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Windows and Doors

Windows and Doors

Pop Culture Archives

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

posted by Brad Hirschfield

An Apple application that let users guess which French politicians or celebrities are Jewish was pulled from France’s App Store. but its American equivalent is still available. French activist groups said the “Jew or Not Jew?” app violated bans on compiling […]

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Is Realty TV Really Kosher? The Ethics Of Realty TV

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I know, at first it seems that ethics and reality TV are about as connected as fire and water – one being the antidote for the other.  But perhaps it’s not as simple as that, a conclusion supported by the […]

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Hard Core Atheist Secularists and Their Religious Counterparts Become Increasingly Alike

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Secularists, atheists really, are following other ethnic and religious identity groups in using academia to create and/or shore up a particular cultural identity.  For example, noted atheist secularist, and editor of the Humanistic Bible, A. C. Grayling is opening a […]

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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 […]

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

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

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

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Israel: Leading the World in In Vitro Fertilization

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

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

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Larry David’s Jewish Universe

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Like the old Levy’s rye bread commercial said, “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Larry”.  Okay, they said “to love Levy’s”, but you get the point.  And it’s true, that you don’t need to be Jewish to love […]

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

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Memorial Day 2011, A Biblical Approach

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

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

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Did God Create The World?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Is Circumcision Really So Awful?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Heroic Fall

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Having has been known as The Terminator and as The Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger is now being called by some, The Inseminator.  By whatever name he goes however, he is clearly a hero in the classic sense of the word.  His […]

New Bible Anyone? This One, Without God!

posted by Brad Hirschfield

A new testament has been published.  No not a new edition of the New Testament, but a new testament — a scripture for secular humanists.  Of course, when it comes to the making of new books, the Book of Ecclesiastes […]

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

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

When Good Kabbalah Goes Bad?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

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?  […]

Is Religion Headed For Extinction?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Heaven, Hell and Rob Bell

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Rob Bell’s new book, Love Wins, continues to stir controversy and provoke debate in many religious circles. Whether Bell is correct or not about who gets into heaven and who will go to Hell is not something which anyone can […]

The “Tefillin Scare” on Alaska Airlines

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

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 […]

Does Charlie Sheen Hate Jews?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Headlines from a variety of entertainment, business and news sources are announcing the cancelation of Charlie Sheen’s long-running television program; Two and a Half Men. The reason why? A crazy rant delivered by the abusive and often drunk or high […]

Top 10 Anti-Semitic Rants of 2010

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Prayer in Public Schools — The Democratic Way To Go?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Honor Killings and The Death Of A Friend

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

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

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

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

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

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 […]

The Biggest Jewish Story of 2010

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

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 […]

Certifying Food as Ethically Kosher

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Time to Get Rid of the Rabbinate?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Today’s Haaretz features an op-ed suggesting that the time has come to shut down Israel’s Chief Rabbinate. The article, written by Yithak Laor is filled with misconceptions about the workings of Jewish jurisprudence e.g. that rabbis don’t feel obliged to […]

What’s Your Calling?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Ever wonder why people choose to become rabbis, priests, ministers or imams? Ever consider what it means to think of your own work as more than a job, but as a calling? Although it’s often assumed to be a real […]

Best Jewish Book of 2010

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Most Best Of lists tell us more about the list-makers than about anything else, and this one is probably no different, but that doesn’t it isn’t useful in thinking about what were the best Jewish books of 2010. The truth […]

What’s a Jewish Christmas?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

America’s 30 Most Jewish Cities

posted by Brad Hirschfield

What’s a “Jewish city”, you may ask. Is it based on the number of Jews that reside there? Perhaps it is a city which celebrates Jewish holidays or favors classically Jewish foods? Is a city more Jewish because of the […]

Did Jesus Celebrate Hanukkah? And 9 Other Most Popular Holiday Questions

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This list, taken from one of web’s leading search engines, reflects the 10 most asked questions related to Hanukkah. I take full responsibility for the answers and look forward to you adding your own. 1. When does Hanukkah begin? Hanukkah […]

How To Stay Thankful, On Thanksgiving and Beyond

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Thanksgiving is here and I love the holiday. I also appreciate that being thankful can be challenging in difficult times, whether the challenges are related to finances, health, or relationships. But it’s precisely when we find ourselves in challenging circumstances […]

Jewish Jokes: What Makes Them Funny, Or Not

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I have been back and forth today with a group of friends over the following Jewish joke, why some of them find it hilarious and why I just don’t. I mean, it’s cute and all, but LOL funny? You decide, […]

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 […]

Are Indians Meant To Be Poor?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Jewish Rock Radio — What It’s All About

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

How Would God Vote?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Voting More Sacred Than Victory

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Finding God with Google

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Like pretty much everything else, God can be found on Google. And this week, with the help of Google Street View, you don’t even have to search for images of the Divine to find you. This image, captured by the […]

The Finkler Question and What It Means To Be Jewish

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Rand Paul and Jack Conway Bring Faith Down

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

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. […]

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 […]

Who Knows God and Who Knows About God

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

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

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

How Religious Are Israelis? How religious Are You?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Just-released polling data shows that when asked, only 42% of Israelis defined themselves as secular, and of those 82% conduct a Passover Seder and 24% attend synagogue services over Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur! What’s all this mean and why […]

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 […]

Teaching Talmud in Korea?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

When Rabbis Cheat, Who Is To Blame?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Is Generosity The Newest Status Symbol?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Eat, Pray, Love…and then what?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Eat, Pray, Love is all the rage, again. After its run on bestseller lists a few years back, it is set to be a major movie success, starring Julia Roberts. It makes one wonder why, and whether or not it […]

Orthodox Leaders on Homosexuality

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Will Chelsea and Mark’s Intermarriage Last?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Oliver Stone Puts Hitler “In Context”

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Gingrich Wrong on “Ground Zero Mosque”, Mostly

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

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 […]

Tisha B’Av 2010 – Why Mourning AND Recovery are Sacred

posted by Brad Hirschfield

How does a nation mourn a national tragedy? How much is enough? How much is too much? How does mourning help us to move on – to move back into life? These are the big questions which animate Tisha B’Av, […]

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 […]

Who Keeps Kosher and Why

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

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 […]

Father’s Day Lessons From the Bible’s Lousy Dads

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Father’s Day is not only a great time to celebrate fatherhood, and the actual fathers in our lives, but a good opportunity to think about what being a father really means and how to get better at it. The Bible […]

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 […]

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 […]

A Jewish/Biblical Practice for Memorial Day

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month with President Obama and Sandy Koufax

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

American Idol 2010 Winner Lee DeWyze and the Bible

posted by Brad Hirschfield

So its official, American Idol 2010 has a winner and it’s Lee DeWyze. DeWyzes’ victory over the other finalist, Crystal Bowersox, came as no huge surprise to many of the show’s fans and followers in the media. Even though many […]

A Bible-based Immigration Policy

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month at the White House

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

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 […]

Is Treyf The New Kosher?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

What Does Being Jewish Mean?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Mother’s Day 2010 – Is It Jewish?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

How could it not be? That doesn’t mean that it’s also not Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Pagan, Buddhist, etc. It’s not a zero sum thing, as it rarely is in these things. But that is for another time. I know that […]

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 […]

Is Homosexuality an Abomination? Sitting in Synagogue, Reading Leviticus 18:22

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The issue of gayness is among the most polarizing issues in our society, especially among people who describe themselves as religious. Without addressing what the “right” answers are, there is no question that there are few issues over which we […]

What Does Judaism Say About Sex?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

I was asked that question this week by the Newsweek.WahsingtonPost.com’s On Faith section. And while there is no way to answer that question in a few hundred words, or even with a single answer, there are certain things that we […]

Earth Day 2010: Is the Earth Angry?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Finding Comfort Following Tragedy – Two New Nachamus

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The Shabbat after Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) is always a little bitter-sweet for me. The move from profound tragedy to a taste of the World To Come, as Shabbat is sometimes called is not so simple. How do we […]

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, […]

Super-Sizing Matzah, Cups of Wine and Even Portions at the Last Supper

posted by Brad Hirschfield

For years, people have noted that in many Jewish circles, the minimum amount of food required to fulfill one’s obligation with respect to eating-related mitzvot has been on the rise. This trend can be seen for example, in the amounts […]

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 […]

How Young Is Too Young To Get Married?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

A trend that was until recently limited to the Hasidic world, is emerging in other parts of the Jewish community. It involves the age at which people are getting married. And it translates into kids (yes, i know thta’s my […]

New Music, But Is It Jewish? Is It Even New?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

There is tons of “new” music being produced and presented as “new Jewish music”, but is it either? Can it be considered “new” when it it draws so heavily and obviously on traditional Jewish music? And what makes music, or […]

Cursing Jews in the Name of God

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Watching the Academy Awards and Waiting for the Messiah

posted by Brad Hirschfield

On Sunday, tens of millions of viewers will sit down to watch the Academy Awards. Endless attention will be paid to the celebrities walking down the Red Carpet, who they’re with, and what they’re wearing, with plenty of follow up […]

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 […]

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

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Tiger Woods’ Apology and Its Lessons for All of Us

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

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 […]

Voodoo and False Prophecy

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The level of hostility evoked by my thoughts on Judaism and Voodoo, both in an earlier post here at Windows and Doors, as well in a recent New York Jewish Week article by Jonathan Mark got me thinking. Why are […]

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 […]

A Jewish Valentine’s Day

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Perhaps the notion of a Jewish Valentine’s Day sounds odd. After all, Valentine’s Day combines the cultures of pagan Rome and early Christianity, so where does Judaism fit in? I know, it’s “really” a secular commercial day and even thinking […]

Super Bowl XLIV: Pro-Life and Anti-Gay

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Auschwitz Model Made of Gold Teeth

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Phylactery Funnies or Tefillin Test

posted by Brad Hirschfield

You gotta love this image which landed on my desk this morning, both because of how funny it is and how telling: While it’s true that no one will get thrown off an El Al Israel Airlines flight because someone […]

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

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Is “Green” the Newest Religion? Is Guilt Good?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Stephen Asma asks, in the most recent Chronicle of Higher Education, if going Green has replaced Classical religion among the American mainstream, at least insofar as it fuels our sense of moral guilt. It’s an interesting idea, because it reminds […]

Mourning Miep Gies, Who Saved Anne Frank Twice

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Happy Birthday Elvis! Were you Jewish?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Elvis Presley would have turned 75 today, and people are still asking if he was Jewish. Well, perhaps he was, at least according to Jewish law, if not in his own mind. According to some Elvis historians, his mother’s maternal […]

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 […]

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

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Top 10 Wines of 2009

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Biggest Religion Story of ’09: Faith Gains Ground

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Gay and Orthodox: The Saga Continues

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Here is a letter, signed by Talmidei HaYeshiva – “Students of the Yeshiva”, in response to last week’s historic public conversation at Yeshiva University which featured four gay men, all current students or alumni of that institution. While it may […]

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 […]

Faith and People with Disabilities

posted by Brad Hirschfield

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 out of 5 Americans lives with at least one disability. Whether that is the proper word or not, the bottom line remains that physical, medical, emotional challenges are a part of life. […]

News From World’s Biggest Multi-Faith Festival

posted by Brad Hirschfield

As you read this post, it is already tomorrow morning in Melbourne Australia (still freaks me out), where I am attending the Parliament of the World’s Religions – the world’s largest multi-religious meeting, bringing together 12,000 participants from as many […]

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 […]

A Modern Thanksgiving Story That Inspires

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Thanksgiving Recipes – How Kosher Turkeys Help

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

The “Kosher” Vampires of Twilight

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Twilight screenwriter, Melissa Rosenberg, tells the Jewish Journal that “her” vampires are not like any others. “They’re kosher vampires,” Rosenberg says, laughing. To call them “kosher” may be a stretch, but the leading figure, Edward Cullen, and his family are […]

Should Jews Celebrate Thanksgiving?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This should be a no-brainer, right? Well for a significant number of Orthodox Jews, it’s not so obvious and that fact speaks volumes to the thinking of many in that community. Interestingly, it is precisely those who think the answer […]

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 […]

Calling The Bible A Myth May Not Be Such A Bad Idea

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This short article by Robin Yassin-Kassab, makes an intriguing claim about the wisdom of seeing the Bible, or any sacred literature, as mythology. Myth doesn’t mean untruth any more than a great novel does. Myth is heightened truth. A myth […]

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 […]

Should DC Sniper, John Muhammad, Die?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

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

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Shooting at Los Angeles Synagogue

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

“A Serious Man” Is No Serious Threat To Jews

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Having received numerous questions about the Coen brothers’ most recent film, a contemporary commentary on the Book of Job, called A Serious Man, I am going to respond even though I have not yet seen the movie. How can I […]

Are You Good Without God?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Is Circumcision For Everyone?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Responding to both a growing anti-circumcision movement and her own hysteria surrounding the circumcision of her two sons, Hanna Rosin writes in the most recent New York Magazine about why the case for circumcision is good for everyone, at least […]

Mourning and Consolation on Facebook, and Other Sacred Spaces

posted by Brad Hirschfield

We all have loss in our lives. I wish we didn’t, but we do. So the real question is where do we turn with our grief? From whom do we seek and receive comfort? What practices help us to heal? […]

Halloween 2009: Tips from a Rabbi About How To Celebrate

posted by Brad Hirschfield

On October 31, children across America will don their capes and masks and go door-to-door collecting candy and treats to celebrate Halloween. But for many traditional Jewish families and even for some Christian ones, Halloween is a time of unease […]

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 […]

Jewish Haiku: Jewish Identity Issues in 17 Syllables

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Jews and Haikus are A Rorschach test reflecting Who we think we are Beyond the 17 syllables arranged in three lines of five, seven, and five respectively, and beyond the nicely rhyming rhythm of “Haikus and Jews”, this poetic form […]

Columbus Day 2009: Was Christopher Columbus Jewish?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

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

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

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 […]

What Is Jewish Pride? Dallas Cowboys’ Igor Olshansky Knows

posted by Brad Hirschfield

What does it mean to be proud of who you are? What does a “proud Jew” look like? In the case of Igor Olshansky, it means being a 6’6″, 315 lb. Defensive End for the Dallas Cowboys who bears twin […]

Sukkot: How to Build a Sukkah — Ask These Architects, or Follow This Simple Plan

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Sukkot begins in just a few hours, and while you might not be able to build a sukkah as amazing as a group of architecture students as Wesleyan University, what they did is worth seeing because of the creativity, pride, […]

Sukkot 2009: What is a Sukkah and Why Do Jews Sit In Them

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Sukkot, the week-long Jewish holiday which begins at sundown this Friday, October 2, 2009, goes all the way back to the Hebrew Bible. Exodus 23:16 and Deuteronomy 16:13 describe it as an Israelite Thanksgiving (but without the turkey), while Leviticus […]

Send Your Prayers to the Western Wall Via iPhone

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Using one’s iPhone as a prayer tool is not necessarily a bad thing. But feeling that it’s necessary to pray, or even to get one’s prayers to the Kotel, the Western Wall, is. I’ll explain, but a bit of background […]

Go To an Online Synagogue This Yom Kippur

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

Adultery Is About More Than Sex, Even According To The Ten Commandments

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Adultery hurts pretty much everybody associated with it, even if they don’t know it at the time. That’s what two of its defenders fail to appreciate on ABC News’ first show in a Nightline series about the Ten Commandments. But […]

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 […]

R. Crumb’s Genesis, Heavenly or Heretical?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

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

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Finding God on Facebook and Praying on Twitter

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Thanks to new digital technologies, we can ‘tweet’ prayers via Twitter to the Western Wall or prayer requests to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We can participate in worship services and discuss holy texts via Facebook. We can create […]

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 […]

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 […]

Tisha B’av and the Ethics of Communication

posted by Brad Hirschfield

A response to Norwegian Shooter who commented on yesterday’s post as follows: When I returned to your blog to see if you responded to my comment on the previous post, I was quite surprised to see you posted your comment […]

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 […]

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 […]

Addressing Laillyt’s and Rod Dreher’s Irreconcilable Differences

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Commenting on my earlier post about Gandhi, and whether or not truth and love always win out, Laillyt writes: Rabbi, what exactly do you mean by ‘truth’ and ‘love’? I’m a Jew and a lesbian, and the deepest truth of […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Brick Testament: A Lego Bible

posted by Brad Hirschfield

The End Is Here Ever performed a magic trick for your friends? Committed adultery? Worshipped an idol? Are you cowardly? How about filthy? Have you ever told a lie? If so, bad news. You are going to be ceaselessly tortured […]

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 […]

Good God

posted by Brad Hirschfield

That’s the title of a new book by Daniel A. Weiner, an author, university lecturer, and Reform rabbi from Seattle. It’s a beautiful book which I read over the weekend, and one which I recommend to anyone looking for an […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Randy Cohen Questions Catholic, Muslim and Orthodox Jewish Ethics

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This week’s NY Times Magazine carries a question posed to Randy Cohen, who writes “The Ethicist” column, and his answer strikes me as ethically questionable. But first the question and relevant portion of his answer: “I belong to a Catholic […]

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 […]

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 […]

Bar Mitzvah in Jail at Taxpayers’ Expense

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Many people believe that Bar and Bat Mitzvah parties are “out of control” in terms of lavishness and cost. They even made a movie about it called Keeping Up With The Steins. If you haven’t seen it, you should, especially […]

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 […]

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? […]

Why Do Straight People Go To Gay Synagogues?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

This reminds me of the old joke about the reporter who asked the famous bank robber, Willy Sutton, why he robbed banks. Sutton replied, “Because that’s where the money is”. People attend a particular synagogue because that’s where the meaning […]

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 […]

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 […]

Poor, Jewish and on the Lower East Side: The New American Girl Doll

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Normally, I save my musings about American Girl dolls and their roll in life for home – we have three daughters ranging in age from 15 – 8, so it’s not unfamiliar territory. But comments about the release of the […]

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 […]

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 […]

Sex and Clergy: What’s Appropriate and When?

posted by Brad Hirschfield

With the love lives of priests in the news again, this time Miami’s Father Cutie’, a man torn between love of his tradition and love of a woman, people are asking if clergy restrictions based on gender, marital status or […]

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 […]

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 […]

How to Define Conversion? Ask Madonna, Katie Holmes and William James

posted by Brad Hirschfield

With more than 30% of Americans changing religious affiliations during the course of our lifetimes, it makes sense to ask what it means to convert. Is it about leaving home and striking out for new territory, never to see the […]

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 […]

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R. Kirby Godsey’s new book, Is God A Christian?, challenges what the author describes as the commonly held belief among many religious people that the God in whom they believe is “one of them”.  People, Mr. Kirby observes, too often ...

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

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

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

Gilad Shalit, Still A Prisoner After 1,900 Days
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posted 9:04:17am Sep. 08, 2011 | read full post »

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