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Jewish Thought

HALF EMPTY 11/24/2014 01:44 PM

I have always attempted to be a pragmatist, a realist, if you will. The advantage of being such a realist is that one is rarely truly shocked or surprised by the events of life as they unfold. The highs of life are not really that high and the lows are not really that low. It becomes a matter of perspective, of patience, and above all, a matter of faith. It is the high expectations that we...

החצי הריק 11/23/2014 11:42 AM

תמיד השתדלתי להיות אדם פרגמאטי, ריאלי, אם תרצו. כשאתה אדם מהסוג הזה, היתרון הוא שרק לעתים נדירות אתה נתקל במשהו שבאמת מדהים או מפתיע אותך. אתה מבין שהשיאים של החיים אינם כל כך גבוהים, וגם נקודות השפל אינן כה נמוכות...

JEWS AT PRAYER – SOME REFLECTIONS 11/19/2014 12:45 PM

The horrific murders of people at prayer that recently occurred in Jerusalem raises many more questions than answers. The responses to it were varied. CNN saw in it that Israeli police killed two Palestinians. Israeli politicians made their usual vapid comments, promises and revenge statements, all of which in the past have led nowhere. Learned rabbis and savants have attempted the futile task of...

KLINGHOFFER 10/27/2014 12:59 PM

An elderly, crippled, wheel chair bound Jew by the name of Klinghoffer was thrown overboard from a cruise ship by Arab terrorists about a decade ago. Klinghoffer’s only crime was that he was Jewish. These facts are uncontested and well-documented. Nevertheless, in the name of artistic freedom, a play was written that justified the murderous deed and intimated that Klinghoffer’s murder was...

LECH LECHA 10/27/2014 12:57 PM

Relocating one's self is a challenging task at any age. Doing so in the later stages of life is doubly challenging. It is no wonder that the rabbis of the Mishnah characterized our father Avraham’s move from Mesopotamia to the Land of Israel as being one of the ten major tests of his turbulent life. Leaving all that is familiar and attempting to integrate one's self in a new and strange...

THE RESIDUE OF THE GREAT WAR 10/20/2014 01:45 PM

What is Europe’s problem and hang up with the State of Israel? Why is it so focused on this Middle Eastern conflict, almost to the exclusion of other seemingly greater issues closer to home? Anti-Semitism certainly plays a role in this European fixation regarding Israel but I do not believe that it is the sole, and perhaps not even the main catalyst driving European policies, statements and...

A RETURN TO THE SABBATH 9/15/2014 12:36 PM

During this period of reflective thought, there is one issue that, in my opinion, stands out. And that is the issue of Sabbath observance within the Jewish world. The rabbis of the Talmud placed the Sabbath at the forefront of all the commandments, and essentially as the lodestone of Jewish identity. Sabbath observance brought with it personal trust and cooperation in all social and religious...

SOME THOUGHTS FOR ELUL 9/8/2014 03:10 PM

The month of Elul has always been portrayed as a time of introspection. As we prepare for the coming good and blessed year of 5775, we should also stop to consider the occurrences and events of the past year, 5774. Like most of life, it was a year of contrasts and mixed messages. Israel and the Palestinian Authority negotiated for most of the year but any sort of meaningful agreement failed to...

CONFUSING ROLES 8/10/2014 09:00 AM

All people are duty bound to try and help other people in need of such help. Rabbis are especially called upon to be available to help others in their times of distress and difficulties. Nevertheless, it is essential for one to be able to recognize one's limitations and true role. Many a rabbi has gotten himself into deep trouble by acting as a psychologist, therapist, financial advisor,...

IMPERFECT DEMOCRACY 7/21/2014 12:54 PM

Winston Churchill once famously said that “democracy is a terrible system of government but it is better than any other system.” The irony of that statement has been borne out by the past events of this last century and by current events. It is true that Hitler ruled as a megalomaniac dictator. However, his rise to power was by democratic means and through electoral success. Once in...