Religion Today

Rabbinic Reflections: ‘One nation under God’

Does religion free us or bind us? I am not talking about rules or rituals, I am talking whether religion allows humanity to flourish or does it turn us into seekers of stability and nostalgia. Both are likely true, and yet I ask because I believe that religious calls for change and for stability need to be in balance. I believe America thrives when they are in ...

 
 

Applied Belief: Jesus never said sorry

Guess how many times Jesus said sorry. How many times did he apologize for something he said or did? Let me help you out there. The answer is somewhere between zero and zero. Now you might be thinking that we can't possibly know because we don't have every single word that Jesus said because Jesus has always existed and the Gospels are not an exhaustive documentation ...

 

Rabbinic Reflections: Arise & encounter

What if Moses wore a Fitbit or an Apple Watch when he went up Mount Sinai? Would all that data from 40 days (and a few backup batteries) help us understand his experience better? Would knowing how many steps up and down he took change our perspective? Would knowing his heart rate at the moment the 10 Commandments were given tell us how to feel? If he sent live tweets ...

 

Applied Belief: Jesus still weeps

In one week we will celebrate Palm Sunday. This is a day we remember what is called the triumphal entry of Jesus. The gospels record that this was a day filled with shouts of acclamation but perhaps more significant, we find only the second recorded time when Jesus weeps. The first being when Jesus’ friend Lazarus died. Luke records, “And when he [Jesus] drew near ...

 

Rabbinic Reflections: Joy in the face of hate

Sit up. Sit quietly. Sit still. Are these phrases you heard as a child growing up in church or another house of worship? I certainly did when my parents took me to synagogue. For the last quarter of the 20th century, American religion was mostly a religion of decorum. It mattered little what faith was expressed from the pulpit, the pews were a place to sit, to ...

 

Applied Belief: So much for Lent

For Lent this year I am giving up smoking. And guess what, I don’t smoke. Confused? Let me explain. The point is this. For many, Lent has become an annual ritual. People chose something to give up or “fast” from for 40 days, if they can last that long. It almost feels like the New Year’s resolutions people make. “I will give up fast food this year.” The problem is, ...

 

Rabbinic Reflections: City upon a hill

My grandfather told the story of his escape. The Czar’s army on one side and the Bolshevik revolutionaries on the other, he left his town in Russia in an uncovered wagon. He had to lay flat as bullets whizzed overhead and often lodged in the side of the wagon. Behind him, his neighbors jeered, angry to lose their last remaining tailor. Somehow, he made it to America, ...

 

Applied Belief: Sex is all you need

In 1967, the Beatles released their infamous song “Love is all you need.” This song came out during a time deemed in popular culture as the “sexual revolution.” Now for transparency let me be clear I was not around in 1967 nor was I even a thought in my parent’s minds since they were 15 and 12 years old then. This song highlights the concept of love and that in the ...

 

Rabbinic Reflections: I am not afraid

On Monday, Jan. 9, a bomb threat was called in simultaneously to 16 different Jewish Community Centers, including the one in Wilmington. You can read more, here. My school, Albert Einstein Academy Jewish Day School, is on that campus. Immediately upon receiving word about the threat, we evacuated our K-5 elementary school students. Our students and staff got out of ...

 

Rabbinic Reflections: Lighting, not lights

Now is the time to take back Hanukkah! Enough with the “Happy Holidays.” No need for a national chanukiyah [Hanukkah menorah] (nor local public square ones). Let’s give up on outdoor light displays to compete with neighbors’ Christmas lights (full disclosure, I staunchly supported such competition in the past). In fact, let’s stop using the chanukiyah’s allotment of ...

 

Applied Belief: God doesn’t need you

Merry Christmas! Yes, it is that time of year again. It is truly amazing that we are less than 30 days from a new year. It has been a long year and many are excited to celebrate Christmas and move on to 2017. With a new year comes new challenges, but also the opportunity once more to try to keep and achieve some resolutions that you have tried every new year. As we ...