Virtual Talmud
February 2007 Archives

Rabbi Stern compares Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Haman, and there’s certainly reason for comparison–but there’s also at least one important difference. In the Purim story, it is striking that Haman displays a level of hatred and arrogance that is […]

There is no end to the amount of homilies that rabbis will spin out of the story of Purim. Pending what’s in the New York Times that week, Vashti, Esther and Mordechai all become transformed into real-life characters. Usually this […]

Rabbi Stern’s reference to the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance is right on the mark in our discussion of the place of women in today’s Jewish power structure. This week’s Jewish Week contains a front-page story on how that organization has […]

Purim is amazing in terms of the importance it grants to women in leadership positions. So I guess it only normal for me to ask, so where are our Esther’s today? Sadly, in the Jewish community today there remains a […]

No one is who they appear to be in the Book of Esther, which we read on the upcoming holiday of Purim. Vashti seems an all-powerful queen, yet she overestimates her power and is removed from office, probably not pleasantly, […]

I appreciate Rabbi Grossman’s defense of the practice of taking multiple and potentially contradictory positions. Jewish tradition is based on the principle of eilu v’eilu–that conflicting positions each have standing and integrity in their own right, provided that the argument […]

When thinking about the recent decision on the part of the Conservative Movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards to allow gay ordination and marriage, I try to remind myself that I really don’t like criticizing people and institutions when […]

Rabbi Waxman is correct that the recent decision by the Conservative movement to pass two diametrically opposite positions, one permitting and one prohibiting same sex relations, does in fact leave the decision to local rabbis and their congregations. This is […]

On December 6, the Conservative Movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards–known in short as the Law Committee–passed a number of contradictory teshuvot (legal opinions) that variously allow and disallow same-sex commitment ceremonies, participation of gays and lesbians in synagogue […]

In response to Rabbi Stern’s post on whether liberal Jews fuel anti-Semitism by criticizing Israel, Rabbi Grossman writes: When Jewish intellectuals confuse their right to criticize specific policies of current or past Israeli governments with questioning the legitimacy of having […]