Each morning a father enters our morning minyan with his two daughters. Before he drops them off at our school, he and his daughters put some money in the tzedakah box. One morning another worshiper, Norm Pell, approached me and reminded me of a beautiful midrash. When the women and men of Israel gave tzedakah, what did their children do? They watched, and learned what it is to help those in need.
What is there to say about a Catholic Church that has been engaged in dialogue with American Jewish groups for decades yet, in recent months, seems shamefully unaware of Jewish sensitivities – or shamefully indifferent?
Talking about energy independence is easy on the campaign trail, but difficult for Washington policymakers, who must balance conflicting priorities in an environment in which there are no perfect solutions.
That’s the dilemma the Obama administration faces as it recalibrates the nation’s energy and environmental policies. Among the shifts announced this week are toughened fuel-efficiency standards and expanded offshore oil and gas exploration that may open up vast tracts to drilling.
I worry that with each passing year in this country, Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, is quietly and gradually becoming obsolete.
You don’t need an actuary to know that the number of survivors of the Holocaust, which took place between 65 and 71 years ago, is declining rapidly, and thus the authentic voices of those who lived through the horrors are diminished every day.
What is the Kohen’s most important role? Whenever we think of a Kohen (a priest) our thoughts immediately go to the cultic, the sacrifices and the Temple. Most associate the priest’s role with the ritual. While these responsibilities are critical, Parshat Shmini teaches us that the Kohen has what is, perhaps, an even more fundamental role.
Golda Meir had a technique for fundraising in Israel. Gather a hundred of the wealthiest people in the community, she advised, and lock them in a room until each pledges a designated sum. Tell them that if anyone refuses to contribute, that person’s name and refusal will be spread around town.
Much has been written of late regarding the Jewish Agency’s new focus on Jewish peoplehood and what that means for the broader Jewish world. Recent articles have charged that the Jewish Agency’s understanding of Jewish peoplehood is tantamount to secular, ethnic Judaism and that will be inadequate as the basis of strong Jewish identity.
By the time we have cleared the dishes from our seders, those of us who live in the United States should have returned our 2010 U.S. Census forms. Completing the census is mandatory and if you failed to comply by April 1, you will be visited by a census-taker. As a matter of law, you can be fined for failing to submit the form or refusing to answer the required questions. In the end, we are all counted.
In his recent piece in Commentary magazine, Jack Wertheimer, a professor of American Jewish history at the Jewish Theological Seminary, tackled a very worthy and critical topic: the disturbingly high cost of Jewish life in America. Unfortunately, he also introduced a puzzling straw argument that the Jewish community’s embrace of service and service-learning programs has undermined its ability to make day school education, Jewish camping, synagogue dues and JCC membership more affordable.
God’s first words to the prophet Ezekiel are: “Son of man, stand on your feet that I may speak to you” (Ezek. 2:1). Reaching our full human height we are most ready to encounter God.
When a Jew has suffered a loss and tears a garment in mourning, the tearing takes place while the mourner stands upright. Confronting the pain and puzzlement of loss, standing upright signifies dignity and hope.