If you ask a historian why the Second Jewish Commonwealth was destroyed in 70 CE they will tell you that an encroaching and superior Roman army wanted control of Jerusalem as a strategic center in their wider conquest of the area. Jewish tradition, however, tells of a different story. The Talmud tells of multiple Jewish […]Read More Judaism Need Not be Partisan – But it Must be Political
News outlets and personal witnesses have been reporting a modern, 21st century genocide taking place right before our eyes. This information mixed with the shameful reticence of the global community has caused me to adjust a strongly held personal view. I have been against the use of nearly every Holocaust comparison I have ever heard. […]Read More Now is the time for Never Again
Anyone who has had the privilege of hearing first-hand testimony of the Holocaust understands its fundamental value and importance. The sad truth is that these chances are quickly dwindling and it is an imperative, both as a community and as individuals, to take advantage of these priceless opportunities. Hearing a first-hand account of a […]Read More Survivor Testimony is Invaluable – but it shouldn’t be Free
I don’t remember his name but he must have been around thirty years old. “To whom it may concern”, I started the letter, trying to sound all official. Then I erased it. “To the Los Angeles police department” that’s better I thought. “Student X has attended class every day for the past two weeks. He […]Read More How a 19th Century Jewish Russian Organization Helped me Recognize my Privilege
The vast majority of Jews who study the Hebrew Bible do so, often unknowingly, through the lens of over 2,000 years of rabbinic exegesis and interpretation. The rabbinic layer attempts to smooth over and reconcile all contradictions, giving the misleading appearance that our holy books share a completely monolithic worldview. Granted, this rabbinic layer is […]Read More Shavuot: Holiday of Intermarriage?
Originally published in 2016 In this week’s parsha, Tazria, we are quickly confronted with laws and procedures dealing with tzarat. The initial verse regarding this phenomenon is as follows: Leviticus 13:2: אָדָם כִּי־יִהְיֶה בְעוֹר־בְּשָׂרוֹ שְׂאֵת אוֹ־סַפַּחַת אוֹ בַהֶרֶת וְהָיָה בְעוֹר־בְּשָׂרוֹ לְנֶגַע צָרָעַת וְהוּבָא אֶל־אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן אוֹ אֶל־אַחַד מִבָּנָיו הַכֹּהֲנִים If a man has a se’eith, a […]Read More Balancing Tradition & Intellect: A Case Study Of The Difficulties Of Thinking Jews
This Passover night I wasn’t alone. I was a part of the 600,000 Jews leaving Egypt – marveling at the open miracles and forever internalizing the ethical imperatives imprinted unto a nation. I remembered the day we left Egypt – rushed and confused – yet still convinced this barren desert was preferable to Egyptian hegemony. […]Read More This Passover I Wasn’t Alone
An hour before sunrise Shabbat morning Eli woke up with a mixture of nervousness and excitement about the upcoming day. Tip-toeing across the house to avoid waking his young children, he grabbed his towel and headed straight to the Mikvah down the street. While this was a day he had repeated every week for the […]Read More The Temple, Synagogues, and the Future of Judaism
A common refrain tells us that Judaism was the first monotheistic religion and that our ancestors were the first to “discover” that there is one God. There are several reasons why this statement is slightly inaccurate. For one we have evidence of other monotheistic trends that predated the Israelite community. Akhenaten, an Egyptian Pharaoh in […]Read More The Importance of Jewish Monotheism is Exactly What it is Not.
I came up with the idea for this article in a coffee shop this past week. As I created a rough outline and began to collect my thoughts, a friend, who happened to see the title to this article, turned to me and said: “You better not be writing one of those classic apologetic […]Read More The Hebrew Bible’s Radically Feminist Beginnings