides rules: “It is forbidden to mislead people in business or to deceive them. This is equally true whether it involves gentiles or Jews. Thus when one knows that there is a defect in one’s merchandise, one must so inform the purchaser. And it is even forbidden to deceive people in words only” (M.T. Hil. Mekhira 18).

11/21/2011 - 19:00 | | Musings


On Thanksgiving we are grateful for what we have and mindful of what others lack. It is a good time to ask — what do we really believe?

Some people believe in a God who grants good to the one who prays most or behaves best. Such people might wish to read the book of Job, or look out the window; they will discover that ease and anguish are unevenly distributed in this world and follow no discernible pattern of reward.