Blogs

Passover For Gentiles

 With Passover coming, I wanted to point out a few interesting articles about non-Jewish guests at the seder.

This humorous essay on Tablet chronicles one man's attempt to prepare an appropriate seder appetizer. My favorite part:

Looking For A Seder In Baghdad?

"I happen to be in Iraq and am looking for a place to spend Passover," read the e-mail message I received Monday night. That got my attention.

It was from a Jewish woman from Washington, D.C., who said she had arrived in Baghdad two days earlier as a consultant for USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development). She wrote she had come on short notice and had "no time to plan for Passover, aside from bringing a couple of boxes of matzah ball soup mix. No one else who is here is Jewish."

The Shabbat Scooter

The other day I received a call from a reporter at the Detroit News. She was just about to submit a story about a motorized scooter that can be used by observant Jews on Shabbat, but she wanted a local rabbi's comments first. It was fortuitous that she contacted me since I am already familiar with the Israeli-based Zomet Institute, which partnered with the scooter company, but I have also seen this Sabbath-acceptable scooter in action since I know Michael Balkin, who owns one of these scooters and was interviewed for the article.

Advice For Obama From Menachem Begin

With Benyamin Netanyahu coming to the United States, so soon after the tantrum by Hillary Clinton and Jeremiah Wright’s 20-year congregant, we’re reminded of Menachem Begin’s response back in 1981 when a previous administration tried to slap Israel like a dog one time too often. Check this out from Begin.

One take on AIPAC policy conference, a fake press release and some flaky demonstrations

You can't turn around today without reading blogs and news items about the AIPAC policy conference, underway in Washington cavernous Convention Center; one of the most interesting comes from the Atlantic's prolific Jeff Goldberg.

The Making Of Passover Heroes

When I was a kid, I'd  often spend the Sunday before Passover with other yeshiva kids packing up boxes full of matzah, eggs, grape, juice, gefilte fish and other staples to help the needy observe Passover.

Yossi Klein Halevi: Obama vs. Jerusalem

 Excellent piece by Yossi Klein Halvi in The New Republic on the crisis in Israel-US relations. Jerusalem “feels like a war zone” again. Was Obama’s confrontation with Israel premeditated?

Avi Weiss vs Avi Weiss

 Avi Weiss’ main point for having a woman on his rabbinic staff at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale is that “90 percent” of what a rabba (woman rabbi) does is the same as what a rabbi does. In Avi’s shul, a rabba gives sermons from the pulpit, teaches classes, visits the sick, provides spiritual and halachic guidance, and works with bat mitzvah girls, and Sara Hurwitz does that all quite nicely. So why not give her honor equal to her colleagues who are men?

Shabbat Unplugged

-This morning at the JCC, I was hurriedly checking my email on my phone when an elderly gentleman came up to me and asked what I do with that "thing" on Shabbos.

Reform's Intermarriage Statement: Historic or Ho-Hum?

My initial reaction last week upon reading the press release/announcement from the Central Conference of American Rabbis’ Task Force on the Challenges of Intermarriage for the Reform Rabbi, was, “It took three years of study of deliberation to come up with THIS?”

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