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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 […]

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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Celebrating Jerusalem, In Its Glory and In Its Madness

posted by Brad Hirschfield

As Jerusalem Day begins, I share these reflections on the holy city – what it means and what it has meant to different people and different traditions.  Like the city itself, the various comments both compliment and contradict each other.  […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

Who Are Your “Brothers and Sisters”? Ask Governor Bentley

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Who is included in your spiritual family? Who are your brothers and sisters? What is your relationship to those who are not? Events this week in Alabama evoke all these questions. Alabama’s newly sworn-in Governor, Robert Bentley, declared that “Anybody […]

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 […]

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 […]

Obama Ends DADT, Opposes Gay Marriage

posted by Brad Hirschfield

After affixing his signature to the repeal of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy which barred openly gay men and lesbians from serving in the military, President Obama admitted that he still opposes same-sex marriages. Saying that his “feelings (about […]

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 […]

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 […]

Burn a Witch, Have a Beer, All in Good Fun, Right?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Witch’s Wit beer may be tasty, but the label is distasteful. See for yourself: I am sure that the beer-makers were not inspired by malice toward witches or any other Pagan practitioners, but in a world in which people are […]

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. […]

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 […]

What Counts as a “Church”?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

What counts as a church, synagogue, mosque or temple, can be decided in many ways. Synagogue, the category closest to my heart, is simply a Greek word for a gathering, and the Hebrew term beit kenesset means the same thing. […]

Christine O’Donnell’s God

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell invoked God and God’s will in explaining her political aspirations. Some find her remarks beautiful and others, including the majority of On Faith panelists; find it quite disturbing – some going so far as […]

Avoiding the Flood

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This week’s Torah reading centers on Noah, the flood and its aftermath. While there are many comments one could, and even should, make about a story which introduces the concept of God as a remorseful, rage-filled, killer who stops just […]

Is Tolerance Good Enough?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Whom do you find virtually intolerable when it comes to faith, politics or any of the other topics which we are often told are not good topics for polite conversation? If you are like most Americans, whoever is on your […]

Sex with Enemies Okay According to Israeli Rabbi

posted by Brad Hirschfield

No, it’s not a joke. Rabbi Ari Shvat has ruled that it is permissible for female agents of Israel’s spy service, Mossad, to use sex as a tool to fight terror. So-called “Honey Pot Sex” in which terrorists or potential […]

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 […]

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 […]

Why Religious Institutions Fail: A Tisha B’av Reflection

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av coincides this year with sundown on July 19th, recalls the collapse of ancient Judaism’ central religious institution — the Jerusalem Temple. The First Temple, built by King Solomon and destroyed by […]

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 […]

The Things We Do For God

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The things we do for God, or imagine that we do for God, or do for an imagined God – it doesn’t matter which, since it’s largely the same thing, range from the very best things in the world to […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Jewish Playboy Bunnies

posted by Brad Hirschfield

No, I am not talking about Barbi Benton or Linsay Vuolo, both whom I know, both whom are Jewish and both of whom have posed for Playboy. Though that is not how I know them. These are a slightly different […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

The Simpsons Visit Jerusalem

posted by Brad Hirschfield

On March 28th Homer Simpson and the rest of his yellow-headed family will head to Jerusalem. It’s actually not so surprising. Travels, and the lessons learned along the way, have been an important part of this cartoon family’s journey 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

What Maureen Dowd Doesn’t Get

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Writing in today’s New York Yimes, Maureen Dowd fails to appreciate that simply because someone draws a comparison between two things, does mean that the two are meaningfully comparable. I may compare the severity of breaking my toe to someone […]

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 […]

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 […]

Gays in the Military: A Religious Issue?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Top U.S. officials say they want to repeal the decades-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which requires gay soldiers to keep their sexual orientation secret. I was asked recently if I believe that religious views should be a factor in […]

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 […]

Elie Wiesel Wouldn’t Cry for Ahmadinejad. Would God?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel said today that if Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were assassinated, he would not shed a tear. I find this response entirely understandable, disturbing that it was said, and contrary to a powerful spiritual teaching from […]

Finding Kosher Food in Indonesia

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I am currently a guest of both the United States government and the Foreign Ministry of Indonesia, participating in an unprecedented encounter, facilitated by New York-based Religions for Peace, between a group of faith leaders from the world’s most powerful […]

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, […]

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 […]

Defining Chutzpah and the Spirit of Tzedakah/Charity

posted by Brad Hirschfield

A friend shared the following definition of chutzpah with me, and it came with an accompanying image and story, both of which drive home that definition. That story also teaches a profound insight about caring for people in need, why […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Evacuating the Settlements: God vs. the State of Israel

posted by Brad Hirschfield

That is how leading yeshiva heads, rabbis and teachers representing the Hesder system, which combines service in the Israeli military with study in rabbinic seminary, are framing the debate about whether or not their students may evacuate West Bank residents […]

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 […]

President Obama’s Hanukkah Message: What Do You Think?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Here is the text of President Obama’s Hanukkah message. I share it along with the opening lines of President Bush’s comments to those who gathered at the 2005 White House Hanukkah party. It makes for a fascinating comparison and also […]

Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas and the December Culture Wars

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I love Chanukah (also spelled Hanukkah), which begins on December 11 this year, and yet I will not greet everyone I meet for the succeeding eight days, from doormen and cashiers to cab drivers and train conductors with a big […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Supreme Court Upholds “Jewish Clause” Disinheriting Inter-Married Children

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Illinois Supreme Court unanimously upheld the legality of a so-called “Jewish Clause” in the will of Max Feinberg. The “Jewish Clause” disinherited any of Mr. Feinberg’s children or grandchildren who married non-Jews. From this layman’s perspective, it seems like […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Health Care Reform and Halakha (Jewish Law)

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Health-care reform is an economic, political and medical issue. But former Beliefnet blogger and political activist and evangelical leader Jim Wallis says it’s also a “deeply theological issue, a Biblical issue and a moral issue.” To the extent that he […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

Tisha B’av, Francis Collins, and Lashon HaRah

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Responding to yesterday’s post about the consternation provoked in both the savagely secular and rabidly religious camps, Shoshanna commented: mazel tov, Rabbi, on finally joining the fray against the Christophole nudnick (and most recently, as a recent reader post on […]

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 […]

Is Gandhi Right? Do “Truth and Love Always Win”?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Beliefnet gallery of quotes currently on the site’s homepage fascinates and troubles me. It is easy to read the quotes, especially the one which teaches that truth and love always win and get a quick hit of inspiration. But […]

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, […]

Islamophobia and Free Speech

posted by Brad Hirschfield

In most cases, I truly believe that the response to bad speech is not restriction of speech, but more and better speech. But there are times when language becomes sufficiently dangerous and hateful that I think it really should be […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

Freedom of Religion Includes Wearing Burqas

posted by Brad Hirschfield

French President Sarkozy is throwing his weigh behind a law which would make burqa-wearing a crime in France. He could not be more wrong. Burqas are certainly a public matter which merit Sarkozy’s attention. But the public, be it in […]

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 […]

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 […]

Deut. 4:9 and Shocking News About Men and Cancer

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Men are 60 percent more likely to develop forms of cancer that affect both genders, and 70 percent more likely to die from the disease, British researchers found. Pretty scarry right? But the good news is that there are things […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

When Muslims and Jews Cry Wolf

posted by Brad Hirschfield

City of Brass blogger, Aziz Poonwalla, takes the Simon Wiesenthal Center to task for screening “The Third Jihad”. Is he right? Yes and no. There is no question that it’s an incendiary film and to that end, it’s fair to […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

Reform Rabbis Violating Church-State Separation?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This morning’s press release from the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the world’s largest body of Jewish clergy, “pledges support for (the) Obama administration’s policy in Afghanistan.” And in so doing they raise a real question about the propriety of […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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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!  

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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