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Windows and Doors

Windows and Doors

News Archives

Apple’s “Jew or Not Jew” App — Should It Be Legal?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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 […]

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Remembering 9/11 – Part One

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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 […]

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Gilad Shalit, Still A Prisoner After 1,900 Days

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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 […]

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Litigating God

posted by Brad Hirschfield

An ugly fight over what prayers can be said, and by whom, at Houston’s national cemetery, is getting uglier.  Plaintiffs are now suing the Department of Veterans’ Affairs over what they call “banning God at military funerals” and for making […]

Mayor Bloomberg, Don’t Shut Out Faith On 9/11

posted by Brad Hirschfield

A version of this post appears on the Fox News Opinion page.  You can read it here, but I also suggest checking out the comments there.  They make for fascinating reading. Through three terms as mayor of New York, Michael […]

Evolution Is Part Of Faith, Not It’s Polar Opposite

posted by Brad Hirschfield

When Rick Perry and the millions of others who resist the concept of evolution, they not only resist science in potentially dangerous ways, they disown a fundamental truth about the faith they follow. That truth? That religions evolve, and acknowledging […]

Hitting Kids IS NOT A Religious Act, No Matter what Anybody Says

posted by Brad Hirschfield

If you don’t know the names, Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz, Lydia Schatz, Michael Pearl, or the book, To Train Up A Child, you should.  These are the names of two parents convicted, respectively, of murder and manslaughter in the case […]

Demonstrations in Israel Represent New Phase in the Life of a Nation

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Thousands of people remain in the streets of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and others are taking to the streets in other major cities across Israel.  Unlike protest movements in other parts of the region, there is not even a hint of […]

Are Jewishness and Israeliness Separable?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Obviously, Jewish and Israeli are not identical.  There are many Jews who live outside of Israel – more than those who do, and there are more than 1 million non-Jewish Israeli citizens.  But how separable are the categories of Jewish […]

Gupta v. Asha Enterprises: Blurring the Line Between Physical and Spiritual

posted by Brad Hirschfield

A New Jersey court, in the case of Gupta v. Asha Enterprises, upheld the right of Hindu vegetarians to sue, and seek monetary damages from, a restaurant which, apparently, served them non-vegetarian samosas.  The reason?  What the court called “spiritual […]

Israel: Leading the World in In Vitro Fertilization

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Israel is the world capital of in vitro fertilization, and according to the Today’s NY Times, it doesn’t matter if you are Jewish or not, straight or gay, secular or religious – the modern State of Israel want to help […]

Sometimes Prayer Is Not Enough — This Week Was One Of Those Times

posted by Brad Hirschfield

New York is still shaking and so is much of the Jewish world.  Little Leiby Kletsky of blessed memory, was buried Wednesday evening, but nothing has been put to rest.  How could it be otherwise? The details of the horrific […]

Medieval Jewish Traditions, both Culinary and Spiritual, Continue in Today’s New York Times

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I love the New York Times’ Dining section.  Each Wednesday, I look forward to reading the articles and reviews, most of which food and drink that I can’t eat because it’s not kosher.  But not consuming and nor appreciating are […]

Hateful Cartoon by UN Rep. is Tragic but Not Surprising

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I wish it were surprising but it is not.  The cartoon published by Richard Falk, United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories, is not only anti-Semitic, as charged by ADL head Abe Foxman, it is also […]

The Book of Mormon, The Musical, Is Good For All Faiths

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Broadway’s hottest new musical is the Book of Mormon, and in the wake of its triumph at the Tony Awards, the temperature continues to rise – as it should.  There are many reasons to like the play, but the most […]

Pray For The Peace of Jerusalem

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Today marks the 44th anniversary of Israel’s re-unification/liberation/conquest/occupation of Jerusalem. I use all of those terms, not because I agree that they are all necessarily equally legitimate claims, but because they are equally real to different people — all of […]

Memorial Day 2011, A Biblical Approach

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Millions of Americans will head to beaches and barbecues this Memorial Day weekend, perhaps even hundreds of millions, while only hundreds of thousands are likely to attend formal Memorial Day observances devoted to remembering the men and women who have […]

Oprah Winfrey Show’s Final Episode: End Of A Religion?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Wednesday May 25, 2011 the lights will dim in the First Church of Oprah as the Oprah Winfrey Show ends a run began in 1986.  Surprised by that formulation?  Shocked that I would call the show a kind of church?  […]

Did God Create The World?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Okay, to be fair, that is a somewhat hyperbolic question, and one which nobody can claim to have proof or even scientific evidence for.  Of course, that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.  It simply means that the endless debates about […]

Is Circumcision Really So Awful?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

First San Francisco, now Santa Monica – the attempt to make circumcision illegal, including those performed for religious reasons, is spreading.  Both cities, one last week and the other just today, have movements to get measures on their respective city’s […]

President Obama on Israel and the Middle East

posted by Brad Hirschfield

President Obama gave a much anticipate address this afternoon – one which responded to a variety of events including the so-called “Arab Spring” and to the stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians.  You can follow this link to read the […]

Stephen Hawking says “there is no heaven”. Is he right?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

World famous cosmologist and physicist Stephen Hawking declared “there is no heaven”.  Whether he is correct or not is not something anyone can know for sure.  We can believe as we choose, but we cannot “know” as a matter of […]

What Happens If May 21st Doesn’t Bring The Rapture?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Radio evangelist Harold Camping has calculated what he believes to be the exact date of the rapture: May 21, 2011. His followers are fanning out across the nation, bringing his message of impending doom, and they’re getting more than a […]

When Good Kabbalah Goes Bad?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Kabbalah Centre, a Los Angeles based world-wide Jewish spiritual movement, one not limited to Jews, is in the news again – once more at the center of a controversy.  This one however is not, as past ones have been, […]

President Obama on Israel’s 63rd Birthday

posted by Brad Hirschfield

President Obama issued the following statement in recognition of Israel’s Independence Day – Yom Ha’atzmaut, in Hebrew.  Like so much of what the President has done regarding Israel, the words are all right, (the unbreakable bond between our two nations, […]

Yom HaZikaron 2011: Remembering Israel’s Fallen

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Today is Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day – a day on which, pretty much regardless of politics, everybody in Israel, or who cares about Israel, takes note of the losses of those who have fallen.  Israel is a small country, […]

Room in the Military for Atheist Chaplains?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Contrary to the old adage, there really are atheists in foxholes, and in many other places in the US military.  It should come as no surprise that military, like the rest of America, includes atheists and secular humanists among its […]

Is It Jewish To Celebrate Osama Bin Laden’s Death?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

As celebratory crowds continue to gather around the country, especially near Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan, and in front of the White House, Americans are sending a message about who we are.  Is it the one we want to send?  […]

President Obama on Holocaust Remembrance Day

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The White House just released the following from President Obama regarding Holocaust Remembrance Day: “ I join people here at home, in Israel, and around the world in commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day and in honoring the memory of all those […]

Richard Goldstone’s Regret: What It Could Mean for Israel, Palestine, and Us

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Richard Goldstone, author of the now famous/infamous report on the 2008/2009 war between Israel and Hamas, has expressed regret about the document he submitted to the United Nations.   In an op-ed published in the Washington Post, Goldstone wrote, “If I […]

Is Religion Headed For Extinction?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Whether or not religion is headed for extinction is one of those questions adored by both fans and foes of religion alike, and now they have a new study to add fuel to their ongoing debate. But before either group […]

Values Matter Most

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was correct when he told people gathered at the Conservative Principles Conference, held this week in Iowa, that “If you don’t start with values, if you don’t start by saying who we are […]

Fasting Like Esther, A Biblical Practice We Need Today

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Today, March 17th 2011, is Ta’anit Esther, the Fast of Esther, observed before Purim which begins this Saturday night. This is one of those years when the fast before the feast feels especially needed and especially important. The practice is […]

Gilad Shalit, Five Years Into Captivity

posted by Brad Hirschfield

March 15, 2011 marks the fifth anniversary of Gilad Shalit’s kidnapping. To mark the anniversary, Israelis participated in a national moment of silence this morning. People were asked to stop working, pull their cars to the side of the road, […]

The “Tefillin Scare” on Alaska Airlines

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Were the three men wrapping themselves in leather straps and mumbling in a foreign language on Alaska Airlines Flight 241, a security threat or were they Orthodox Jews preparing to pray in their tefillin, — amulets bound to the arm […]

God Goes to the U.S. Supreme Court

posted by Brad Hirschfield

For those keeping score, this is a good week for God in the American legal system. Or perhaps a better summary would be that it is a bad week for knee jerk anti-religionists. In the last 96 hours, The Supreme […]

Brandeis Hillel Turns Away Jewish Voice for Peace

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Brandies University Hillel rejected an application for membership by Jewish Voice for Peace, an activist group which sometimes calls itself pro-Israel and is certainly pro-Palestinian. Brandeis Hillel leaders felt that offering membership to JVP would be inconsistent with their national […]

King’s Hearings on Radical Islam in America

posted by Brad Hirschfield

With Rep. Peter King beginning hearings tomorrow, March 10 — hearings which will examine the issue of radicalization within the American Muslim community, two things should be stated very clearly: Islamic terror is real and so is Islamophobia. Denying the […]

Shoah in Iran

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Shoah, Claude Lanzmann’s epic documentary about the Holocaust, dubbed into Farsi, is to be broadcast on a satellite channel in Iran as part of a campaign to promote understanding between Jews and Muslims and to fight Holocaust denial. While it’s […]

Westboro Baptist Church Ruling Challenges Us All

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Today’s 8-1 Supreme Court ruling defends free speech, not Westboro Baptist Church, its ideology or even its right to continue protesting at the funerals of fallen military personnel. Writing for the Majority, Chief Justice John Roberts was very clear about […]

Jewish-Catholic Dialogue Redefined

posted by Brad Hirschfield

French Grand Rabbi Gilles Bernheim has suggested that the past forty years of unprecedented Jewish-Catholic dialogue could be undermined if it did not progress to a next level of maturity. Speaking at a gathering in Paris, France, Rabbi Bernheim was […]

Does God Surprise You?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

A variety of leading Ultra-Orthodox rabbis are speaking out regarding the political unrest which is spreading and deepening throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Their conclusion? It’s God signaling the coming of the Messiah and punishing the region for […]

Top 10 Anti-Semitic Rants of 2010

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has released its list of 2010’s “Top 10 Anti-Semitic Slurs“. Aside from wondering whether it should be called a “top 10″ or a “bottom 10″ list, I find the list, or really the spin used by […]

Prayer in Public Schools — The Democratic Way To Go?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Amidst the growing excitement these days about democracy breaking out all over the world, one might be tempted to call for greater respect for “the will of the people” right here at home. New polling by Rasmussen indicates that 65% […]

A New Détente Between The U.S. and Muslim World?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The past 30 days may go down in history as among the most significant 30 days in modern history. The events occurring all over North Africa and the Middle East are pretty amazing, to be sure. On the other hand, […]

Can Faith Trust Freedom?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This weekend was the 25th anniversary of world-renown human rights activist and Jewish hero, Natan (Anatoly) Sharansky’s release from the Soviet Union. In a fascinating interview with Jerusalem Post editor, David Horovitz, Sharansky speaks not only about his own struggles […]

Honor Killings and The Death Of A Friend

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Muzzammil “Mo” Hassan was convicted of second degree murder on Monday. The conviction of the Buffalo TV executive who beheaded his wife, Aasiya Zubair, brings some measure of closure to a horrible story which continues to haunt me. For several […]

Free Speech in Israel — How Much and At What Cost?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Israeli Police intend to arrest settler leader, Rabbi Dov Lior, if he continues to ignore requests to interview him about his support of the controversial book, Torat HaMelekh (The King’s Torah). The book preaches rules of military engagement which run […]

Mohammed El Baradei a Stooge?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The director of the U.S. Jewish foreign policy umbrella called Mohammed ElBaradei, the opposition leader emerging from the Egyptian ferment, a “stooge of Iran.” Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice-president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American […]

Joel Osteen On Piers Morgan Tonight: “Homosexuality Is A Sin”

posted by Brad Hirschfield

In an interview with Piers Morgan, airing tonight on CNN, January 26th, Joel Osteen declares that homosexuality is a sin. When Morgan asks him if he thinks that the interviewer’s friend, Elton John, was a sinner, Osteen declared that he […]

Davos and Judaism: Where the Action Is, and Where It’s Not

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This morning’s New York Times included Andrew Ross Sorkin’s fascinating take on the upcoming World Economic Forum meeting held annually in Davos, Switzerland. Delving into the real costs of attending what might be thought of as a festival of hobnobbing […]

Sarah Palin’s Charge of Blood Libel

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Sarah Palin describes those who have blamed her for Jared Lee Loughner’s Tuscon shooting spree as guilty of spreading a blood libel. Ms. Palin said that, “Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite […]

After Tucson, who to blame is not the most important question

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Violence, like the weekend shooting in Arizona, is scary. Random violence, like the death of nine year-old Christina Green who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time this weekend is particularly terrifying. In the face […]

Is Kosher Slaughter Inhumane?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

French film star and former sex symbol Brigitte Bardot is leading a very public campaign against both kosher and halal slaughtering. More othan 2,000 posters have been plastered throughout France since Jan. 4 to “inform” people of the “Middle Age” […]

Stopping Religion-Inspired Violence Must Be a Religious Priority

posted by Brad Hirschfield

As the New Year dawned, there was a surge of religious violence around the world – largely Muslim on Christian. Blood was spilled in Nigeria, Egypt, Iraq and Pakistan. Being Jewish however, doesn’t keep me from losing sleep about these […]

Getting Angry at God is Good

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Anger at God is nothing new. In the Hebrew Bible it goes back at least as far as Abraham, who, according to Genesis 18:23, was angry at God for God’s readiness to destroy the innocent people of Sodom along with […]

The Biggest Jewish Story of 2010

posted by Brad Hirschfield

As I wrote about yesterday, I would not necessarily agree with the religion writers of America who have declared that Park 51, also known as the Ground Zero Mosque, was the biggest religion story of the year. But having been […]

Biggest Religion Story of 2010? Koran Burning Pastor, Terry Jones

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Religion Newswriters Association lists the top 10 relgion stories of 2011, and I was disappointed, but not surprised when Pastor Terry Jones did not appear on the list. Jones is the Florida-based minister who planned a public Koran burning […]

Certifying Food as Ethically Kosher

posted by Brad Hirschfield

What does it really mean for your Hebrew National hot dog to “answer to a higher authority?” For years, it’s meant a kosher certification that ensured Jewish (and non-Jewish) consumers were buying a product that met strict religious standards for […]

What’s a Jewish Christmas?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

While not always asked in quite that way, Christmas has played a role in the thought and practice of Jews for almost two thousand years. From being a day which inspired terror on the part of oppressed Jewish minorities living […]

Leave Dying Nazis Alone

posted by Brad Hirschfield

While there may be some exceptions, to this suggestion, the story of Mark Gould and his eight year pursuit of one old Nazi, is not one of them. Gould claims that he spent eight years “under cover” building a case […]

Does God Cause Natural Disasters?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

A forest fire in Israel has already claimed 41 lives, including Haifa Police Chief Ahuva Tomer who was buried today, and is, according to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a punishment from God. Rabbi Yosef, one of the world’s most influential rabbis, […]

Hanukkah Light Can Chase Away Life’s Darkness

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Hanukkah has many meanings and has celebrated many different values over the years – military victory, political independence, religious freedom, reunification with God, the capacity of people to create their own destiny, the ultimate victory of good over evil, and […]

Who Is A Jew and Who Decides

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Israeli government’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved a bill on Sunday, which would protect all people who have converted to Judaism under the auspices of the Chief Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces and the conversion course which it […]

Government dollars to build Park 51?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Developers of the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque“, also known as “Park 51″, are seeking federal funds designated for the redevelopment of lower Manhattan. And like most issues in the ongoing controversy around this project, the loudest voices on both sides […]

Exodus 12:49 and Israel’s Attorney General

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Israeli Attorney General, Yehuda Weinstein, ordered the evacuation and sealing of a Jewish apartment building in the predominantly Arab Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. Known by settlers as Beit Yonatan, the 7-story building is home to families linked to Yeshivat Ateret […]

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and How Faith Fits In

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The fact that leading politicians and military figures have raised questions about allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the military is not the least bit surprising. Moving away from “don’t ask, don’t tell” to the full inclusion […]

Faith Groups Split on Resolving N.Y. Islamic Center Controversy

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Gallup organization has released polling data on how the members of various faith communities would resolve tensions around the construction of an Islamic center planned for a site three blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks in New […]

Are Indians Meant To Be Poor?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

President Obama’s visit there has put India in the spotlight and among the things of which to take note is the surging scourge of Type 2 diabetes among India’s 1.15 billion people. Outpacing the incidence of Australia, and nearly double […]

Jewish Rock Radio — What It’s All About

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Over 90 million Americans listen to internet radio, and now there is a station dedicated specifically to Jewish rock music. What is Jewish rock music? Is it rock music made by Jews? Is it rock music exclusively for Jews? Is […]

How Would God Vote?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Aside from the obvious jokes about how crowded it can get when God joins us in the voting booth, many religious people bring their faith with them when they cast their ballots. In fact, how could it be otherwise? Voting […]

Voting More Sacred Than Victory

posted by Brad Hirschfield

With only hours to go in what will certainly be among the most significant mid-term elections in many years, Americans need to recall that voting, not victory is what’s most sacred to a democracy. By sacred, I do not mean […]

The Jewish Claim to Israel — What Some Catholic Bishops Say

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The following story from Religion News Service about how at least some Catholic Bishops understand who Jews are, how God relates to them, and what special connection Jews have to Israel, or in this case, should not have to Israel. […]

The Finkler Question and What It Means To Be Jewish

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Howard Jacobson’s The Finlker Question just won the prestigious Man Booker Prize. Pretty wild considering it’s a British award and the book is entirely devoted to the meaning of being Jewish in the 21st century. That is Finkler’s question. I […]

Rand Paul and Jack Conway Bring Faith Down

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Trading barbs about who is and who is not a decent human being and a good Christian, Kentucky Senate candidates Rand Paul and Jack Conway, demonstrated how NOT to mix religion and politics. Politcs Daily Editor-in-Chief, Melinda Henneberger captured the […]

Who Knows God and Who Knows About God

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Pew poll of religious knowledge, in which atheists/agnostics scored ever-so-slightly higher than Jews and Mormons demonstrates at least four significant facts about what we know and why we know it. Appreciating these facts would go a long way toward […]

Sexual Abuse Case Against Rabbi Dropped, But Not Over

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The sexual abuse case against Rabbi Bryan Bramly was dropped, but it is not over – certainly not for the rabbi and his family, nor for anyone who is concerned about sexual abuse by clergy. The case against Bryan Bramly […]

Fortune Cookies and Fortune Tellers, Same as Judaism and Christianity?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Woody Allen, interviewed by Dave Itzkoff, in today’s New York Times was a bit uncomfortable when wished a happy Jewish New Year by his interviewer, responding “That’s for your people”. However, he went to say some very interesting things about […]

Read President Obama’s Rosh Hashanah Message, One Not To Be Missed

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Whatever one thinks of President Obama, his Rosh Hashanah message is a deeply Jewish, biblically aware, liturgically sensitive statement which cannot help but move any spiritually inclined person. Without stepping away from his identity as a Christian, president Obama addresses […]

Conscientious Objection to War by American Muslims and Israeli Jews

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Pfc. Naser Abdo, a Muslim soldier from Texas, is a 20-year-old infantryman assigned to the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky. He filed for conscientious objector status in June because he believes that his faith and the military simply […]

Burn a Koran? What If It Were a Torah?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I am ambivalent about giving any additional attention to a hate-filled, fear-driven, religious leader like Pastor Terry Jones. Once the Gainesville, Florida minister is being covered by the New York Times however, it seems that coverage is assured. The only […]

Coin Honors Romanian Jew-Hater, Miron Cristea

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Romania’s central bank on Thursday said it would not withdraw from circulation a coin featuring an image of a prime minister who stripped Jews of their citizenship before World War II, stressing it had not intended to send an anti-Semitic […]

Teaching Talmud in Korea?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Rabbi Marvin Tokayer is a rabbi with long-held interest in Asia and now that interest includes teaching Talmud to Koreans – almost none of whom have ever met a Jew! Is this crazy or actually quite inspired? If one assumes […]

When Rabbis Cheat, Who Is To Blame?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Rabbi Marc Schneier is in the news again, and it’s not a good story. The Rabbi was caught in a passionate embrace with a congregant with whom, it is alleged, he has been carrying on an affair and even gotten […]

Is Generosity The Newest Status Symbol?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Wall Street Journal wealth columnist Robert Frank, author of “Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich,” said the recession had helped spur America’s rich to search for new status symbols. “Yachts, private […]

Orthodox Leaders on Homosexuality

posted by Brad Hirschfield

With the release of a declaration on homosexuality and the inherent dignity of gay men and lesbians, by more than 100 Orthodox rabbis, educators and mental health professionals in the United States and Israel, a segment of the Orthodox community […]

Will Chelsea and Mark’s Intermarriage Last?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Chelsea Clinton was raised Methodist, and Marc Mezvinsky, the man she will marry this weekend, was raised Jewish. Among the questions being raised, even before they have the ceremony is, “Will it last?” In a world in which about half […]

Oliver Stone Puts Hitler “In Context”

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Oliver Stone may be a nut job, and he has certainly made some wonderful movies. Of late however, he seems to be moving from whacky conspiracy theories to rather more ugly ones. What do I mean? Stone’s newest project, a […]

Gingrich Wrong on “Ground Zero Mosque”, Mostly

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Newt Gingrich has taken what might be termed an ‘interesting’ position with respect to the Islamic building which people are trying to build down the block from Ground Zero. I refer to it as an Islamic building because the ongoing […]

Another List of 50 Influential Rabbis, All Women

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Sisterhood, a Forward blog devoted to what it describes as “women’s issues, has published its own list of 50 influential rabbis to parallel the one featured for the last four years in Newsweek. And like all such lists, the […]

The Religion-Science Debate 85 Years After Scopes

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Eighty-five years ago this week, John Scopes was hauled into a Tennessee court, and accused of violating the state’s Butler Act, which made it illegal to teach evolution. So much and so little have changed since then, but one thing […]

CNN’s John King is VERY Jewish

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I know, the term very Jewish is an oxymoron. Something either is or is not Jewish, and we all know the definitions, right? Not so fast. To be sure, many communities look to a fixed understanding of Jewishness, even if […]

Remembering HaRav Yehuda Amital – A Gentle Giant

posted by Brad Hirschfield

HaRav Yehuda Amital, who was buried Friday, is mourned by thousands. Some mourn the loss of their teacher, some of one of Israel’s great public intellectuals. Some mourn the loss of the founder of Israel’s religious peace movement, Meimad, while […]

Who Keeps Kosher and Why

posted by Brad Hirschfield

In an intriguing New York Times op-ed published in honor the 4th of July, author Sue Fishkoff makes a number of claims about Kashrut and why Americans, Jewish and otherwise, observe it. Like so many observers of American Jewish life […]

Why We Remember and Why We Forget: Korea and Much More

posted by Brad Hirschfield

6o years ago today, North Korean soldiers crossed the 38th parallel and began the Korean War – what has come to be called America’s Forgotten War. Oddly, by naming it the Forgotten War, it began to be remembered and that […]

Jon Voight Ignored Rabbinic Wisdom in His Letter to the President

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Actor Jon Voight attacked President Obama in an open letter published in the Washington Times. Telling the President that he “will be the first American president that lied to the Jewish people, and the American people as well, when (he) […]

Slonimer Rebbe Says He’s Ready to Face Firing Squad

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Slonimer Rebbe, leader of the protests against Israel civil authorities and the Israeli Supreme Court ruling demanding the de-segregation of Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) schools in Immanuel, declared that “Even if they put us in front of a firing squad, we […]

Thousands of Ultra-Orthodox Jews Rally in Support of Racism

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Tens of Thousands of Ultra-Orthodox Jews (Hareidim) rallied in both Jerusalem and B’nei B’rak to assure that the schools they attend would continue to segregate students along racial-ethnic lines. It’s hard to know where to begin a response to this […]

Remembering the Lubavitcher Rebbe 16 Years After His Death

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The third day of the Hebrew month Tammuz, this year corresponding to the 15th of June, is the yahrzeit (anniversary of the death) of Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the Lubavticher Rebbe. While most Hasidic Rebbes lead their respective communities, Rabbi […]

Prince Charles’ Islamic Environmentalism Not the Real Problem

posted by Brad Hirschfield

In a speech before the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies, Prince Charles of England declared “the Islamic world is the custodian of one of the greatest treasures of accumulated wisdom and spiritual knowledge available to humanity.” About that, there should […]

Struggle Over Proposed Mosque In Staten Island

posted by Brad Hirschfield

A group called the Muslim American Society wants to build a mosque on the grounds of an old convent in Staten Island, New York. Having purchased the building from the church, they went before a packed community meeting last night […]

Gay Pride Precludes Israeli Gay Pride

posted by Brad Hirschfield

June is Gay Pride month, but sadly even those committed to the fullest and freest expression of individual identity are not immune from bashing Israel or a profound lack of moral courage. Organizers of the Madrid pride parade, said to […]

Helen Thomas Retired, As Well She Should Have

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Helen Thomas has resigned, effective immediately, from her position as a syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corporation. The step, taken in the aftermath of her recent comments suggesting that Jews should get out of Israel and “go back home, to […]

Ayatollah Khomeini Mourned by Millions 21 Years After His Death

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Millions turned out to publicly mourn the passing, 21 years ago, of Ayatollah Khomeni who led the revolution which overthrew the despotic Shah of Iran and replaced him with a totalitarian Islamic theocracy. Worth the trade? I hardly think so. […]

Saving Israel, From Itself or From Nicholas Kristof?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

As usual with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, when it comes to Israel, today’s offering, entitled “Saving Israel From Itself”,” presents a disturbing mix of reasonable conclusions (blockade is generally destructive to all, including Israel), ugly and erroneous equivalences […]

Israeli Raid on Gaza Flotilla, A Rorschach Test on Middle East Conflict

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The response to the raid on a flotilla of ships seeking to break the naval blockade around Gaza turns out to be a fascinating, if troubling Rorshach test on the entire Middle East conflict. You know Rorshcach tests – those […]

A Jewish/Biblical Practice for Memorial Day

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. So go the words of Exodus 20:8, and in the rabbinic understanding of how to fulfill them, there is an important message that will help us make this Memorial Day a little […]

Celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month with President Obama and Sandy Koufax

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Yesterday at the White House was a moving experience, and a great deal more pleasant than the six hours it took to get home! But that is another story in the worsening state of air travel in America and not […]

A Bible-based Immigration Policy

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Bible is being increasingly used to “prove” what a moral, ethical, spiritual, Jewish or Christian (take your pick) stance on US immigration policy would look like. More often than not, such Bible thumping generates more heat than light. But […]

Celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month at the White House

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I will be spending Thursday afternoon at the White House as part of a group invited by President Obama to join him in celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month. I feel deeply honored to have received this invitation. And whatever […]

Rare Color Footage From Israel, 1946-1948

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This recently discovered color footage from Israel is remarkable stuff! There are many good reasons to watch it. Among them is the story of it’s discovery in a Boston attic, Shimon Peres’ words at the 11 minute mark in which […]

Is Treyf The New Kosher?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

No, I’m not kidding. Exaggerating a little perhaps, but not kidding. Yes, I know that Treyf (Hebrew for that which is not Kosher) is not a new kind of biblically or rabbinically endorsed way of keeping the traditional laws of […]

Elena Kagan’s Bat Mitzvah Celebrated Empathy

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Although most stories of Elena Kagan’s bat mitzvah focus on her determination to wrest as much gender equity as possible from the Orthodox synagogue at which the event was celebrated, the better story is the one told by the rabbi […]

Jerusalem Quotes for Jerusalem Day 2010

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Today is Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, the national day which celebrates the unification of Jerusalem and its return to Israeli control in the wake of the 1967, Six-Day War. I love Jerusalem, and called the city my home for a […]

Third Jew Will Create Protestant-Free SCOTUS Where Gender Trumps Faith

posted by Brad Hirschfield

If confirmed, Elena Kagan will usher in a new era in the history of the United States Supreme Court, both in terms if inclusion and exclusion. It will be the first time in history that three women have served on […]

What Does Being Jewish Mean?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Can being Jewish mean whatever each of us wants? According to a just-launched consciousness raising and community building initiative launched by Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), it can. The online initiative, unitizing Facebook and Twitter, says that “Being Jewish […]

A Mosque at Ground Zero? What do you think?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This morning’s news carried a story of one Imam’s hope to build a $100 Million, 13 story mosque as part of the redevelopment of “Ground Zero” – the former site of New York’s Twin Towers in which thousands of people […]

Why I Support A National Day of Prayer, and What Troubles Me About This One

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Prayer is good. I am not describing to whom it should be offered, or even if it is important that it be offered to some external being at all. I am not touching the issue of in whose name such […]

Whose Holocaust Is It?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

April is over, and we have passed through the month of Genocide memorials — the Nazi Holocaust, the genocide in Armenia and the more recent one in Rwanda to name a few. The following article describes the challenge, and the […]

Does Sholom Rubashikn Deserve a Life Sentence?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Apparently, Federal prosecutors in the case against the former CEO of Agriprocessors think so. Citing Mr. Rubashkin’s “blatant lawlessness, utter lack of remorse, his egregious and repeated attempts to obstruct justice,” they have asked Judge Linda R. Reade to impose […]

Disinviting Franklin Graham from National Day of Prayer at the Pentagon

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Forget disinviting Franklin Graham from the Pentagon observance of the National Day of Prayer, he should never have been invited to begin with! And that initial invitation is what raises concern. Franklin Graham is who he is and believes what […]

New Hamas Video, Technically Sophisticated and Morally Repugnant

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Hamas has released an artfully produced and brutally callous cartoon video depicting the death of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, which it says will surely happen if Israel does not meet unstated demands that would secure his release. The fact […]

Earth Day 2010: Is the Earth Angry?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Of course not! The very idea that the Earth is capable of emotion is anathema to Jewish thought. But that idea that humans could commit acts which would cause the earth to respond by vomiting is not. Think Leviticus 18:28 […]

My Tempestuous Love Affair With Israel

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Well, it’s the morning after – the morning after Yom Ha’atmaut, Israel Independence Day. That seems like the appropriate time to declare that even after the celebrations (and counter-demonstrations) have abated, Israel really is deserving of the love, admiration, and […]

Celebrating Israel at 62 — Yom Ha’atzmaut 2010

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Today is not only April 20, 2010, it is also the 5th of Iyar 5770, which means that according to the Hebrew calendar it is also Yom Ha’atzmaut – Israel Independence Day. I will share my own reasons for celebrating […]

Families Mourn Israel’s Fallen on Yom HaZikaron

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Today is Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day. The following story of a mother, Miriam Peretz, who has lost two sons, is a powerful one for many reasons. I am less certain about the words of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. […]

Jewish Kids in Church Okay, But Surreptitious Baptism?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Case of little Ela Reyes raises many thorny contemporary issues about church/state entanglement, parenting in a multicultural world, and the challenge of real religious pluralism. Ela’s parents, Rebecca Reyes (born Jewish) and her now ex-husband Joseph Reyes (raised Catholic, […]

Clergy Abusing Children: Not For Catholics Only

posted by Brad Hirschfield

While nothing has been proved, the story of an Arizona rabbi accused of molesting a child became that much more real today when Rabbi Bryan Bramly was extradited to New York City, where the crime is alleged to have occurred. […]

The Matzo Scandal of Passover 2010 — Beware Fake Matzo…and Fake People

posted by Brad Hirschfield

7 tons of fake matzo (also spelled matzah, especially by those who speak modern Hebrew) was discovered when Israeli authorities raided a factory today. No, I am not kidding, even though this sounds like a joke. A team composed of […]

Concerned About the U.S. – Israel Relationship

posted by Brad Hirschfield

When generally wise and level-headed Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, declares that relations between the two countries are at a 35 year low point, a certain measure of concern seems warranted by even the most confident and […]

Cursing Jews in the Name of God

posted by Brad Hirschfield

According to the guests gathered in a Great Neck, Long Island home who came together to celebrate a little girl’s first birthday, Rabbi Mordechai Aderet stormed in to the party and rained down curses like an ancient biblical prophet. Sharon […]

Texas Showdown about God and History

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Board of Education for the State of Texas enters the second of a three-day meeting devoted to the state’s social studies curriculum which includes U.S. history, government and much more. As the nation’s second largest purchaser of public school […]

Intermarriage and Proselytizing in Judaism

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This morning’s press release from the 121st meeting of the Central Conference of Reform Rabbis made me smile. Whatever one thinks about the substance of their statement on intermarriage, there are lessons there for all of us – lessons about […]

What Message Should VP Biden Carry or Be Given?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Before arriving in Israel for 5 days of talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Vice President Joe Biden reached out to leading members of the Jewish community for guidance. Frankly, I hope that he also reached out to leaders in […]

Blaming Rape Victims Because of Their “Ungodly Dress”

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Imagine being handed a pamphlet which asserted that rape victims should look to their clothing as an explanation for being raped. Imagine being handed that pamphlet as you pulled up at the drive-thru window of a local fast food place. […]

Hating Science in the Name of God

posted by Brad Hirschfield

For religionists to position themselves against scientists is a very old tradition, but it feels like things are getting worse. Today’s New York Times features a front page story under the headline: Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targets. The story […]

Hamas Founder’s Son Spied for Israel

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Mosab Yousef, whose father was among the founders of Hamas, was a Shin Bet spy for ten years. Along the way, he also converted to Christianity, having been moved by the notion of loving ones enemies. While the obvious Oedipal […]

Accusations Against Rabbi Elon Are No ‘Blood Libel’

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Famed Israeli Rabbi, Mordechai Elon, stands accused of numerous sexual indiscretions with students. And if the charges are true, he deserves to be punished to fullest extent of the law. The abuse of power, trust and faith when religious teachers […]

Torah Sages Condemn Rabbah, Modern-Orthodox Woman Rabbi

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This from a statement released by Agudath Israel of America, shared with me late yesterday: Rabbi Avi Weiss has conferred “semikha” upon a woman, has made her an Assistant Rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale where she carries out […]

Abe Foxman Crying Wolf about Andrew Sullivan’s Anti-Semitism

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Apparently, Abe Foxman called Andrew Sullivan an anti-Semite in his remarks to the Jewish Council on Public Affairs’ national meeting. I say “apparently” because neither I nor anyone else can confirm the veracity of the twitter feed from the meeting […]

Tiger Woods’ Apology and Its Lessons for All of Us

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Tiger came, apologized and left. Does it matter? Why do we care? If he were not a hugely famous athlete who slept with a seemingly endless stream of women, including many who shared their stories and bared their bodies afterwards, […]

A Prayer for Pune’s Dead and Wounded – And For Us

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Saturday’s bombing in Pune, India left nine dead and 57 wounded. Based on the messages flooding my in box this morning, the race to spin the story seems almost as intense as the hunt for the terrorists who committed the […]

Super Bowl XLIV: Pro-Life and Anti-Gay

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The conservative Christian group Focus on the Family is sponsoring a “pro-life” ad, featuring football star Tim Tebow, during Sunday’s Super Bowl. Is it right to broadcast the ad? Does this kind of advertising needlessly politicize a sporting event? CBS […]

Auschwitz Model Made of Gold Teeth

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This model of Auschwitz, the infamous death camp in which more than 1 million people were murdered by the Nazis, was recently displayed in Copenhagen where it was shown to coincide with International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The work of Marco […]

J. D. Salinger Was Jewish? Who Cares! Or, Who Cares?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

J. D. Salinger is dead at 91, and yes, I care — I loved and still love Catcher in the Rye. But the fact that so many Jewish journalists, pundits, etc. are focusing on the fact that he was Jewish […]

Shabbat in Haiti: A First-Hand Account of the Past Week

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Arele Klein, a voulnteer serving with the Israeli relief team in Haiti writes movingly of the past week and the work he and the team have been doing since arriving last Friday. As Shabbat approaches, his words open our hearts, […]

Phylacteries, or Tefillin, are Suddenly Big News

posted by Brad Hirschfield

A US Airways flight traveling from New York to Louisville diverted to Philadelphia when crew and passengers became alarmed as a young man strapped something to his head and arm while speaking in a foreign language. Turns out that what […]

The Pope’s Synagogue Visit Raises Questions about Healing and Forgiveness

posted by Brad Hirschfield

For only the second time in its long history, a Pope visited Rome’s main synagogue. Given that one can walk from there from the Vatican, that itself is historic. But the context of the visit and what Pope Benedict XVI […]

Dr. King’s Spiritual Lessons for Pat Robertson and for The Rest of Us

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a preacher through and through. From the images he invoked, to the cadence of his speech, to the values which shaped his every decision, Dr. King, whose life and work we formally honored yesterday, […]

A Rabbi’s Prayer in Response to Natural Disaster

posted by Brad Hirschfield

How does one pray in the wake of this week’s events in Haiti? Or does that really beg the question of how we pray on any given day in the face of equally painful, if less grand, tragedies? I am […]

Haiti, Pat Robertson and Wondering Where God Is

posted by Brad Hirschfield

With estimates of 100,000 dead in Haiti, and many times that number suffering horribly in the wake of the earthquake which shook Port-au-Prince, many people ask, “why did God do this?” And Pat Robertson has what he thinks is the […]

Scapegoats, in the Bible and In Washington

posted by Brad Hirschfield

It looks like Nevada Sen. Harry Reid has become our newest national scapegoat. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Despite the bad rap it gets, scapegoating, when done properly, is actually a brilliant spiritual technology. Consider the Hebrew Bible’s […]

Mourning Miep Gies, Who Saved Anne Frank Twice

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Miep Gies, then office secretary who risked her life by hiding Anne Frank and her family for two years, died yesterday at the age of 100. This heroic woman saved Anne and her family not once, but twice. First she […]

New Irish Blasphemy Law Threatens Religious Freedom and Democracy

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Atheists are leading the protests against a new law in Ireland, according to a person will be found guilty of blasphemy if they “publish or utter matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by […]

Tiger Woods Needs Jesus

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Brit Hume, commentator on Fox News, told America that Tiger Woods needs Jesus in order to turn his life around, and that has got lots of folks pretty steamed. Hume told viewers of Fox News Sunday that, “The extent to […]

How Many Names Does God Have?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Without even getting into a debate between monotheists and polytheists, and willing to avoid the very serious conversation about whether there is really any difference between the two, I am simply wondering about the names of God. And so too, […]

An Israeli Taboo Which Ought Not To Be So

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This line from a Jerusalem Post Opinion piece by Larry Derfner raises important questions, even if (precisely because?) it will ruffle many feathers: There’s a question we Israelis won’t ask ourselves about the Palestinians, especially not about Gaza. The question […]

Six Biblical and Jewish Tips for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Now before people start commenting that the title of this piece is an oxymoron because the very notion of New Year’s on January 1st is not even Jewish, please remember a bit of Jewish teaching. Jewish tradition has recognized the […]

Top 10 Wines of 2009

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Here is a list of the top 10 Israeli wines of 2009. I cannot speak for all of them — some are not certified Kosher and others are a bit beyond my definition of fiscal propriety, but the ones which […]

Biggest Religion Story of ’09: Faith Gains Ground

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Any retrospective glance at a year’s worth of stories, except this one of course ;), will always privilege the familiar over the emergent, and style over substance. And because of that, the most interesting and important stories are often missed. […]

Making Pope Pius XII a Saint

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Headlines proclaiming “Jews are angry” over Pope Benedict XVI signing a decree which recognizes Pius’ “heroic virtues” and declaring him “venerable” disturb me greatly. I am Jewish and I am not angry, so let’s be careful here. Which Jews are […]

Carter Apologizes to Jewish Community for Stigmatizing Israel

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Former President Jimmy Carter offered the following words today in a letter addressed to the Jewish community: “We must recognize Israel’s achievements under difficult circumstances, even as we strive in a positive way to help Israel continue to improve its […]

Banning Christmas in Jerusalem

posted by Brad Hirschfield

A group calling itself “Lobby for Jewish Values” is handing out fliers condemning Christmas, pushing for a ban on all public displays of Christmas trees and other “foolish” Christian symbols and asking the public to boycott restaurants and other public […]

Swiss Ban on Minarets, An Ugly But Understandable Response?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I figure I may as well anger both sides right from the title, since my response to the just approved measure banning the construction of Minarets in Switzerland, will no doubt disturb both those sympathetic to the move and those […]

Iran To Build 10 New Enrichment Sites, What’s Proper Response?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

As Iran announced the construction of 10 new enrichment facilities, each to be at least as large as the current one at Natanz, the magnitude of the “Iran problem” has been significantly ratcheted up. How should the world respond? I […]

One year after Mumbai Attacks – Time for the Unveiling

posted by Brad Hirschfield

It takes time to recover, if that is even the right word, from any loss, and even more so when the loss is a violent one. That is one reason why Jewish tradition, at least as practiced in most communities, […]

200,000 Animals Die in Mass Sacrifice to Hindu Goddess and A Healing Tip From Nepal

posted by Brad Hirschfield

BARIYAPUR, Nepal (AP) — The ceremony began with prayers in a temple by tens of thousands of Hindus before dawn Tuesday. Then it shifted to a nearby corral, where in the cold morning mist, scores of butchers wielding curved swords […]

A Modern Thanksgiving Story That Inspires

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The story of Goudchaux’s department store is nothing less than a modern Thanksgiving story, and it’s just about as inspiring. Like the original, it tells of refugees fleeing their homes and building new lives in a new land. Like the […]

Thanksgiving Recipes – How Kosher Turkeys Help

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Thanksgiving dinner is a big deal, even if as my wife points out, it’s pretty much like any Shabbat in our home – many people gathered around too much food, having a good time. Given the number of mouths to […]

Supporting Israeli Arabs, Good Idea or Dangerous Precedent?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Jewish support for initiatives addressing co-existence among all citizens of the State of Israel, both Jewish and Arab, has gone mainstream. Is this a good thing or not? Depends on whom you ask. Last week’s unanimous endorsement of the cause […]

Obama’s Bow, and What Mordechai and Haman Can Teach Us About It

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The uproar over President Obama’s bow before Japanese Emperor Akihito refuses to die down. As soon as it happened, it brought to mind the Biblical Book of Esther, and the story of Mordechai refusing to bow down to Haman. As […]

Psalms 109:8, An Ugly Prayer for President Obama

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Any time the citizens of a state, particularly a democracy, invoke their faith to pray for the demise of those they oppose politically, we should be concerned. When the call for such prayers becomes one of the most popular Google […]

Does God Belong In The Military?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

In light of events at Fort Hood, pretty much everybody from President Obama in his remarks about the murders and the role of religion in them, to an earlier posting of mine right here on Windows and Doors, is talking […]

Is Maureen Dowd an Anti-Semite?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The short answer is almost certainly not. But after yesterday’s column in the New York Times, many people are asking, and not without some justification. In writing about Goldman Sachs, the famously/infamously successful investment bank, Dowd dredged up ancient and […]

Death Panels? No! But There Are No Death Panels

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Whoever coined the phrase “end-of-life counseling”, the term used in current healthcare reform legislation, made a terrible mistake both from a marketing perspective, and far more importantly, from an ethical/spiritual one. By ceding values-based language to their opposition, and failing […]

Should DC Sniper, John Muhammad, Die?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

John Allen Muhammad, known as the D.C. Sniper, will be executed tonight in Virginia. Muhammad, along with his protégé Lee Boyd Malvo, murdered 10 and terrorized millions for weeks, until he was captured in the fall of 2004. And when […]

Fort Hood Shooting: Compassion First, Questions Second

posted by Brad Hirschfield

With 13 dead, 30 wounded and an Army psychiatrist who shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ as he opened fire on them, we must do three things: first, most importantly, we must care for the injured, support their families, and comfort the mourners. […]

CNN’s “New Jews” Aren’t So New At All, But They Are Wonderful

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Despite the headlines in this CNN story about “New Jews”, there is nothing really new here. Most of the new practices being described are not so new, as in the case of recently founded prayer groups or Hebrew school teaching […]

Shooting at Los Angeles Synagogue

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Over the past two days, I have posted about the appropriateness of hate crime legislation and about people’s concern over anti-Semitism. Today’s shooting at Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic Orthodox Synagogue in North Hollywood, in which two members were shot at […]

Obama To Sign Hate Crimes Legislation: Violates Numbers 15:15?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The White House has announced that President Obama will sign new legislation which adds provisions to include Gays and Lesbians among the groups protected by special hate crimes legislation. It would be a great idea, if hate crimes legislation itself […]

Are You Good Without God?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Starting this morning adds begin appearing in New York City subways which tell us that for millions of people, the answer is ‘yes’. Following past campaigns in Dallas, Chicago and other locations around the nation this advertising campaign for Greg […]

Why a Rabbi Welcomes The Vatican’s Welcome of Disaffected Anglicans

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Why does a rabbi care about whether or not the Catholic Church decides to welcome disaffected Anglicans, as they announced yesterday? In this case, it’s because I welcome all moves which increase diversity within religious community. But whether or not […]

South Carolina GOP Leaders Guilty of Stupidity Not Hate

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Two South Carolina Republican officials have apologized for defending U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint by likening him to Jews who “take care of the pennies.” Bamberg County GOP Chairman Edwin Merwin and Orangeburg County GOP Chairman James Ulmer wrote the Orangeburg […]

Sexual Abuse in the Jewish Community, Is There a Double Standard?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Perhaps the most troubling commentary on the breaking news related to the sexual abuse of children in the Ultra-Orthodox or Haredi Jewish community, is the absence of coverage about this sickening phenomenon in the community’s leading sources of news. That […]

Speaking of Hitler: Politicians on All Sides Behaving Badly

posted by Brad Hirschfield

We seem to have endless appetite for comparisons to Hitler, Nazis and the Holocaust, and like all forms of gluttony, it’s making us very sick. It’s neither a Democratic thing nor a Republican thing, it’s a simply and disturbingly a […]

Columbus Day 2009: Was Christopher Columbus Jewish?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The question of whether or not Christopher Columbus was Jewish has been around for quite some time. And while it may not yet (ever?) be solved, its persistence speaks volumes. In fact, there are spiritual lessons to be found in […]

Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, A Lesson in Peace and Hope, or Simply Ridiculous?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I first read that President Barack Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, in a five a.m. e-mail from a friend, not a fan of the President’s, and I assumed my friend was joking. Reading the cover of this […]

A Muslim Reaction to Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust Denial

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Seems like today is “Ahmadinejad Day” at Beliefnet.com. With no advance planning or coordination, both City of Brass and my own column address the Iranian President and his connections to things Jewish. I encourage you to read City of Brass […]

Is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Jewish?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Rumors of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Jewish roots have circulated for quite some time and are surfacing once more. Interestingly, the most recent versions are more firmly rooted is specific details which point to at least the fact that his family is […]

56% of American Jews Support Military Strike Against Iran

posted by Brad Hirschfield

A just released survey by the American Jewish Committee reports that for the first time ever, a majority of American Jews support using military force to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Are you part of that 56% and if […]

Go To an Online Synagogue This Yom Kippur

posted by Brad Hirschfield

That’s the invitation being offered by many individual synagogues and even by the Jewish Television Network, a pioneer in using many forms of communications technology to meet the needs of Jews, and anyone else interested in Jewish thought and practice. […]

Westboro Baptist Church Hits New York

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Despite the attitude of many New York Jewish leaders, I am not certain that ignoring this famously hateful church group is the best way to go. In New York for a variety of activities, they have planned protests at numerous […]

Apologizing Is Hard, Just Ask Joe, Kanye and Serena, But We Can

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The past week’s event provide important reminders of why we all of need Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, whether we are Jewish or not. No, I don’t mean that all people should necessarily observe these particular days, but the recent […]

Who Decides About a Child’s Religious Upbringing?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

“Two Christian girls. Two sets of distraught parents. And two state courts smack in the middle of it.” That’s how William McGurn begins his Wall Street Journal coverage of two cases that could not be more dissimilar. And if we […]

September 11, 2001 — Eight Years Later

posted by Brad Hirschfield

We have discovered the limits of our collective national memory – it’s about 8 years. There was almost nothing in the news until this morning, and even today’s headlines in the nation’s leading papers reflect the sense that we have […]

Building Jewish Unity and Civic Responsibility in New Orleans

posted by Brad Hirschfield

With Rosh Hashanah fast approaching, its message of renewal and unity become more important to celebrate than ever. Two stories out of New Orleans, better known for hurricanes and destruction in recent years, embody the deep spirit of the holiday. […]

R. Crumb’s Genesis, Heavenly or Heretical?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Due out next month, world renowned cartoonist R. Crumb, will share his take on the first book of the Bible. That Crumb, who gave us the famously X-rated Fritz the Cat, now applies his talents to Genesis is cause for […]

Rabbis with Guns – Just What We Need

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This morning’s New York Post featured a banner headline: Go Ahead, Make My High Holiday. It tells the story of a bunch of well-intention knuckle heads, led by Rabbi Gary Moscowitz, a former member of the NYPD who was relieved […]

How Much God in Our Nation’s Schools?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Think this question is resolved? Think again. It’s being raised right now in Texas and because it’s being raised there, it affects all of us. Why? Because the Texas Board of Education is the nation’s second largest purchaser of public […]

Atonement and Memory on the 70th Anniversary of WWII

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Seventy years ago this week, German gun boats began both their shelling of the Polish military base at Westerplatte and the Second World War began. Why we still have ceremonies marking this event and what they tell us about issues […]

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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!   ...

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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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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

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