Religion Today

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 ...

 

Rabbinic Reflections: Internally ever after

I planned to write about the Cubs winning the World Series. Rabbi Solomon Schechter, the second president of The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, from which I am ordained, famously said, “Gentleman, in order to succeed in the American rabbinate, you must be able to talk baseball.” Indeed, the 108-year wait to win a World Series had taken on messianic ...

 

Applied Belief: Jesus and the Cubs

Who cares who wins the election? The Cubs have won the World Series for the first time in 108 years. If anyone needed a silver lining in this election year, there you have it! Now in a few days from the publishing of this article we probably will know who will be the next President of the United States. It feels as though this has been the longest election cycle in ...

 

Rabbinic Reflections: A God of account

Is God love? Is God king? Are the two mutually exclusive? I spent the recent Jewish High Holy Days gripped by these questions. It all started when I heard a rabbi ask children at a family service how they think of God. The answers were generationally very different and in stark contrast to the themes and tropes of the High Holy Days. Immediately, I wanted time to ...