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Virtual Talmud

Virtual Talmud

Israel and Palestine Archives

Brief Reflection on Thursday’s Tragedy in Jerusalem

I share with the Beliefnet community a message I sent to my congregation last night: The escalating violence in Israel has not escaped anybody’s notice over the past week, beginning with the killing of a Sderot resident by a Hamas-launched […]

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The Bombing and Bloodbath in God’s House

A Palestinian gunmen today walked into Merkaz Harav Yeshiva gunning down eight boys in the middle of prayers. This horrible act of terror is but another sad chapter in this 60-year war. Yet, it represents an emerging trend in the […]

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Condi Off to Israel: Too Little Too Late

Contrary to what one might think based on the presidential campaign drama unfolding on our TV sets and newspaper stands, there is still a sitting president and a functioning/disfunctioning Congress that is still drawing up and determining domestic and foreign […]

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Deja vu and the Dimona Bombing

This past year has been a relatively quiet one for most of Israel. (Though not for the citizens of Sderot who continue to be bombarded regularly by rocket fire from Gaza.) The security barrier has been working, saving lives. If […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

Lebanon War: No Winners

I wish I shared Rabbi Grossman’s rosy assessment of the legacy of the Lebanon War, which marks its one-year anniversary next week. She lists a number of factors that she cites as positive outcomes from the war, and it is […]

Lebanon One Year Later

“No one feels safe in their home anymore,” is how my husband’s cousin Nina explained the impact of last summer’s Lebanon War. She lives near Tel Aviv. Last summer she hosted her mother, her husband’s mother, his brother’s family, and […]

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 […]

No Easy Answers in Gaza

Before posting I took a few minutes to survey the numerous reader responses to Rabbi Grossman’s analysis of the horrific situation in Gaza. I am struck by how diverse and deeply passionate they are–from those who blame Israel and America […]

What Are We to Make of Gaza?

Commenting on the violence in Gaza, Jon Stewart quipped that those who hate Jews were overthrown by those who HATE Jews. So why should we care? The people in Sederot care, because they have suffered unrelenting rocket attacks since Israel […]

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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