Virtual Talmud

Virtual Talmud

January 1970 Archives

Protecting the Life of the Mother

Rabbi Stern misrepresents Hadassah’s position in supporting choice. Hadassah, the Conservative Movement’s United Synagogue of America, Women’s League and a host of other Jewish organizations support choice because choice is the only appropriate civic option, allowing all peoples in our […]


Civil Law Isn’t Always About Right and Wrong

At one level, Rabbi Stern’s argument employs some seriously dubious logic – if the essence of life is being able to freely make the right choice without any outside restraints, then we should legalize murder and simply encourage people to […]


Judaism & the Wholesale Ban on Abortion

It has now been 35 years since the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade. By a margin of 7-2 the court ruled that abortion was a private matter and that privacy was a constitutionally protected right. The ruling sparked […]


The Gluttonous American Child

This past I week I attended a Tu B’Shevat environmental sedar/symposium led by my friend, Rabbi Charlie Buckholtz, at The Samuel Bronfman Foundation. Charlie suggested that more than anything else our treatment toward the environment stems from a certain attitude […]

The Demands of Interdependence

Rabbi Grossman’s distinction between actions we do because we wish to and those we do because we are commanded to is a vitally important one. Vice President Cheney famously asserted that conservation was a personal virtue–that is, a nice thing […]

Is It a Mitzvah to Carbon Offset?

Monday night begins Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year for Trees. According to Jewish tradition, God judges trees’ productivity for the coming year. Our trees are in trouble and so is our world. That should worry us every day of […]

The Writers Strike, the Political Pundits, and We, the People

With the writers on strike, Hollywood has moved away from distorting our social relationships to our political ones. We all know the typical Hollywood love story: boy pursues girl, girl pushes away boy, eventually girl falls for boy who by […]

Shul, Shabbat and Hanging Chads

Will the scheduling of Nevada’s caucuses during Saturday Sabbath services be the “hanging chad” of the 2008 election? After all, the top candidates in both parties seem to be running neck-and-neck, so much so that every state primary election counts. […]

Caucusing on the Sabbath Is a Problem

Again and again we heard it as the analysts scratched their heads and did their post-mortems of the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries: “Turnout is key.” In the party primaries and caucuses, when the voting is generally confined to the […]

Israel’s Conversion Stalemate

Rabbi Stern makes an important point in advocating that the moderate Orthodox stop relegating a monopoly to the haredi over religious policy in Israel. They certainly should help Yisrael Beiteinu’s efforts to fast track conversions in Israel for the 300,000 […]

Conversion in Israel: Russians vs. Rabbis

This past week the Israeli political party Yisrael Beiteinu once again tried to introduce legislation that would ease up the conversion process in Israel. The proposal, like all other such initiatives, will inevitably be shelved by the right wing religious […]

More Wishes for 2008

I appreciate Rabbi Grossman’s wishes for 2008 and would like to add a few of my own (in no particular order): • President Bush becomes invested enough in Mideast peace to keep pressure on the Israelis and Palestinians to talk […]

Top 10 Wishes for 2008

To paraphrase someone else who was called upon to make predictions, “I am not a prophet nor the daughter of a prophet” (Amos 7:14). Therefore I will not be joining those who make predictions, serious or otherwise, about what the […]

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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