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Madonna Visits Holy Land, Models Care of the Heart

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Almost immediately upon her arrival in Israel, Madonna traveled to the Old City in Jerusalem and headed directly to the Kotel, the Western Wall. Perhaps the most significant thing is that the grand mistress of all things PR-related did not […]

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Avoiding the Deaths of Another 6 Million

posted by Brad Hirschfield

What if you were told seventy years ago that Hitler was planning a holocaust that would include the deaths of 6 million Jews, simply because they were Jewish? If it was within your power to keep that from happening, would […]

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Senator Kennedy Did NOT “Lose” Battle With Cancer

posted by Brad Hirschfield

When I opened this morning’s New York Times, the first words I read were those splashed across the front page: Senator Kennedy, Battle Lost, Is Hailed as a Leader. How wrong they were to use those words. Neither Senator Kennedy, […]

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Ted Kennedy, The Bible and The Rabbis

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Hailed by many as perhaps the greatest senator of the 20th century, Ted Kennedy died today following a 15 month long battle with brain cancer. I don’t know if he really was the greatest senator, but he was a model […]

Did God Give Bernie Madoff Cancer?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Despite denials by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, stories continue to circulate that Bernie Madoff has cancer. More than a few people have suggested that he is getting what “he deserves” and that this is his “punishment from God”. Of […]

Does Mary Robinson Deserve a Medal of Freedom?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I have been deluged over the past ten days with e-mails, calls, etc. from “the pro-Israel community” expressing outrage over Mary Robinson being awarded the Medal of Freedom, our nations’s highest civilian honor. The intensity of feeling about this issue […]

Who Deserves a Second Chance? Michael Vick? The Family?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Jeff Weiss, writing at Politics Daily, quotes me extensively on a Jewish view of forgiveness, especially connected to celebrities who have done wrong. It’s never hard to find evidence of humanity’s foibles and failures. But boy, howdy, have we had […]

Obama, Israel and Jewish Dems Redefine Faith and Values Voting

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Fishing expeditions are funny things — sometimes you end up reeling in a catch you regret, no matter how much right-wing pundits like Dick Morris try to spin things. That seems to be the case with a recent poll conducted […]

Is It Good For The Jews?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

An article by Julia Duin at the Washington Times focuses on the fact that Jews identify as “secular” about five times more than American Christians and that they increasingly find typical religious observance less than central to their lives. Is […]

Britney Spears Converting to Judaism?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Whether the story reported in The Sun, about Britney Spears converting to Judaism, is accurate or not, there is real insight to be found this satiric New Yorker item containing entries from Spears’ conversion diary. Written by Andy Borowitz, the […]

Ultra-Orthodox, Anti-Zionist Jews, More Zionist Than They Realize

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Rioting in Jerusalem’s street these past weeks demonstrates that many Ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Jews, passionately anti-Zionist, are actually quite Zionist – they function with the kind of entitlement and power that reflect their place as Jews in a modern Jewish state. […]

Dealing with Frustration Badly, Israeli Bar Bans Soldiers in Uniform

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Rogatka, a trendy Tel Aviv bar named for the Russian word describing the slingshots made famous in the first Intifada, refuses to seat soldiers in uniform. Whatever one’s political views are, this strikes me as a case of shooting […]

Francis Collins “Troubles” Sam Harris and Angers Creationists – Perfect!

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Francis Collins, President Obama’s pick to be the new head of NIH, strikes me as the perfect nominee. How can I, a non-scientist, make this claim? Do I really have the ability to evaluate the life work of this accomplished […]

Arrested Rabbis Story Continues: From Jew-Baiting to Jewish Apologetics

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Yesterday’s post about Five New York and New Jersey rabbis being arrested in connection with a money laundering scheme, and the Star-Ledger’s coverage of the story drew many heated comments including one from “DK” who wrote: “Now is not a […]

Jew-Baiting or Good Journalism at NJ Star-Ledger?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

When New Jersey Mayors, politicians and rabbis get arrested for money laundering, it’s news that should be reported, as it is now on CNN and other major media outlets. I think it’s especially important for Jews to hear this news […]

Jimmy Carter Speaks for Jesus, Moses and Muhammad, or So He Thinks

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Former President Jimmy Carter condemned “the male interpretations of religious texts” that have “provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights . . . This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of […]

Walter Cronkite and Authentic Judaism

posted by Brad Hirschfield

It surprises even me to see Walter Cronkite’s name and the words “authentic Judaism” in the same title, but you can thank Beliefnet’s Steven Waldman for that. He has a piece up about the newly deceased Cronkite and Sandra Nemser, […]

Aphrodisiac Gum in Gaza

posted by Brad Hirschfield

A Hamas official on Tuesday accused Israel of exporting to the Gaza Strip chewing gum laced with an aphrodisiac to “corrupt the young,” according to a report in Israeli daily, Ha’aretz. As goofy as this claim is, and it was […]

Obama Meeting Jewish Leaders Right Now

posted by Brad Hirschfield

In his first such sit-down with Jewish leaders, President Obama will meet this afternoon with representatives of from 11 different major Jewish organizations. The groups include American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Anti-Defamation League, Hadassah, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, […]

Rights vs. Obligations as New York Debates Inclusion of Muslim Holidays

posted by Brad Hirschfield

New York’s City Council voted to add two Muslim holidays to the city’s public school calendar, citing the annual observance of Christian and Jewish holidays. Mayor Bloomberg objects, saying the city isn’t obligated to accommodate all faiths: “If you close […]

The Jewish Community Suffers a Loss

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Dr. Gary Tobin was burried yesterday, and with his death, the Jewish community has lost an important voice for inclusiveness, fearlessness, and the idea that there must be room in the Jewish community for anyone who wants a place. From […]

Israeli Singer, Jo Amar, Died

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Jo Amar, a Moroccan-born Jewish singer whose melding of Andalusian and Israeli musical influences made him a star in Israel and a popular performer in Jewish communities around the world, died on June 29 at the home of his son […]

God Bless America Lawsuit is Settled

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The city of New York has settled a lawsuit brought by a man who was ejected from Yankee Stadium for getting up to go to the bathroom during a rendition of “God Bless America”. I believe in God, I believe […]

Patriot’s Bible is Both Funny and Scary

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The New Patriot’s Bible continues an old tradition found among at least one of the founding fathers; i.e. privileging the reader’s word over God’s. I expect however, that Pastor Richard G. Lee and the other editors of this new edition […]

Jews in the 111th Congress: Down to One…

posted by Brad Hirschfield

With Al Franken taking Norm Coleman’s seat in the Senate, the 111th Congress is down to a single Republican, Virginia’s Eric Cantor, among its 44 Jewish members. I wonder if this is something about which to worry, not because I […]

Should Israel Bomb Iran?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Writing in the Washington Post, Former UN Ambassador John R. Bolton suggests that an Israeli attack aimed at the eradication of Iran’s emergent nuclear capacity is a reasonable proposition. And just yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden told George Stephanopoulos that […]

Is Billy Graham an anti-Semite? Was Richard Nixon?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Newly released tapes from the Nixon Library certainly make these fair questions, and not for the first time. Particularly disturbing, especially for those who have limited familiarity with the New Testament, was their conversation about those who are part of […]

From Clinton to Sanford, Why Do Politicians Invoke God When Apologizing?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Politicians invoke God and the Bible both because it works, and in cases like that of Governor Sanford who compared himself to King David, because it nourishes their outsized egos — situating their personal dramas within a cosmically significant narrative. […]

Guns in Church, or Synagogues and Mosques For That Matter

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Having spent my teens committed to a way of life that celebrated faith and force, this story about a church event celebrating weapons and the right to keep them is more than a little disturbing. The track record of Guns […]

Gilad Shalit Coming Home?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

After three years in captivity, Israeli hostage Gilad Shalit, may soon be transferred to Egypt as part of a prisoner swap, according to European sources. I pray that it’s true and I pray that the swap is a one for […]

When Neo-Nazis Do Good Deeds

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Members of the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi group, not only participate in the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Adopt-a-Highway program, but have named a stretch of the road, which they spend a few hours each month cleaning, in honor of […]

The Cell Phone vs. The Chador in Iran

posted by Brad Hirschfield

From Capitol Hill to Main Street, it’s amazing how many people think the fight in Iran is a battle between the forces of freedom and those of religious fundamentalism. And it’s amazing how wrong they are to reduce a complex […]

Foxy Brown and Prison Chaplains Gone Wild

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Last week’s news of Riker’s Island Prison Chaplain, Rabbi Leib Glanz, arranging a lavish bar-mitzvah party behind bars and a variety of other special privileges, for a Jewish felon was not to be outdone by Glanz’ boss, Imam Umar Abdul […]

Theocracy or Democracy? Is One Always Better?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

“Isn’t the conflict in Iran essentially between supporters of a theocracy and those who aspire to having a democracy?” That is the question that was put to me earlier today by a reporter from National Public Radio. But it seems […]

Blaming “the Jews” for America’s Financial Crisis

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I am not one to worry so much about anti-Semitism, not because it doesn’t exist, but because others do it far too much. But a recent study which indicates that 24.6% of Americans blame “the Jews” a moderate amount or […]

Netanyahu’s ‘Yes’ on Palestine

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu took a bold, if not entirely satisfying, step toward peace on Sunday. Speaking at Bar Ilan University’s commencement exercises in Tel Aviv, the Israeli PM departed from his past positions and redefined Israel’s stance on a […]

Answering Comments on Left/Right Hate Speech

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Many comments on my previous post about the challenges of hate speech found on both the left and the right, deserve a response not only because they are so interesting (they all were), but because they offer real opportunities to […]

Hate Speech From The Right and From The Left

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Paul Krugman is correct in his concern about the level of bellicose puffery emanating from right-wing media and I share his concerns. When Fox news sends out a steady stream of commentary across the nation which uses the language of […]

Reverand Wright is Wrong Again

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Referring to “them Jews”, Jeremiah Wright blamed Jewish voters for keeping his former parishioner, President Obama, from giving him a call. And while he was at it, he blamed “them Jews” from keeping the President from speaking out more forcefull […]

James W. von Brunn Identified as Holocaust Museum Shooter

posted by Brad Hirschfield

James W. von Brunn is not only a bitter old white supremacist; he is also a member of Mensa and a decorated veteran who served as a PT boat captain during World War II. These facts will raise at least […]

Shooting At Holocaust Museum in D.C.

posted by Brad Hirschfield

A man, armed with a rifle, entered the United States Holocaust Museum today at 1 p.m. and shot at least one person before he was shot by a museum gaurd. The AP story about the museum shooting has little other […]

New Hampshire’s Gay Marriage Law: A Reasonable Model for Reasonable People

posted by Brad Hirschfield

New Hampshire’s newly passed law on same-sex marriage is good public policy, and will be welcomed by many people, including both those who support, and those who oppose it. But it won’t end the fight over this divisive issue. Why? […]

Holocaust Memory: Not for Jews Only

posted by Brad Hirschfield

New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind opposes remembering murdered gentiles in a newly approved Brooklyn Holocaust memorial. While admitting that millions of non-Jews were murdered in the Nazi death camps, he seems to think that pain is a commodity, and acknowledging […]

Is America Surrounded by Paganism? Newt Thinks So

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Addressing a crowd gathered this weekend for the “Rediscovering God in America” conference, former House speaker Newt Gingrich told the audience that “we (Americans) are surrounded by paganism“> He didn’t mean it as a compliment. But what did he mean? […]

Will Supporters of Israel Miss Ahmadinejad?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

He’s up for re-election and he actually might not win. Would that be good or bad for pro-Israel groups who have made much of his presence? In his provocative and insightful article, Ron Kampeas specualtes on this question and how […]

Obama’s Speech and Genesis 21: Bridging the Gap Between Islam and the United States

posted by Brad Hirschfield

President Obama’s long-awaited speech (full text of which is here) to “the Muslim world” (in quotes because the term itself may further the false premise of a monolithic reality) contained any number of things which troubled me. They trouble me […]

Taylor v. Feinberg: Disowning and Mourning Jews Who Intermarry

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The case of Taylor v. Feinberg pitted the descendants of Max and Erla Feinberg against the estate of their grandparents. According to the Feinberg’s will: “A descendant of mine other than a child of mine who marries outside the Jewish […]

Jewish Nude: Israeli Model Bar Refaeli on Cover of Esquire

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Ranked repeatedly as one of the world’s “hottest” women, Bar Refaeli appears nude on the cover of the July edition of Esquire. Pictures from the shoot can be seen here. But before you head there, consider the following: The pictures […]

Killing Doctors Who Perform Abortions: A Jewish Perspective

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Dr. George Tiller was murdered, it seems, because he performed abortions. Those who defend such actions justify them by claiming that it is entirely appropriate to kill a person in order to prevent their killing others. Are they right? It’s […]

Child Sacrifice is More Common Than You Think

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Of course, child sacrifice should horrify us. But the fact that it still exists, and is making headlines in a number of states, should not really surprise us. After all, the notion of using the life of one’s child to […]

Israel, Palestine and a Triumph for Freedom of Speech

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Time Magazine has an article under the banner Postcard from Ramallah. It describes a compelling exercise in freedom of speech and conscious worthy of celebration, regardless of what one thinks of the situation in Israel and the Palestinian Territories or […]

Carrie Prejean, Queen Esther and Evangelical Christians

posted by Brad Hirschfield

David Gibson’s piece on Carrie Prejean, Queen Esther and American Evangelicals was an eye-opener for me, and I am not even entirely clear about his conclusion. But the fact that the conflict-embroiled Miss USA wannabe is being touted by many […]

Orthodox Women Rabbis: Possibility or Prank?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Can Women in the Orthodox community join their fellow- (no pun intended) females in the rabbinic ranks of the Conservative, Reconstructionist, Reform, Renewal, and post-denominational movements? This article about Orthodox women rabbis, announces the opening of a new program which […]

Bible Bill is a Great Idea…In Theory

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The so-called Bible bill which Georgia Republican Congressman, Paul Broun is trying to make into law, is a wonderful idea…in theory. What’s wrong with a law which would declare 2010 the “year of the Bible”? Given that we already have […]

Bronx Synagogues Targeted by Terrorists

posted by Brad Hirschfield

When my daughter asked me last night why there were so many helicopters flying over our home, I told her there was probably an accident on the expressway closest to our house. I left out the possibility that they were […]

Meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in Nazareth

posted by Brad Hirschfield

When my cell phone rang at ten o’clock last night, it was my brother. “So, did you meet him? Did you shake his hand?” And I responded, “Yes, I have met the man in the red Gucci loafers.” We talked […]

Westboro Cult of Hate; How Should People Respond?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka Kansas, infamous for its grotesque protest marches at the funerals of fallen US service personel, usually under banners proclaiming “God Hates Fags”, is at it again. This time the target is Jews. Combining ancient […]

The Pope, Yad Vashem, and Sheikh al-Tamimi

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Pope Benedict found the peace and unity he seeks on his pilgrimage to Israel, more than a little elusive on his first full day in the country. But in each case, the problem lay not so much with the Pope, […]

Pope Benedict’s First Words Upon Landing in Israel

posted by Brad Hirschfield

“The hopes of countless men, women and children for a more secure and stable future depend on the outcome of negotiations for peace,” he told a welcoming ceremony at Israel’s international airport. “In union with people of goodwill everywhere, I […]

A Mothers Day Gift for You and Your Mom, From Twitter

posted by Brad Hirschfield

What to do for our mothers and the mothers of our children on Mothers Day? Flowers and family dinners out are wonderful, but end quickly. A moving story by Rabbi Irwin Kula on The Huffington Post suggests using the structure […]

National Day of Prayer Observed, But Not At White House

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Today is the National Day of Prayer, as mandated by Congress. And President Obama has made a wise, but unfortunate decision by not hosting any event in observance of the day. Whether hosting such an event is constitutionally justifiable or […]

Biden Tells AIPAC About Israel and Palestine

posted by Brad Hirschfield

“Israel has to work for a two state-solution. You’re not going to like my saying this, but not build more settlements, dismantle existing outposts and allow Palestinians freedom of movement … and access to economic opportunity,” Vice President Joe Biden […]

Pope Will Not Visit Israeli Holocaust Museum

posted by Brad Hirschfield

It’s disappointing that Pope Benedict XVl will not visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust museum and memorial on his upcoming trip to the Middle East. And it’s equally disappointing that his decision is such a big deal to so many […]

Pat Buchanan: Accessory to Murder?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Intelligent, entertaining, and occasionally guilty of virulent anti-Semitism, Pat Buchanan has outdone himself when it comes to the latter, with his recent comments comparing former Nazi John Demjanjuk with Jesus. It’s worse than the fact that the comparison is, as […]

Torah, Torture and Obama’s News Conference

posted by Brad Hirschfield

President Obama had the chance last night to slam the door on torture, but did not take it. One can agree or disagree with him on this, but he claimed that his opposition to torture was not based on an […]

Obama Congratulates Israel on 61st, Do You?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

President Obama made the following remarks, congratulating Israel on 61 years of independance: “On behalf of the people of the United States, President Obama congratulates the people and government of Israel on the 61st anniversary of Israel’s independence,” said the […]

Loving Israel as a Model for Loving Anything or Anyone

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I love Israel. It’s as simple….and as complicated, as that. I loved Israel as a pork-eating child who had real pride in being Jewish, but no time for “old-fashioned” religion. I loved Israel as a settler who carried a book […]

No Swine Flu in Israel, It’s Not Kosher

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I wish this were a joke. I wish that in the modern state of Israel, on the eve of 61 years of independence, this were not a headline. But it it’s not, and it is. Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman […]

Should Terror Victims and Fallen Soldiers be Remembered the Same Way?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Tonight marks the beginning of Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day. Traditionally observed to recall those men and women who paid the ultimate price for the creation and ongoing security of the State of Israel, the day has begun to change. […]

Good News From Durban II

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Nine countries boycotted, “Durban II”, the United Nations human rights conference, going right now in Geneva. And even more significantly, approximately fifty delegates representing the most powerful nations that chose to participate, walked out in the middle of Iranian President […]

Reading Genesis 1:28 on Earth Day

posted by Brad Hirschfield

God blessed them (humans) and god said to them, “Be fertile an increase, fill the earth and master it; and rule the fish of the sea the birds of the sky, and all of the living things that creep on […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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. […]

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 […]

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.   […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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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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