I am writing this from Paris, where I am participating in the mission of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. We are here for five days, and will be moving on for five days of meeting in Israel this coming Sunday.
One of the more complicated and persistent professional issues that congregational rabbis confront on an ongoing basis is how to establish boundaries that might govern relationships with congregants. What is the proper balance between friend, private person, and authority figure?
A friend who read my article last week, on the subject of social and sexual pathologies in the Jewish community and the tendency to try and hide them, sent me an e-mail that could not conceal his frustration. Why is it, he asked, that given the rather brutal treatment that a number of children receive in the book of Genesis, the Torah itself does not address the issue of child abuse?
After just about thirty years of using a personal computer, this is the great technical wisdom that I have gained: most of the glitches that I encounter with software, and even with the machine itself, can be remedied by re-starting the computer.
Of the many critical insights I gained by studying the writings of the late theologian and philosopher Abraham Joshua Heschel, one that had a particularly profound impact on me related to the challenge of talking about God.
Those of us living in America- particularly residents of the so-called “swing states” so desperately coveted by presidential candidates- might still fairly be classified as “recovering” from the recent November election. After all, it’s been only a relatively few weeks since the election itself, and the weeks and months leading up to Election Day were nothing short of brutal. Relentless commercials, coupled with endless debates, countless talking heads, and a twenty-four hour news cycle, combined to make us all want to scream “please stop!”
Being here in Israel on a brief but intense four-day mission, and given all that is going on right now as a result of Israel's announced intention to begin new construction in so-called area E-1, between Ramallah and Ma'aleh Adumim, the title of my article must seem strange.