Virtual Talmud
August 2006 Archives

My friend Jenny Moyers is not the most connected Jew ever to walk the earth. She doesn’t belong to a synagogue and does not celebrate any of the Jewish holidays in her home. She seems to regard my rabbinic career […]

Ah… summer in New York City: Central Park concerts, café life, sweaty subways, and who can forget those smiley young boys and girls passing out Jews for Jesus pamphlets. Every year they come with more zeal and more ambition, peddling […]

If you believe Jesus is the messiah, died for anyone else’s sins, is God’s chosen son, or any other dogma of Christian belief, you are not Jewish. You are Christian. Period. We Jews may not like to admit it, since […]

Israeli and American Jews are now scratching their heads over the war in Lebanon. Oh, how quickly political tides change. Just a few weeks ago, everyone was standing squarely behind Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert; today everyone is calling for […]

In the aftermath of the war in Lebanon, Israelis have begun a round of soul-searching into what went wrong. How was it that Israel’s vaunted military–the pride of a nation and unquestionably the best-equipped army in the region–could barely make […]

Reading the news the other day, I felt like Frodo Baggins does as things look grim in “Lord of the Rings.” It seems we have our own Two Towers. On one hand, we have the Shiites: Hezbollah, rather than being […]

It seems that the U.S.-backed ceasefire in Lebanon, while fragile, is holding for the moment. I pray that it does, and that families on both sides of the border will be able to return to their homes, rebuilding, and trying […]

A few weeks ago, we read in our weekly Torah reading the command to do what is right and good. The Hebrew word is yashar, which literally means “straight.” The verse is understood as the command to go beyond the […]

Walter Benjamin, in his essay “Critique of Violence,” discuses the idea of divine biblical justice. Benjamin points out that in the Bible everyone gets what he or she deserves (though it does not seem so commensurate to us; even Job […]

If there is one thing this war has taught Israelis, it’s that without America they are nothing. Could things change? Could America grow weary of Israel? Perhaps. But as of now America is Israel’s chief supporter. America has single-handedly protected […]