Virtual Talmud

Virtual Talmud

January 1970 Archives

The Bloodied Face of God

Rabbi Grossman asks where God was found in last week’s horrific massacre at Virginia Tech, and I was touched by her portrayal of God made manifest in the acts of heroism and self-sacrifice by students and teachers at Virginia Tech, […]


Where was God During the VT Shooting?

posted by Virtual Talmud

The terrible tragedy at Virginia Tech raises a number of questions, but the ultimate question is: where was God when this happened? This is not a new question. We are forced to ask ourselves it in the face of every […]


Defining a Jewish State

I understand Rabbi Grossman’s discomfort with including a person in Israel’s government who isn’t committed to the notion of Israel as a Jewish state, but I also think that the term “Jewish state” is so vague and amorphous that it […]


Interfaith Dialogue & Israel’s Future

As we prepare to celebrate Yom Haatzmaut the question brewing around many political circles is: Is there a Muslim partner even worth dialoguing with? Recently Gary Bauer, the one-time Republican presidential candidate and Christian activist, and Mort Klein, the head […]

A Wolf Guarding the Sheep

posted by Virtual Talmud

I applaud Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for appointing a Muslim Israeli Arab to the Cabinet. What a contrast to the surrounding Arab nations, many of whom refuse to allow Jews to be citizens. However, I disagree with Rabbi Waxman […]

Advancing the Jewish State

Recently Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert created a controversy by naming Raleb Majadele, an Arab-Israeli Muslim, to his cabinet – the first time a Muslim has held such a high-ranking position in Israel’s government. Predictably, reactions were strong. Many moderate […]

Restitution As Confession of Guilt

posted by Virtual Talmud

I agree with Rabbi Waxman that there can be no real restitution for the horrors of the Holocaust. However, restitution is important for another reason: the agreement by Germany to pay restitution signified that Germany publicly accepted responsibility for its […]

True Justice Means More Than Restitution

In response to Rabbi Stern’s post, it is impossible to think about righting the wrongs of the Holocaust because the cruelty, barbarism, and evil on such an unimaginable scale preclude any talk of justice. The work of the Claims Conference […]

Holocaust Restitution & the Claims Conference

In 1952 the Prime Minster of Israel, David ben Gurion made one of the gutsiest and hardest political decisions ever to have been made, he accepted restitution funds from West Germany –a country that had just murdered six million Jews. […]

Virtue Is Its Own Reward

Rabbi Grossman writes movingly about the reasons she abstains from chametz on Passover. As a Reconstructionist Jew, I too believe that God doesn’t intervene in the world to punish wrongdoers or those who violate the commandments, and yet I still […]

We Should Make ‘Choosing’ the Focus

Rabbi Grossman asserts that she does not eat bread on Passover because she “loves God.” Her metaphor pulls at my heart but it also pulls on my brain. Do we really believe that God asks us to practice mitzvot in […]

Does God Really Care If We Eat Bread on Passover?

posted by Virtual Talmud

The Torah prohibits eating bread or any form of leavened product, chametz, during Passover. The penalty for eating or even owning chametz is severe: being cut off from the people Israel (Exodus 12:15). Such a punishment sounds descriptive rather proscriptive: […]

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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