I am a rabbi who has been sober for 13 years and am involved in helping Jews who are suffering from addiction or the pain of seeing a loved one or family member suffer. I have spoken on panels for UJA-Federation about substance abuse in the Jewish community and am a rabbi for JACS (Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons and Significant Others) and a member of its board as well.
We are writing in response to Gary Rosenblatt’s column, “Back Off On The Bacchanalia” (April 1), which grossly misrepresents the appeal, mission and reality of TribeFest, the recent three-day conference in Las Vegas in which 1,300 North American Jews ages 22 to 45 discussed Jewish issues, explored their role in the community and engaged in Jewish life.
‘In every generation each person should see themselves as if they personally were part of the exodus from Egypt.” So says the Talmud (Pesachim 116b), but what does that really mean? Is it possible to do as most classical commentaries suggest — engage in a psycho-spiritual transformation which crosses the boundaries of time and space, to actually see ourselves as if we are leaving Egypt?
By disparaging the U.S. government’s support of demands that Poland compensate Jews for property stolen from them during the Holocaust, Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski exacerbated the firestorm created by his government’s peremptory decision to walk away from long-promised restitution legislation for spurious economic reasons.
Hotel workers are among some of the most poor and abused laborers in America today. Over 90 percent of hotel housekeepers have reported suffered work-related pain due to the demands of the job. How can the Jewish tradition inform an authentic Jewish ethic for hotel guests?
Last week’s census data on the explosive growth of the Latino community and a poll released this week by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding points to a significant challenge for Jewish community relations officials in the years to come.
Now 16 percent of the overall population and growing rapidly, the Latino community is coming into its own culturally and politically — and by rights should be a critical ally of a much smaller Jewish community.
Despite reports this week that Hamas and Fatah are renewing talks about possible reconciliation, there are still huge obstacles to the creation of a unity government that will bring Gaza and the West Bank back under a single Palestinian Authority. But as long as that is a possibility, the Obama administration needs well-thought-out contingency plans for a development that would pose major international and domestic political challenges.
The Talmud relates that God gave the Torah on Sinai because Sinai is a small mountain. It is intended to teach us humility; great things can come from unassuming places.
If this is true, asks a later sage, why not give the Torah in a valley? That would really teach humility! His answer is that for a valley to be humble is no great feat. The key is to be humble if you are a mountain. Thinking yourself worthless is not humility. To understand that you have gifts and blessings and yet remain modest is an achievement of character.