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Windows and Doors

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Are We a Christian Country at War with Islam?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

“The United States is not, and never will be, at war with Islam”. “We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation” These recent statements were made by President Obama in front of Muslim audiences. Addressing America’s relationship with the global […]

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Holocaust Remembrance and Hitler’s Birth Share the Day

posted by Brad Hirschfield

In an ironic and bitter coincidence, Hitler’s birthday and the start of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, fall on the same day. Technically they overlap. Hitler’s birthday is April 20 and Yom Hashoah begins tonight, which is the beginning of […]

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Anne Frank Found God in a Tree, Where Do You?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Anne Frank Center USA is embarking on a project to plant ten saplings, begun as cuttings from a dying tree in Amsterdam which figures significantly in the famous Diary of a Young Girl. And in doing so, they invite […]

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Remembering Departed Loved Ones

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The last day of Passover is one of four occasions in the Jewish liturgical calendar when special memorial prayers are recited in memory of loved ones who have died. Known as Yizkor, from the Hebrew root pertaining to remembering, the […]

Papal Remorse Recalls Lesson From Leviticus

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Those with an ax to grind about the Catholic Church, the papacy in general, and Pope Benedict XVI in particular, point to the Pope’s recent apologies about a variety of subjects as evidence of the Church’s failure and the absurdity […]

Passover Around The World — In Pictures

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Jews from Iran to Israel, from the deserts of Yemen to sandy beach resorts, are all to be found in this collection of pictures depicting Passover celebrations around the world. There are even picures of animals enjoying matzah! Care to […]

Red Sea or Sea of Reeds, Which Is It?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

In responding to an earlier post which shared a Seder ritual designed to help us get out of any tight spot (the literal translation of Mitzrayim, Hebrew name of Egypt) in which we may find ourselves, Zevulun commented: Rabbi, Given […]

Why Matzah? From Ancient Blood Libels to Modern Meanings

posted by Brad Hirschfield

There may be no food upon which so much ink has been spilled, not to mention blood, as matzah. The blood, to which I refer, is not that of the Blood Libel, the hate-driven lie that Jews, having killed Jesus, […]

10 Ways to Imitate God on Passover

posted by Brad Hirschfield

No, I don’t mean that we should mock God because it’s a holiday. I mean that at its core, Passover, and the Pesah Seder in particular, invites us all to imitate God as first encountered in the Bible — a […]

What is a Jew? Ask the King of Bahrain

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Today’s NY Times features a fascinating article, entitled Manama Journal, on the Jews of Bahrain. It tells of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and his relationship with his 36 Jewish subjects. At the core of the article stands the unspoken […]

The Difference Between Cults and Religions

posted by Brad Hirschfield

In exchange for her cooperation, Maryland prosecutors have offered Ria Ramkissoon a reduced charge in the case against Queen Antoinette who leads a West Baltimore cult known as One Mind Ministries. Ria, and other members of the group, starved Ria’s […]

And A Little Child Shall Lead Them

posted by Brad Hirschfield

In the Spirit of the prophet Isaiah words (11:6) which imagine a better future ushered in with the help of kids, the 18 Under 18 project is your chance to celebrate Jewish teens you know, who are doing great things. […]

A Biblical Way to Get Out Of Tight Spots

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This Passover especially, getting out of Egypt is an issue with which we are all struggling, whether or not we are Jewish. In Hebrew, Egypt is Mitzrayim, which means a tight spot. And who among us right now isn’t wrestling […]

When Love is More Important Than Being Right

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Being Right, yes with a capital “R”, the kind of rightness on which we would be willing to stake our lives, is a funny thing – so tempting, so exciting, so good, and so often deadly. When our sense of […]

The Joys of Being Sephardic on Passover

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I don’t know the joy of peanut butter on matzah, pop corn on passover or rice alongside the matzah balls in my soup. And that’s just a few of the foods that will not be on my table for eight […]

Boston Cancels Home Opener for Passover?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

There’s a little problem with this claim that has been swirling about the blogosphere: it’s not true! And neither are many of the other claims made in this message, which travels under the title “Only in America!” But the popularity […]

The New Jewish Star of the NBA

posted by Brad Hirschfield

We all know the old joke, partly true and partly self-loathing, about the shortest book in the world — Great Jews in Sports. But every once in a while there is one, and in this most recent case, he doesn’t […]

Palestinian Authority Takes Giant Step Away From Peace

posted by Brad Hirschfield

A Palestinian youth orchestra from Jenin was disbanded after it played for Holocaust survivors in Israel. Palestinian authorities also banned Strings of Freedom orchestra conductor Wafa Younis from the northern West Bank refugee camp and her apartment, where she taught […]

Web Site for Jewish Adulterers

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Not only is Shaindy.com a site for Jewish adulterers, but it caters specifically to those who are Orthodox. 350 people have already signed up to make matches with like-minded Jews looking to hook up, according to the site’s founder. And […]

Does The Devil Exist? Is Satan Real?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Satan exists, of that I am certain. But that is because for me, and according to most strands of the Jewish tradition, Satan is not some little guy with a pointy tail and a pitch fork. Though versions of that […]

Israel Bombs Sudan

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made it pretty clear today that Israeli aircraft did, in fact, bomb a convoy of trucks bearing Iranian harms, traveling through Sudan on their way to supply Hamas in Gaza. A report on SudanTribune.com called […]

Nothing New Under the Sun, Or Is There?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

From the New York Times, datelined April 8th, 1897. That’s right, rabbis getting arrested is nothing new, though it’s interesting to note for what kinds of violations. And obscure Jewish ritual practice was in the news, even 111 years ago.   […]

Building Jewish Unity

posted by Brad Hirschfield

British Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, will address a global audience this Sunday. The questions raised by the format of the address, its sponsorship and who is giving it however, raise important questions about its stated goal of building Jewish […]

Tony Blair on the Power of Faith

posted by Brad Hirschfield

For British Prime Minister published an Essay entitled Our World, God’s Neighborhood, in which he argues that faith will be as important in the 21st century as political ideology was in the 20th. Right or wrong, about that claim, Blair […]

What Is Palestine? How about Israel?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

A reader e-mailed me with the following question, one which lies at the heart of much conflict and bloodshed. Perhaps this answer can contribute to a growing measure of peace. Hi Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, My name is A. I truly […]

Obama’s Nowruz Message: Pandering or Great Leadership?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

President Obama’s Nowruz message, broadcast directly to the Iranian people, complete with Farsi subtitles, is brilliant.   Whether one agrees with everything he has to say, can anyone seriously question the wisdom of his actions or the sophistication of his […]

Israel Fails To Bring Gilad Shalit Home

posted by Brad Hirschfield

There will, apparently, be no 11th hour deal between Israel and Hamas to bring Gilad Shalit home after nearly 1,000 days in captivity. And while I wrote yesterday about the moral failings of Hamas making outlandish demands to agree to […]

One Jewish Life is Worth 600 Palestinian Lives

posted by Brad Hirschfield

That is not the claim of some crazy, ethnocentric Jew who fails to appreciate the sacredness of all human life. It is the policy of Hamas, the Islamic government in Gaza. Stories today make it clear that Hamas wants anywhere […]

Jackie Mason Hurls Racial Slur at President Obama

posted by Brad Hirschfield

During his one-man stand act in New York City, legendary comic Jackie Mason referred to President Obama as a ‘schwartza’, literally Yiddish for black. It’s gross, it’s wrong and despite saying that it was indefensible, Mason keeps defending his racist […]

Did Bernard Madoff Get What He Deserved?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Bernard Madoff, who pled guilty yesterday to a variety of crimes related to the decades-long Ponzi scheme through which he stole billions of dollars, woke up this morning in his new home – a lower Manhattan jail cell. Did he […]

Great Sex, God’s Way

posted by Brad Hirschfield

God has sex? Great sex? How does God have sex? What’s God’s favorite position? Is it missionary? These are the kind of questions raised by a church billboard in rural Alabama. And while some are deeply offended by the ad […]

Does Prosecuting Octogenarian Former Nazis Make Sense?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Germany is now seeking the arrest of John Demjanjuk, suspected of being concentration camp guard Ivan the Terrible, who participated in the torture and murder of 29,000 people, mostly Jewish, at Treblinka and Sobibor. Stripped of his US citizenship for […]

What’s Jewish About Comedy

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Laughing is a spiritual act, and in the Jewish calendar, today is the High Holiday of laughter. Today is Purim, a holiday which celebrates humor, clowning, and a people’s ability to come out okay even under the most precarious circumstances. […]

Beware American Religious Identity Survey

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Saying ‘no’ to your parents’ religion, or to all religion as currently defined, does not mean saying ‘no’ to faith. And God, whether you believe in Him/Her or not, help anyone who makes that mistake regardless of how many statistics […]

Are We Our Brothers’ Keepers?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

With constant talk of bailouts, and the bitter arguments generated by them, it seems like a reasonable question to ask. I suppose it’s also on my mind as Purim is only 36 hours away and one of it’s central practices […]

Does God Belong In A Public Park?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Where does God belong and who gets to decide? That sums up the debate underlying two new rulings by the United States Supreme Court and it seems to be a split decision. In one case, the court ruled unanimously that […]

Purim, Jewish Unity, and The Dignity of Religious Difference

posted by Brad Hirschfield

With Purim only a week away, Rabbis are coming out of the woodwork with rulings on a whole variety of issues relating to the full and proper observance of the day. But none have made the news as prominently as […]

U.S. Muslims Thriving But Not Content, Raise Questions About Meaning of Happiness

posted by Brad Hirschfield

A Gallup poll, released today provides important information about the experience of American Muslims. The most striking data include the fact that American Muslims report that they are thriving, more than do any other group of Muslims in the world, […]

Proposed Budget Devalues Charity When We Need It Most

posted by Brad Hirschfield

President Obama’s newly released budget is a bold and massive affair. Is it the best thing for the country? No one can be sure. Is there wasteful spending, about equally divided between Republicans and Democrats? Yes. Did it make a […]

US and Israeli Courts Supremely Wrong On Religious Rights

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Anyone concerned about the coercive use of religion should find these two stories interesting – upsetting but interesting. And anyone not concerned about the coercive use of religion in the world today, should read a paper. Both the United States […]

Jews, Iran and American Foreign Policy

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Obama administration has repeatedly commented on its desire to engage Iran more constructively. And while the possibility of success can be debated, it seems that failing to try would only guarantee the current unacceptable status quo. The New York […]

No More Churches in Jerusalem. What Do You Think?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

75% of those surveyed said that they opposed the sale of land in Jerusalem to Christian organizations that would build churches there, according to a just released survey conducted by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies and the Jerusalem Center […]

The Secret to Reading Sacred Texts

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Jewish and other sacred texts are more available in more languages to more people than at any time in human history. This leads to greater democratization of faith, which is a good thing. But the ready availability of such material […]

Hatred of Jews Is On the Rise

posted by Brad Hirschfield

As theTimes article by British MP Denis MacShane demonstrates, acts of hatred against Jews are on the rise across Europe. He is right that all decent people should not only be worried, but should be taking action to stop this […]

A Murder in Buffalo Touches Us All

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Anyone who cares about building bridges of greater understanding should mourn today, as Aasiya Zubair Hassan was buried at sunrise this morning. The Co-Founder and Program Director of Bridges TV, the largest provider of Muslim Programming on North American cable […]

Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin and Gay Marriage

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Yesterday was the 200th birthday of both Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. The parallels in their lives provide valuable insight for the Presbyterian Church USA, which embarks this week on a major process of inquiry into the place of gay […]

Abortion and Cherry Picking for God

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Among the most interesting responses to yesterday’s post about the Bible and Jewish views on abortion was Leah’s, who commented: Rabbi Brad, Everyone cherry picks through the Bible. We have to, because it says so many things that we could […]

Abortion, the Bible and Religious Arrogance

posted by Brad Hirschfield

You have to love a Pagan blog which purports to explain authoritatively and absolutely what the Bible means! Don’t get me wrong, I believe that scripture is there for all to read and interpret. I even believe that approach should […]

Happy 200th Charles Darwin, From a Believer

posted by Brad Hirschfield

With just a few days until the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth on the 12th of February, this week will bring new energy to the brutal and often vicious battle in courts, schools, and religious institutions across the nation. […]

Not All Holocaust Denial Is The Same

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Pope has ordered Bishop Williamson to recant and Jewish groups from Berlin to Jerusalem, including Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, are settling down. But the larger question of how best to deal with those who deny the Holocaust remains. […]

Invitation To New Interfaith Conversation

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The following comment to my earlier post about the Pope’s demand that Bishop Williamson recant his denial of the Shoah, inspires me to publically seek partners among leaders of the Catholic Church, both clergy and lay, for a new kind […]

Pope Orders Bishop Williamson to Recant

posted by Brad Hirschfield

In a statement issued Wednesday, the Vatican Secretariat of State said that Bishop Williamson “must absolutely, unequivocally and publicly distance himself from his positions on the Shoah,” or Holocaust, or else he would not be allowed to serve as a […]

Millard Fuller, Founder of Habitat, Dies

posted by Brad Hirschfield

“Faith must be incarnated,” said the man who spent most of his life putting his faith to work for others, primarily through the organization he founded, Habitat For Humanity. “Faith must become more than a verbal proclamation or an intellectual […]

Forced Unveiling of Muslim in Canada

posted by Brad Hirschfield

However well-intentioned he may be, Canadian judge, Norris Weisman of Ontario is way off base in forcing a Muslim woman to remove her face veil in open court. At the very least, he should have explored possible alternatives which would […]

In Venezuela, Anti-Semitism and Opposition to Israel Are One

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I do not believe that all opposition to the policies of the Sate of Israel is inherently Anti-Semitic, as is too often claimed by many in the Jewish community. But continuing attacks on synagogues around the world, most recently in […]

Evolution War Rages On – What Say You?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

As we approach the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, the battle over evolution continues. And it continues around the world. This morning’s edition of the Guardian reports that Britons, like Americans, are evenly divided between those who believe in […]

Obama Too Soft On Some Muslims and Too Hard On Many

posted by Brad Hirschfield

While applauding his efforts both at the inauguration and in his Al Arabiyah interview, President Obama’s words often missed the mark. With the best of intentions and in pursuit of an important goal, I think that he was too hard […]

Spiritual Lessons from Super Bowl XLIII

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Our bodies and our souls are deeply connected. The physical/spiritual divide is really a theological position made up by folks who thought that our bodies were bad or sinful, but that we had a better part, called soul, buried within […]

Pope Benedict, Holocaust Denial and Real Interfaith Work

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Pope Benedict XVI has reinstated four previously excommunicated bishops, all of whom are members of a far-right group that rejects Vatican Two and one of whom is a raging conspiracy theorist and Holocaust denier. Is he pandering to those on […]

Pope Benedict and Rabbi Riskin Should Both Examine Their Deeds

posted by Brad Hirschfield

My earlier post about Pope Benedict XVI’s reinstatement of four excommunicated bishops was for informational purposes and in no way endorses either the tone or content of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s analyses. While I appreciate Riskin’s pain and frustration brought about […]

Chief Rabbi Says Vatican Needs to Examine Its Conscience

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Is the Pope right? Is the Pope wrong? Could he be both? My comments to follow… IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 25, 2009 Upon learning of Pope Benedict XVI’s lifting the excommunication of Holocaust denier Bishop Richard Williamson, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin said […]

Rabbi Lookstein Rebuked for Praying

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Rabbinic Council of America chastised one of America’s most prominent rabbis and long-time member, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein for his participation in this week’s inaugural festivities. Lookstein participated in a prayer service held at the Washington National Cathedral during which […]

Rick Warren’s Invocation Redefined Inclusiveness

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Pastor Rick Warren’s invocation, along with President Obama’s inaugural address about which I already wrote, set the stage for a new kind of public religion in this country. It is both more inclusive and simultaneously proud of particularity than anything […]

Killing for God, Part 2

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The comments on yesterday’s post about the deadly effects of Biblical literalism promted me to write the following response the interesting question raised there. For me, the whole point of the Akeidah (Binding of Isaac) story – found in Genesis […]

Biblical Literalists Kill Own Child

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Leilani and Dale Neuman stood by as their diabetic daughter slipped into sickness, then acute illness and finally death from diabetic ketoacidosis. As followers of an online faith community called Unleavened Bread Ministries, which rejects medicine, they did nothing as […]

President Obama’s Very Jewish Speech

posted by Brad Hirschfield

President Obama’s inaugural address moved me for many reasons, including how Jewish it was. There was no Hebrew (had to listen to Rick Warren for that), nothing about Israel, and no pleas on behalf of the Jewish people. There was […]

Rabbis To Pray at Inauguration: A Good Idea?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Three rabbis are slated to offer prayers at a January 21st National Cathedral service to be held as part of Barack Obama’s inauguration. Is this a good thing, or not? Is it more complicated for the Reform participant, Rabbi David […]

David and Goliath is Wrong Metaphor in Gaza

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Who is David and who is Goliath? That question, either overtly or by innuendo, underpins the endless debate about the war in Gaza. Everyone is busy explaining to whoever will listen how they are the “little guy” being tormented by […]

Gene Robinson Rejects Bible

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Bishop Gene Robinson, recently added to the list of inaugural prayer-sayers, has promised that he will neither bring nor read from the Bible when he addresses Sunday’s crowds at the Lincoln Memorial. His choice is as regrettable as his inclusion […]

Do Jews Control Hollywood?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Of course they do! Note that I said “they” and not we, even though I am certainly proud to count myself as a member of the Jewish people. But using the word “we” in response to the question of who […]

Imprisoned In Gaza: A Catholic-Jewish Conversation Continues

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Thanks to Pontifications blogger, David Gibson, for engaging in one of the more interesting Catholic-Jewish conversations in which I have participated in some time. His recent post about Catholics, Jews and events in Gaza pointed me to the work by […]

Catholics Call Gaza a Concentration Camp

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Pontifications blogger, David Gibson, writes about Catholic leaders making grotesque and inaccurate analogies about the situation is Gaza. The most disturbing of which is Cardinal Renato Martino’s analogizing Gaza and a concentration camp. Having already posted about the death of […]

Hamas Theologians Have a Point

posted by Brad Hirschfield

While it makes some people uncomfortable, the fact is that according to some readings of Islam, Israel’s existence does violate foundations of the faith both morally and theologically. Of course, it’s not the only reading of that tradition, but it’s […]

Neither Progressive nor Reviving When Commenting on Gaza

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Requests were made that I respond to Omid Safi’s Gaza post on Progressive Revival. Frankly, I hesitate to do so. I have no doubt about either his integrity or the pain that moves him to write. But, engaging people filled […]

Making Peace in Gaza and In Ourselves

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Today’s three-hour cease fire between Hamas and Israel provides a model for a spiritual practice which might turn us all into peace-makers, or at least peace-contributors, without even giving up on those views we cherish most. The idea was sparked […]

3 Hour Cease Fire in Gaza, an Ancient Way to 24/7 Peace

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Israel and Hamas just concluded a three-hour cease fire designed to allow food, fuel and medical supplies into Gaza, and wounded Gazans out for medical treatment in Egypt and Israel. The Israelis have pledged to reenact this mini cease fire […]

Madoff and Adolf – Bernie, Hitler and the Death of Proportionality

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Madoff scandal remains in the news and one response that continues to surface, especially among Jews, is as disturbing as Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme. People keep comparing the resulting damage from Madoff’s theft of 50 billion dollars to Adolph […]

Ground War in Gaza, No Holocaust

posted by Brad Hirschfield

No matter how often that charge is made, it will never be true. But it is a tragedy. No matter how much energy each side expends on justifying its actions and no matter if one side really is more justified […]

The Year of the Sun: Jewish Paganism or Beautiful Tradition?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Chinese have the year of the cat, rat, etc. Now Jews have the Year of the Sun. This new observance is based on an ancient tradition. Every 28 years, according to rabbinic tradition, the sun returns to the precise […]

Faith Forecast for 2009: What We Can Expect From Religion Next Year

posted by Brad Hirschfield

In 2009, we should expect religion to do what is has always done — inspire the very best and the very worst in human thought and practice, especially when it comes to politics and public policy. Faith is like a […]

Israel Redefines All Out War in Gaza

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak announced that Israel is engaged in an “all out war” with Hamas. He told reporters that the Israel Defense Forces will “deepen and widen” their assault on Hamas as needed, in order to halt the […]

The Eight Days of Hanukkah: Day Eight, The Most Important Story of All

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This one is easy. The Most important Hanukkah story of all is yours. For seven days we have shared versions of a 2,200 year old story that have inspired people across the time and around the world. And it was […]

1 American and 2 Israeli Perspectives on War in Gaza

posted by Brad Hirschfield

After thousands of rockets and mortars landing in what virtually the entire world accepts as the sovereign and unoccupied State of Israel, Israel began a large-scale bombing operation of Gaza this weekend. This new fighting, focusing on military and governmental […]

The Eight Days of Hanukkah: Day Seven, Your Inner Light

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Hanukkah also celebrates the little light found within and its ability to dispel a great deal of darkness. Whether within a little vase of oil found in the Temple or within our own hearts, this story promises that good things […]

The Eight Days of Hanukkah: Day Six, Freedom of Religion

posted by Brad Hirschfield

For thousands of years people have struggled for the right to practice their faith freely. Not surprisingly, the story of Hanukkah as the celebration of religious freedom became particularly popular in America where we have been conducting the single most […]

The Eight Days of Hanukkah: Day Five, Zionism and Homecoming

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Another day brings yet another Hanukkah story. But, in case you missed them, check out yesterday’s and previous days’ Hanukkah stories too. Worth doing so for the comments alone! But now, on to today’s telling of the the Hanukkah tale. […]

The Eight Days of Hanukkah: Day Four, Spiritual Renewal

posted by Brad Hirschfield

As we reach the mid-point of the holiday, we reacall that Hanukkah celebrates the re-dedication of the newly liberated Temple, as the word’s literal translation suggests. It also celebrates the spiritual renewal of the community which gathers around that institution […]

Justice, Compassion, Repentance and Atonement for Bernard Madoff

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The news keeps on coming in the Madoff Meltdown, and it’s not getting any better. But the comments to last week’s post about this mess have been great and they demand a response about the relationship between concepts like justice, […]

More On Fighting Assimilation

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Because Zvi’s comments on today’s original post about Hanukkah as a story of the fight against assimilation, are so important, so clearly stated and so wrong, I want to respond. The quick response is that far from “careless”, my reading […]

The Eight Days of Hanukkah: Day Three, Miracles Do Happen

posted by Brad Hirschfield

For many, the message of Hanukkah is that miracles really do happen and that they can happen for us. This story, found in the Babylonian Talmud, recounts how upon entering the newly liberated Temple in Jerusalem, the Hasmonean soldiers found […]

Lone Republican Jew in the House

posted by Brad Hirschfield

New House Minority Whip, Eric Cantor, the only Jewish Republican in the House, spoke tellingly with US News and World Report’s Dan Gilgoff. Cantor’s comments are intriguing, especially those about the role of Judaism in his politics, the importance Jewish […]

The Eight Days of Hanukkah: Day Two, Fighting Assimilation

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Yesterday’ post told the story of Hanukkah as one of liberation. The story of Hanukkah, is also told as one of civil war between Jews living in the land of Israel, some so-called “traditionalists” and others “assimilationists” who wanted to […]

Eight Gifts for Hanukkah: Day One, Liberation

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Hanukkah is a story of many stories. In each of them we see how specific generations of Jews, or those with different spiritual or communal needs addressed the challenges they faced. In honor of those many stories, Windows and Doors […]

Rick Warren, Barack Obama and The Jews

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The comments to yesterday’s post supporting President-elect Obama’s choice of Rev. Rick Warren to offer the inaugural invocation have been fascinating. Some go so far as to suggest that my position is a function of my being a Jew. A […]

This Hanukkah, Replace Fear with Purpose and Hope

posted by Brad Hirschfield

For more than twenty centuries Hanukkah has celebrated the triumph of purpose and hope over fear and despair. In these troubled times, times of economic uncertainty and expanding security threats, maintaining that ancient perspective is more important than ever. From […]

Rick Warren Selection is Great for Faith and is Obama at His Best

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Whether one is a fan of the next President or not, any fan of faith should be cheered by President-elect Obama’s choice of Rick Warren to offer the inaugural invocation. Once again the President-elect shows that he will confound ideologues […]

Finding Miracles for Yourself and Others

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Hannukah is about many things. The story is about a tiny amount of oil that burned for eight days instead of only one. It’s about the unexpected victory of a small army over one much more powerful. It’s about finding […]

The Madoff Meltdown, Jewish Philanthropy, and Value of Compassion

posted by Brad Hirschfield

We are all effected when 50 billion dollars vanishes from the economy in an instant as it did with the unraveling of Bernard Madoff’s gigantic Ponzi scheme which masqueraded as a legitimate investment. Trickledown economics may not work to our […]

Is Obama Black? Are You Jewish? Am I Christian?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The answer to the first question, at least, seems obvious to most of us. But as this story by AP writer Jesse Washington demonstrates, it’s a question that won’t go away. Perhaps that’s a good thing too. Why? Because definitions […]

Iran Will Get Nukes: What To Do

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Efforts to keep nuclear weapons out of Iranian hands are likely to fail, according to New York Times columnist David Brooks. Speaking to a large Jewish audience at a New York synagogue, Brooks mirrored my own long-held belief that ultimately, […]

Esther Wachsman: A Model of Spiritual Greatness

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Esther Wachsman, mother of slain Hamas kidnap victim Nachshon Wachsman, made a bold appeal today to Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert. She asked the prime minister to consider freeing her son’s murderers in order to secure the release of Cpl. […]

Gay Marriage in the Bible and in Newsweek

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This week’s Newsweek features a cover story about gay marriage – the biblical case against it and the possibility of a biblical case for it. The article is essential reading for anyone who cares about either gay marriage or the […]

Parent Figures Out Chanukah for Self and Family

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Lisa Keys of the JTA writes about her quest to celebrate chanukah and her conversation with me about how to do so meaningfully and joyfully. From questioning present-giving to wondering how an “egg roll eating Jew, who rarely lights shabbat […]

Will God Bail Out The Auto Industry?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Does God have a bailout plan for Detroit auto makers? Area churches, both Protestant and Catholic, are praying that God does. How about Jews? Why are no synagogues mentioned in the coverage of religious institutions whose members are asking for […]

Hannukah Questions Answered

posted by Brad Hirschfield

A friend, who happens to be a professor of religion and also a practicing minister, asked me the following wonderful questions about Hannukah, its practices and meaning: Why are there SO MANY spellings of the word “Khanukah”? Is the story […]

Rabbi Emanuel Rackman Dies, A Loss For Us All

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Rabbi Emanuel Rackman died at home in New York, and along with the Jewish people, the world of relgious leadership, the State of Israel, and the United States are all the poorer for his loss. He was a remarkable leader […]

Hebron Evacuation, Sad But Necessary

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Combined forces from the Israeli Army, the Border Police, and Security Services today evacuated a house in Hebron that was, according to the Israeli Supreme Court, illegally occupied. Things did not go well. From the storming of the building by […]

U.A.W. Should Teach Episcopal Church

posted by Brad Hirschfield

100,000 members of the Episcopal Church are breaking away from their current denominational structure and constituting the new Anglican Church in North America. The split between the two groups was catalyzed by the issue of homosexuality in the church, but […]

Shalom, Christmas Shoppers

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that all across America, holiday shoppers at malls are being “accosted” by pushy, money-hungry Israelis selling everything from hand cream to toy helicopters. One of the twenty-something salespeople describes what he is doing, not to […]

An Imam and His Ideas Imprisoned

posted by Brad Hirschfield

There is much to dislike, even loathe, about the Islamic cleric known as Abu Qatada. But whether or not jailing him, as the British government has just done, will accomplish anything is unclear. It’s true that it will keep him […]

400 Dead. Does Anybody Care?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Double the number killed in Nigeria as those murdered in Mumbai, and many more refuges in light of the mayhem, and yet the response to this past week’s events in Nigeria is relatively muted. Why is that? Could it be […]

No Church for President-Elect Obama

posted by Brad Hirschfield

President-elect Obama hasn’t been to church in weeks, saying he doesn’t want to disrupt the service for others. I find that rationale a little tough to swallow, but wish that he would share his real thoughts on the matter. As […]

One Dead Rabbi Not the Issue

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivki were murdered, along with three other hostages, at the Chabad community center which they ran in Mumbai. And as much as I am hurting over their deaths, I am more devastated by the […]

Rabbi Held Hostage in Mumbai

posted by Brad Hirschfield

With most of the Hostages freed this morning at the Taj Hotel and over 100 dead following the terror attacks begun yesterday in Mumbai, Rabbi Gabriel Holtzberg, his wife Rivki, and six others remain hostages in their community center. Upon […]

Pope Says No to Inter-Religious Dialogue

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Pope Benedict XVI is at it again – making fine distinctions which create gross problems. He declared to the world that “inter-religious dialogue is not possible in the strict sense of the word…that a true dialogue is not possible without […]

Holy Land 5 Successfully Prosecuted, Not Persecuted

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Today is a good day for Justice in America. Five leaders of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development were convicted on 108 criminal counts of supporting terrorism, money laundering and tax fraud. They funneled millions of dollars to […]

Dieting For God

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Does God care what size we are? According to Christine B. Whelan in this morning’s USA Today, The answer is certainly not! But how can she be so certain? If there really is a God (I believe that there is) […]

Muslim Anti-Semitism and the Muslim Next Door

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Muslim Anti-Semitism is a very real, but whether or not hatred of Jews is either typical among contemporary Muslims, at least in America, or reflective of traditional Islam, is another story. That appraisal probably disturbs people on each side, with […]

Influential Jews or Jewishly Influential

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Who are the nation’s 50 most influential Jews? The Forward has published this year’s list — they call it the Forward 50. But what does it mean? What is an “influential Jew”? Is it the same as someone who wields […]

Thanksgiving & Prayer Definitely, But Not to God Perhaps

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Thanksgiving is only a week away. And while we all appreciate the time off, it’s worth remembering how this holiday came to be and thinking together about whether of not it’s really a good idea. I think that Presidents Washington […]

Why Virtual Cheating Really Hurts

posted by Brad Hirschfield

At first blush, the idea that a couple is divorcing over a husband’s flirtations with a virtual woman may sound funny. But if we take online communication seriously, and respect the power of imagination, there is nothing funny about it. […]

Saudi King Abdullah, Villain or Valiant?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Saudi King, Abdullah Abdul Aziz al Saud, spoke this week at the UN. His remarks about the dignity of religious difference sparked global controversy. Is this part of a new world in which the custodian of Islam’s holy places advocates […]

Mormon Arrogance Meets Jewish Victimhood in Conversion Dispute

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The long-simmering dispute between Jewish leaders, particularly the children of Holocaust survivors, and the Church of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) is boiling over. And as is often the case, the issue at hand is not really the problem. It’s […]

The Pro-Obama, Anti-Gay, Black Electorate

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Proposition 8, the California initiative defining marriage as being only between a man and a woman was voted into law by a 52% majority and black voters favored that outcome by a margin of 70%. In fact, Evangelical Christians were […]

Paul Broun, Barack Obama and the Republican Future

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Yesterday’s obscene comments about President-Elect Obama by Georgia Republican Paul Broun were only less disturbing than his attempted apology for them. The Congressman stated that he fears that President-elect Obama will establish a Gestapo-like security force to impose a Marxist […]

The Limits of Karen Armstrong’s Compassion

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Karen Armstrong’s invitation to the world to begin writing today, a Charter for Compassion, strikes me as well-intentioned silliness at best. At worst it is a more benign form of the same religious arrogance which she decries and which lies […]

When Are We Dead?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Events in a Washington D.C. hospital prove that the divisive controversy over the question of when human life begins is matched by equally complex issues over the determination of when it ends. As a father, I can not fathom the […]

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Suffering is not a zero-sum game, even when it comes to the Holocaust. But based on many comments from inside the Jewish community about the new film, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, one might think otherwise. Apparently, the very […]

Kristallnacht, 70 Years Later

posted by Brad Hirschfield

On Nov. 9, 1938, Jewish homes, shops and synagogues were ransacked across Germany and parts of Austria. Jews were shipped to concentration camps and beaten to death. Synagogues burned. Today we remember this pogrom as Kristallnacht, the night of broken […]

Barack Obama is Not the Messiah

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The religious left may be losing its mind. Perhaps it’s just a momentary lapse of judgment in light of the Obama victory. After all, there is much to celebrate about this election. Not least of which is that it indicates […]

Obama Wins, Jews Got Over Obamaphobia

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Jewish voters went with their consciences and not with their fears in selecting Barack Obama as the next President of the United States. Exit polling indicates that about 77% of the Jewish vote went to Obama, which is a wonderful […]

Exit Polling With Soul: Explain Yourself

posted by Brad Hirschfield

There may be only two candidates with a real shot at winning the Presidency, but there are as many religious/spiritual reasons for choosing them as their are believers. What is yours? Let me know who you voted for and share […]

Ohio Police in Riot Gear

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Officers of the Toledo, Ohio Police Department took the streets in riot gear today, having been instructed to do so in a memo which you can read for yourselves. Make of it what you will, but I find it deplorable. […]

Many Votes, No Mandate – It’s a Mitzvah

posted by Brad Hirschfield

In this closely contested election, I am almost more concerned about how we come together on November 5th than I am about the results of the 4th. The challenges we face are bigger than either candidate or the agendas which […]

God’s Candidate

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I was asked by the folks over at the Newsweek-Washington Post On Faith project if there were religious reasons to vote for or against Barack Obama or John McCain. My response: there is always a religious reason to pick a […]

Dying Well

posted by Brad Hirschfield

There are many understandings of dying well but few extol the value of loneliness. And the hospice chaplains described in this article know that, beyond all else. It’s powerful stuff which transcends any particular faith or ideology. In, fact, many […]

Cardinal Egan and Partial Birth Abortion

posted by Brad Hirschfield

New York’s Cardinal, Edward M. Egan, criticized Fordham University for honoring Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer with the Fordham-Stein Ethics Prize. Why? Apparently because they were pressured to do so by the Cardinal Newman Society, which sponsored a petition […]

Dems and Reps Terrorize Opponents

posted by Brad Hirschfield

When I received the following link to hard right Israeli broadcaster Arutz 7, being circulated by pro-McCain people, I was tempted to ignore it. Claiming that Hamas is supporting Obama in the presidential election, they suggest that supporting Obama is […]

Who’s a Good Jew? Fla. Court Can’t Decide

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Edith Rapp tried to sue her stepson, a member of Jews for Jesus, for defamation, over an article he wrote which claimed that she was a bad Jew who had denounced her faith. The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that […]

Is Barack Obama Hitler?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Sadly, scarily, and with great disrespect for America (which I am sure they don’t intend), more than a few American Jews – including my own mother and leaders of the Pennsylvania Jewish community, are claiming that Barack Obama is the […]

Can Jews Support Roe v. Wade?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The answer, at least for most Jews in America, is yes. But the purpose of this article by Rabbi Dr. Gidon Rothstein is to explore one halakhic (Jewish legal) model for reaching that conclusion. Or at least to refrain from […]

Does Religion Empower Women?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This week’s Women’s Conference 2008, chaired by California First Lady, Maria Shriver, bills itself as “the largest and most dynamic gathering of women in the nation”. And while the annual event will see more than 10,000 participants, the claim is […]

Kabbalah and Madonna’s Divorce

posted by Brad Hirschfield

It’s well known by now that Madonna and Guy Ritchie are divorcing. And it’s also well known that the divorce promises to be ugly, featuring the work of “pit bull” attorneys working for both sides. It’s a shame that with […]

American Prayer, Featuring Barack Obama as God

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I happen to love the new music video of American Prayer – the song is stirring, the imagery is powerful, the many stars it features, including Whoopi Goldberg, Forest Whitaker, Joss Stone, and Herbie Hancock, are warm and engaging. Even […]

Powell: Right and Wrong on Fear of Muslims

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Colin Powell’s answer about Barack Obama not being a Muslim and whether or not it should even matter was both right and wrong. He was correct and actually quite moving when he said: Is there something wrong with being a […]

When Abortion Becomes Murder

posted by Brad Hirschfield

When does human life begin? It depends on where you live. While I don’t like what that means for some states, the debate itself could be good for the future of reproductive rights and the sanctity of human life in […]

Are You Anti-American? Ask Michele Bachmann

posted by Brad Hirschfield

According to Minnesota congresswoman, Michele Bachmann, you may be if your views run contrary to hers. And far from the staunch conservatism and Christian faith which she claims, these kinds of remarks are actually a form of New Age idolatry […]

36 Jews Who Have Shaped the Election

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Popping up under the headline, Members of the Tribe, this article offers a bi-partisan list of Jews who have influenced the presidential election. But it begs the question, is this what we mean by Jewish influence? Or is this just […]

Farwell Abby Lockhart, Hello Job

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Apparently, the writers of NBC’s hospital drama, ER, are reading their Bible. They liberally seasoned last night’s departure of long-time star, Maura Tierney who played Dr. Abby Lockhart, with lengthy citations from the Book of Job. And although they never […]

Christians March in Jerusalem

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Let’s hear it for the thousands of Christians who took to the streets of Jerusalem yesterday to proclaim their love of Israel – especially because the event was largely free of the right-wing politics that often mark such events both […]

Obama and McCain as Panderers-in-Chief

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The star of last night’s debate was clearly Joe Wurzelbacher, otherwise known as Joe the Plumber. The winner is up for debate. But Americans were certainly the losers as both candidates competed not for the role of Commander-in-Chief, but for […]

Cancerous Faith

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Faith is central to living a good life – it may be faith in God, it may be in science, it may be in those we love. Frankly, I believe in them all even as I appreciate that they are […]

The Holocaust, Tarantino-style: Jews Scalping Nazis

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Quentin Tarantino’s newest film, Inglorious Bastards, stars Brad Pitt and begins filming this week in Germany. Telling the story of Jews taking violent revenge on their Nazi tormentors, the movie includes the exploits of a unit of Jewish members of […]

Greed On Main Street as Dangerous as on Wall Street

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Listed $140,000 Below Its Value Denver Just One Market Where Houses Sell For A Fraction of Their Worth This headline, found on the AOL Homepage’s opening gallery, proves both how little we have learned from the current economic crises, and […]

Pope Benedict’s Yom Kippur Mass: Colossal Faux Pas or Wonderful Opportunity?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Both great irony and a profound opportunity for all of us can be found as Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate a special Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, marking the 50th anniversary of the death of Pope Pius XII, whose response […]

Wright, Keating and Muthee: With Friends Like These, Do Candidates Need Enemies?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Obama and Jeremiah Wright, McCain and Charles Keating, Palin and Pastor Muthee. Should we judge these candidates by the company that they keep? Is that unfair guilt by asscociation? I think that candidates should be judged by both the company […]

Besides Sex – Reasons Why Men Cheat

posted by Brad Hirschfield

According to a new study by marriage counselor M. Gary Neuman, 1 out of 2.7 of us men cheat on our wives, and most of them will never find out. From which we can deduce one of two things: either […]

Who You Callin’ a Maverick? Why the NY Times Should Apologize

posted by Brad Hirschfield

There’s that word again: maverick. Used in Thursday’s Vice-Presidential debate, by Gov. Sarah Palin six times to describe herself and her running mate, Senator John McCain, who she described as “the consummate maverick.” But where does the term come from […]

Who Stands With Israel, Republicans or Democrats?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The answer is, yes. And the real issue is how supporters of Israel understand what it means to “support Israel”. Is it a function of pressuring the State of Israel to do what it “should do” from the perspective of […]

What Do Biden and Palin REALLY Believe? Questions for Tonight’s Debate

posted by Brad Hirschfield

How can a candidate proclaim a faith which teaches about all aspects of life but tell us that those teachings will not shape their approach to governing the rest of us, who may not share that faith? If they genuinely […]

Religulous: Preaching to a Choir of Angry Secularists

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Religulous is to religion as rape is to sex. Like the versions of religion and religious people in Bill Maher’s Religulous which opens Friday, rape is a terrible thing which must be recognized and combated. But it hardly defines the […]

Overcoming Boredom by Eating God for Rosh Hashanah

posted by Brad Hirschfield

There are many customs on Rosh Hashanah: blowing the shofar, eating apples dipped in honey, and long hours of prayer and meditation. But until I watched the cartoon adventures of Todd and God on You Tube, I never knew that […]

How To Sound the Shofar and Hear A Symphony of Unity

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The shofar is the most widely recognized symbol of Rosh Hashanah, and has been synonymous with Judaism since antiquity, when it was used to marl Jewish graves more often than the Star of David. So how we use the shofar […]

All Things Are Forgiveable

posted by Brad Hirschfield

There have been many questions about the idea that all things are forgiveable. This comment by J, is a good example. I hope my response to J is helpful to all of you who are wrestling with this idea, and […]

Jewish Terrorists Celebrate the Jewish New Year with a Bang

posted by Brad Hirschfield

As the Jewish people spend Tuesday and Wednesday celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the New Year, we ask ourselves the most important questions about the year ahead and what we hope to make of it – questions including who shall live and […]

Israelis for Obama and Lessons for McCain

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This You Tube video, entitled Israelis for Obama is amazing. It does not provide a great deal of new information about his policies, which are not all that different from McCain’s when it comes to Israel. It does something far […]

John McCain, Sarah Palin and Overturning Roe v. Wade

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I was asked by John Meacham of Newsweek, what I thought about John McCain and Sarah Palin’s desire to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion. Here is my response. If John McCain and Sarah […]

Forgiveness: 10 Steps To Giving It and Getting It

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins on Monday night. Like all New Year’s celebrations, it’s a chance to start over. And starting over often involves forgiveness — both giving it and getting it. Neither of those is easy, but […]

Ahmadinejad is Not Hitler, But He’s Not George Bush Either

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Yesterday’s rally at the UN, sponsored by organizations including the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and UJA Federation of New York was striking for many reasons, not least of which was the number of signs, and the nature […]

The Possibility of Meaningful Atheism

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The most recent New York Review of Books features one of the most heartfelt, sensitive, open-minded and thought-provoking pieces I have seen on the possibility/advisability of meaningful atheism, of what the author describes as living without God. I happen to […]

Keeping the Sabbath Holy

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The following questions appeared on yesterday’s Windows & Doors post about Jews and anti-Christian bias. Frankly, I am surprised that it took this long for the question to be asked. Rabbi, this is not a criticism so please don’t think […]

Jews Voting Obama Because Of Anti-Christian Bias

posted by Brad Hirschfield

We all know that Florida is a critical swing state in the coming election. According to Sam Stein of The Huffington Post, it’s more in play than ever and the Obama campaign knows it. That’s all fine. But the idea […]

Did The Jews Kill Jesus? Ask the Republican Jewish Coalition.

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Under the pretense of trying to better understand how Jewish voters feel about Barack Obama, the Republican Jewish Coalition is conducting a poll that resembles an approach used for years, by Anti-Semites who sought to make Jew hatred acceptable in […]

Barack Obama’s Rabbi

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The New York Times report on “Barack Obama’s Rabbi”, Capers Funnye Jr., suggests that Obama has been hiding this connection and neither assertion is true. Having known Rabbi Funnye for years, I thought that a few things should be clarified. […]

Justice and Mercy on Wall Street and in Galveston

posted by Brad Hirschfield

If someone plays in the traffic, are we obligated to risk our own lives to pursue them into the road and drag them to safety? And if we are, who should pay for the rescue operation? Those are not abstract […]

Sarah Palin, God’s Will, and Jews

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Steven Waldman’s recent Beliefnet post on Republican VP nominee, Sarah Palin indicates that significant numbers of Jews find the governor “scary.” But she doesn’t scare me, at least not as a Jew. She does, however, make comments about God and […]

NY Jets and Giants Stadium with a Nazi Name

posted by Brad Hirschfield

That’s what people are worried about as the NY Jets and Giants consider selling the naming rights to the stadium in which they play, to Allianz, a German company which insured the Auschwitz death camp and had a CEO who […]

Lipstick On A Pig, A View From Israel

posted by Brad Hirschfield

John McCain needs to speak out immediately against anyone exploiting Barack Obama’s “lipstick on a pig” comment. We all know that the comment wasn’t directed at Governor Palin and we all deserve a campaign that lives up to the best […]

Evangelical Push To Convert Europe’s Jews

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Talk about coming to the right conclusion for all of the wrong reasons! This article about the World Evangelical Alliance, a European evangelical organization, renewing their push to “proselytize European Jewry”, typifies how foolish we can all be, even as […]

Greetings From Israel

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I just touched down and even though this is trip number…..actually too many to count, I still feel a certain thrill as the plane banks over the coast and comes in to Ben Gurion airport. It’s a mixture of joy, […]

A Woman In The White House, But Not In God’s House

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Many conservative religious groups bar women from becoming clergy. And even in those denominations in which women do serve as clergy, they often face barriers in their careers because they are women. I was asked this week, if I think […]

Sarah Palin, Jews for Jesus, Steven Waldman and the Jewish Vote

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Take a deep breath everybody, because this one is a mess. And much like the responses to yesterday’s post about Hezbollah’s Death Shrine, in which the genuinely Islamophobic responses (really hateful stuff) are running neck and neck with dangerously apologetic […]

A Rabbi’s Ramadan Prayer: Say No To Hezbollah Death Shrine

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Asalaam Aleikum My Muslim Brothers and Sisters, I am writing you today with both a blessing and a request. The blessing is that the month of Ramadan should bring you opportunities for meaningful reflection, deeper spiritual connection, and greater peace. […]

When Presidents Wear Yarmulkes

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This gallery of US Presidents and those seeking the office, wearing kippot, also known as yarmulkes and skullcaps, is quite amazing. What does it mean that a garment designed to publicly mark its wearer as a Jew, can be found […]

Prayer in Public Schools, But When?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

With a new school year beginning, we are likely once again, to see many questions about prayer in public school raised. This one, asked by a listener who heard me on NPR, struck me as particularly worthy of sharing. Hello […]

Family Is a Faith Issue

posted by Brad Hirschfield

What is faith, any faith really about? Is it about philosophical debates? Is it nothing more than theological wrangling? Or could it be something much closer to home for most of us? Could it be about the big questions in […]

Obama’s Acceptance Speech and The Islamophobic Smear Campaign

posted by Brad Hirschfield

If Barack Obama were a doctor, he would get an A for diagnostic skill and a C for his ability to prescribe treatment. His acceptance speech last night was no different — a grand expression of each of those traits. […]

To Senators Obama and McCain, Re: God and the Election

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I was asked by Sally Quinn and John Meacham of the Washington Post and Newsweek, what advice I would offer to Barack Obama and John McCain on the use of religion in their presidential campaigns. This was my response: Dear […]

Proof of God’s Existence

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The following story from the Chicago Tribune, ‘Jewish clause’ divides a family, state courts weigh in on a man’s will that disinherited any descendant who married a gentile, is proof not only of God’s existence, but that God must love […]

John McCain’s Brother, Israel and the Jews

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Suddenly, a speech by John McCain’s brother, Joe, is making the rounds on the internet. I have received it over twenty times in as many hours. And although it’s not new (it was given as an address to a synagogue […]

Letter to an Evangelical Friend

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Some months ago I had the pleasure to meet a documentary film maker who is also an Evangelical Christian. Actually, those two facets of his identity are pretty closely related, at least right now, as he is working on a […]

McCain, Obama, and God on NPR

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Today’s edition of Tell Me More on NPR features a conversation about faith, God, and presidential candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama. Hosted by Lynn Neary, the discussion included Beliefnet’s Dan Gilgoff and yours truly. And it was fascinating. Not […]

Scripture For Sale

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Should kids be paid to complete their homework assignments? This debate continues to surface in parenting magazines, school districts around the nation, and now on the homepage of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency – well, sort of. Turns out that a […]

Rick Warren, Abortion and the Holocaust

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Rick Warren’s beleifnet.com interview is a must read, both because of the wisdom it contains and a rather horrific analogy made by him in which he compares any position on abortion other than his own, to holocaust denial. I assume […]

Kosher Meat Wars Continued

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Let’s see, we have Rabbis tearing each other apart over kashrut, which is an issue that is totally irrelevant to the vast majority of Jews, the Jerusalem Post, a right-leaning newspaper in Israel publishing the self-serving (and publicly contradicted) words […]

The Limits of Forgiveness

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Recent events with John Edwards’s affair have gotten lots of people saying lots of things about betrayal, the nature of forgiveness, who deserves to be forgiven and under what circumstances. Most of it has been pretty angry stuff, which won’t […]

Jerusalem – A House Divided Against Itself?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

While the Jewish world (not to mention so many others) debates the future of Jerusalem, and presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McMcain regularly speak about this nation’s commitment to Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel (even though the former […]

With John McCain at the Aspen Institute

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Having returned from listening to John McCain at the Aspen Institute, I am filled with more hope about the future than I thought I would be. Not so much because of what Senator McCain had to say. Though to be […]

What’s a Jewish Blog?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Has it been circumcised? Does it observe the Sabbath? Perhaps it’s written in Hebrew? Not for me, even though I pass all three of those tests. But in light of some recent traffic, I think it’s time to reflect on […]

God as My Financial Advisor

posted by Brad Hirschfield

With an ever-tightening economic situation and no relief on the horizon for most of us, I was intrigued by a recent poll by the Washington Post which examined the ways in which faith influenced the lives of people under financial […]

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More blogs to enjoy!
Thank you for visiting Windows and Doors. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Truths You Can Use Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading!  

posted 1:28:03pm Aug. 02, 2012 | read full post »

Apple's "Jew or Not Jew" App -- Should It Be Legal?
An Apple application that let users guess which French politicians or celebrities are Jewish was pulled from France's App Store. but its American equivalent is still available. French activist groups said the "Jew or Not Jew?" app violated bans on compiling information on people's religion and rev

posted 1:18:48am Sep. 18, 2011 | read full post »

Is God A Christian?
R. Kirby Godsey’s new book, Is God A Christian?, challenges what the author describes as the commonly held belief among many religious people that the God in whom they believe is “one of them”.  People, Mr. Kirby observes, too often confuse God’s religious identity with their own, leading t

posted 11:59:56am Sep. 12, 2011 | read full post »

Remembering 9/11 - Part One
The tenth anniversary of 9/11 brings up many emotions and presents some very real challenges, among them how to remember the past without being imprisoned by it.  This video, filmed at St. Paul's, the church closest to the World Trade Center site, is a wonderful example of rising to that challen

posted 2:40:58pm Sep. 08, 2011 | read full post »

Gilad Shalit, Still A Prisoner After 1,900 Days
Below is a copy of the Statement I got from the White House, and while I appreciate the words, I can't help but also ask, "Is this the best we can do?"  United States Mission to the United Nations Office of Press and Public Diplomacy 799 United Nations Plaza New York, NY 10017 (212) 41

posted 9:04:17am Sep. 08, 2011 | read full post »

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