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Virtual Talmud

Virtual Talmud

June 2006 Archives

Force Alone Cannot Win This Battle

Former Prime Minister of Israel Golda Meir was once asked if she could ever forgive the Arabs for seeking Israel’s destruction. She replied by saying that she could forgive them for killing her sons, but she couldn’t forgive them for […]

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No Responsibility in Gaza

Israel’s response to the recent kidnapping of Cpl. Gilad Shalit by invading Gaza is nothing shocking or all that new. It is what is: the latest incarnation of the cycle of violence that continues to cripple the Middle East. Is […]

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Winning the Battle, Winning the War

The Hamas raid last week against an army post in Israel, with the murder of two soldiers, the wounding of a third, and the kidnapping of 19-year-old Gilad Shalit, is a classic example of the tactical jujitsu that terrorists have […]

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Cremation in the Face of Hitler’s Ovens

I took my seventh graders to the U.S. Holocaust Museum the other day. We stopped in front of the crematorium door as the students took in what it meant: that the Nazis burned the bodies of their mostly Jewish victims […]

The Ways We Mourn

Of all the issues I engage with my congregants around, I find shiva–Jewish mourning practices–to be among the strangest and most challenging. The vast majority of my congregants –like the overwhelming majority of Jews in this country today–don’t understand themselves […]

The Ritual of Silence

One of the many rituals surrounding death in the Jewish tradition is the practice of going to a mourner’s house during a seven-day mourning period called “shiva.” The mourner sits on a low stool and he/she is comforted by friends, […]

No! The Death Penalty is Morally Bankrupt

On today’s New York Times op-ed page, David Dow writes a very interesting but ultimately morally flawed article on the death penalty. In short, he suggests: Instead of focusing on the issue of whether or not someone convicted of the […]

The Right Thing to Do

The January election of a Hamas-led government in the Palestinian territories immediately led to stern resolve on the part of the international community not to have dealings with or assist this regime–and rightly so. Hamas has been and continues to […]

Give Aid and Punish Hamas

I can’t stand people who invoke moral obligations regarding providing humanitarian aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority. I am sorry, but a group that demands my destruction has no right to make moral and ethical claims on me or anybody […]

Are We Our Brothers’ Keepers Even When They Hate Us?

If someone wants to destroy you, are you obligated to help them? How humanitarian is aid when it supports hate? This stopped being a theoretical question when Hamas was elected to lead the Palestinian people, because Hamas continues to be […]

A Net Gain

In the past few years, an increasing number of allegations about rabbinic sexual impropriety have come to light, beginning with charges against Rabbi Baruch Lanner and more recently against Rabbi Mordechai Gafni of Bayit Chadash in Israel and Rabbi Yehuda […]

Saving the Sacred From Itself

Recently, there has been a spate of sexual abuse cases surfacing within the Orthodox community. These cases have come to the fore primarily through the constant pressure of blogs. Blogs are an important check for religious democracy. Traditional communities by […]

Sex, Lies, and the Internet

Should the Internet be used to publicize the names and alleged improprieties of alleged sexual predators? Is such use justified to protect victims and potential victims from sexual predators even if it runs roughshod over the requirement to protect innocent […]

Previous Posts

The Task Is Never Finished
It has been heartwarming to read the warm responses to Rabbi Waxman's post asking Beliefnet to reconsider its decision to cancel Virtual Talmud. Virtual Talmud offered an alternative model for internet communications: civil discourse pursued in ...

posted 12:31:46pm Apr. 03, 2008 | read full post »

Some Parting Reflections
Well, loyal readers, all good things must come to an end and we’ve been informed that this particular experiment in blogging as a forum for creating wide-ranging discussion on topics of interest to contemporary Jews has run its course. Maybe ...

posted 1:00:29pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

Obama's Lesson and The Jewish Community
There are few times in this blog’s history when I have felt that Rabbi Grossman was one hundred percent correct in her criticisms of my ideas. However, a few weeks ago she called me out for citing a few crack websites on Barak Obama’s ...

posted 12:09:08pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

The Future of Race Relations
As a post-baby boomer, it is interesting to me to see how much of today’s conversation about racial relations is still rooted in the 1960s experience and rhetoric of the civil rights struggle, and the disenchantment that followed. Many in the ...

posted 4:04:41pm Mar. 25, 2008 | read full post »

Wright and Wrong of Race and Jews
Years ago, as a rabbinical student, I was one of a group of rabbinical students who visited an African American seminary in Atlanta. My fellow rabbinical students and I expected an uplifting weekend of interfaith sharing like we had experienced ...

posted 12:50:11pm Mar. 24, 2008 | read full post »

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