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Virtual Talmud

Virtual Talmud

November 2007 Archives

November (Peace) Surprise?

I took part in a phone conference earlier this week with Gil Hoffman, the chief political correspondent for the Jerusalem Post to hear his reflections on the Annapolis conference–a conference for which expectations were so low that everyone is coming […]

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Give Peace a Chance

Rabbi Stern has many good reasons to be pessimistic about the ultimate outcome of the peace discussions begun this week at Annapolis. However, not everything appears as dark to me as it does to Rabbi Stern. Why? For several reasons. […]

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Concerning Annapolis, I Am Not Going to Hold My Breath

In theory the Annapolis summit between Israelis and Palestinians sounds like a good idea. It’s been a really long time since Israelis and Palestinians substantively talked about the possibility of peace. It’s been an even longer time since the Bush […]

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More Thoughts on Health Care

I appreciate Rabbi Grossman’s overview of Jewish texts pertaining to the mandate to heal. I would add Chapter 25 of Leviticus which, while not directly relating to health, speaks to the question of obligations to those in need that are […]

The Jewish Source for Universal Health Care

Rabbi Grossman has the right idea when she states, “As Jews we seldom have one position on any issue. Certainly, the idea of health insurance did not even exist at the time of those writing our great codes of Jewish […]

Is There ‘a Jewish Position’ on the Health Care Debate?

According to an article in this Sunday’s Washington Post, “The debate over how to overhaul the nation’s health-care system is underscoring a dramatic chasm between the two parties, as Democrats battle over which candidate will most quickly expand health insurance […]

When Soldiers Pay for the Sins of Those Who Send Them

In memory of our valiant soldiers who gave their lives in this travesty of a war in Iraq, in honor of all those who have come home wounded in body and spirit, and in mourning for the destruction of lives […]

There’s No Jewish Position on the Iraq War

I don’t think Rabbi Waxman meant to say as much, but just to be clear: there is no Jewish position on the Iraq war. There are good wars, bad wars and complicated wars but there are few if any Jewish […]

Reflections for Veterans Day

Today many schools and government offices are closed in observance of Veterans Day, a time to honor and thank those who have so bravely served their country. Veterans Day is always a solemn occasion–and never more so than when members […]

Why the Jewish Poor Get No Respect

It’s interesting even to be raising the subject of Jewish poverty: So much of the world reflexively associates Jews with wealth, and in some cases great wealth, the sort that leads to ugly displays of conspicuous consumption and one-upmanship at […]

Is Poverty a Jewish Issue?

There is a growing gap between rich and poor in this country, which should concern us, as Jews and as Americans. In the olden–i.e., Biblical–days, the gap between rich and poor was regularly realigned. Every seven years, during the sabbatical […]

The Jewish Response to Haredi Poverty

Even with all Israel’s political handicaps, its economy has performed remarkably well. Much credit should be given to Bibi Netanyahu for creating a strong business class and attracting foreign investors like Warren Buffet. So it might come as a surprise […]

Parents: The Reason Hebrew Schools Fail

In theory Hebrew schools are a great idea. A heavy dose of secular subjects in the morning and a nice light sprinkling of Jewish wisdom in afternoon sounds like a fine balance for the well-rounded Jewish child. But, as we […]

Rethinking Our Religious Schools’ Missions

I found Rabbi Grossman’s stories of the successes in her synagogue’s religious school inspiring, even as I found the criteria she used to evaluate success perplexing. Our synagogue’s religious school–a thriving and engaging school run by a dynamic education director–has […]

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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