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Virtual Talmud

Virtual Talmud

July 2007 Archives

Intermarriage: No Easy Answers

It’s one of the most challenging situations that faces many American rabbis today, especially in the progressive movements: a young couple approaches a rabbi and asks about officiating at a wedding. One partner is Jewish and one is not. The […]

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The Way Forward for Our Youth

It’s interesting to see the tension between Rabbi Stern and Rabbi Grossman’s posts–the former portrays himself as the purveyor of substance and the latter as the purveyor of sizzle. What we need, of course, is both. It goes without saying […]

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Retooling Our Mission to Our Youth

For all the efforts that are going into attracting and retaining the next generation of Jews, one step is sorely missing: adequate and effective training for youth leaders. Most congregations hire staff for youth groups who are self-taught. Perhaps they […]

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Outreach and Real Spiritual Growth

I love Jewish outreach, I support it all the way. But sometimes, in the hope of pleasing and bringing someone into the fold, it can become hurtful to that person. Recently, I was having a conversation with a “leader” in […]

Tisha B’Av: Looking for God in the Dark

Both Rabbi Grossman and Rabbi Stern grapple with the question of God’s role in calamitous events that befall us, either as individuals or as a people. If God is loving and good, it is difficult to understand these catastrophic occurrences–either […]

Tisha B’Av: The Blame Game

My friend and colleague, Rabbi Leon Morris of the Skirball Center of Adult Jewish Learning, asked me to sit on a panel Tuesday, July 24, (the day of Tisha B’Av), entitled “Because of Our Sins: Do We Blame Ourselves Too […]

Tisha B’Av: A Time for Mourning

Centuries ago, our sages ruled that the destruction of the First and Second Temples would be commemorated together on Tisha B’Av. Early after World War Two, some suggested that Tisha B’Av also serve as the memorial to mark the Holocaust. […]

Fundamentalist Relativism: A Bad Choice

Rabbi Stern’s recent comments on Pope Benedict and the direction in which he is taking the Catholic Church gives good cause for alarm. On the one hand, the Pope is certainly well within his rights (and role) to assert that […]

The Pope: Fundamentalist Relativism

Pope Benedict has once again taken steps to roll back the strides made by Vatican II regarding interfaith dialogue. On July 11, seemingly out of nowhere he decided to tell the world that the only true Church is the Catholic […]

Why Jews Needed Jesus

In the past few years there have emerged some very new and trailblazing studies on Jesus and his relationship to Judaism. Pope Bendict in his newly published book, “Jesus of Nazareth”, spent 18 pages addressing Jewish scholar Jacob Nuesner’s opposition […]

What Can Jews Believe About Jesus?

There are some things Jews can believe about Jesus. We can believe that he was a Jewish man who lived during the first century CE. He was well versed in the ways of the Pharisees, who he often quotes. (Do […]

Why Jews Don’t Need Jesus

My freshman year of college, I was accosted by a classmate who lived across the hall in our dorm, a born-again Christian whose fervor and certainty I found both compelling and disturbing. Learning that I was Jewish, she immediately expressed […]

Jews, Money and the Military

When I lived in New York, the only congregants I knew in the military were veterans from World War Two and a few from Korea and Vietnam. However the demographics are very different where I now live, in the greater […]

A Legacy of Service

I’m sitting at my computer following our local Independence Day parade, where veterans from World War II, Korea and Vietnam all received well-deserved recognition and applause from the onlookers, myself included. On a day when we stop to appreciate the […]

Support the War…from Your Home?

The Orthodox group Agudath Israel recently released a statement expressing their strong and continued support for the Iraq war. The statement comes after consultation with its rabbinic leadership. Excerpts of the text read as follows: ….Agudath Israel of America believes […]

What’s the Game Plan?

Just when you get tired of reading the same depressing Middle East story, a new even more depressing one emerges. Rabbi Grossman hits it on the head when she points to the failure of leadership surrounding the recent developments in […]

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 postings over a time frame of days (rather than moments

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 it’s that blogging doesn’t lend itself so well to t

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 advisors. She was right. I never should have cited those web

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 black and Jewish communities look to this period either

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 in visits to other (largely white) seminaries. We were

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

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