Marriage Equality: Monogamy and Metaphor

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Parshat Va'etchanan, Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11
July 29, 2015

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would […]

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Arguing About Values, Not Facts

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Parshat Devarim, Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22
July 22, 2015

If trends in America matched what I see on my Facebook feed, then marriage equality would have happened 10 years ago and Bernie Sanders (or maybe Hillary Clinton) would win the 2016 election with 90 percent of the popular vote. I know that my Facebook circle doesn’t exactly mirror the wider American populace, but why don’t I […]

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Engaging Head-On With Violent Sacred Texts

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Parshat Matot-Masei, Numbers 30:2-36:13
July 15, 2015

Vengeance and carnage, commanded by God. Slaughter of the enemy: man, woman and child. Virgins as trophies of war. Wholesale taking of life. This week’s Torah portion, Matot-Masei, contains violent passages from which most modern readers will want to disassociate ourselves — believing they do not reflect our Judaism, our values, who we are and aspire to […]

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Radical Compassion: Moses and the Master of Berditchev

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Parshat Pinchas, Numbers 25:10-30:1
Director, Center for Global Judaism
July 8, 2015

According to folklore, the 18th-century Hasidic master Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev was once walking through the streets of the city on the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av (which falls during the summer), when he saw a most unexpected site: a Jewish man he knew eating lunch by the side of the […]

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Aronson Sculpted a Remarkable Career

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President, Hebrew College
July 7, 2015

David Aronson, renowned artist and former Hebrew College student, passed away last week at the age of 91. Aronson was born in Lithuania in 1923 and immigrated to this country at the age of 6. As a youth, he studied at what was then Hebrew Teachers College in Roxbury. He later studied at the School […]

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Towards an Ethic of Trust

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Parshat Balak, Numbers 22:2-25:9
July 2, 2015

Then the Eternal opened the donkey’s mouth, and said to Balaam, “What have I done to you that you have beaten me these three times?” Balaam said to the donkey, “You have made a mockery of me! If I had a sword with me, I’d kill you.” The donkey said to Balaam, “Look, I am […]

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Dying a Good Death, and Getting ‘There’

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Parshat Hukkat, Numbers 19:1-22:1
June 24, 2015

Dedicated to Rami Wernik z”l, cherished Jewish educator. How do you want to die, and what are you doing to get there? In the world of real estate, the message is: “Location, location, location.” Somehow, it also seems an appropriate message when reading so many biblical stories, including (in Parshat Hukkat) that of Miriam’s death. […]

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Remembering Bonna Devora Haberman

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President, Hebrew College
June 23, 2015

Bonna Devora Haberman, who tragically passed away from cancer last week, was a profoundly powerful personality. She had the uncanny capacity to contain seemingly contradictory qualities with a distinctive grace, elegance and whole-heartedness. She was deeply rooted in Jewish texts, language and thought, and yet professed a radical vision of social, political and religious transformation […]

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Guarding the Mishkan: Peril and Possibility

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Parshat Korach, Numbers 16:1-18:32
June 17, 2015

As depicted in the book of Numbers, the task of creating holy community is truly daunting. Journeying through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, the Israelites stumble from crisis to crisis, none more toxic than the one in this week’s Torah portion. A Levitical chieftain named Korach accuses Moses and Aaron of […]

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The Terrors of Transition

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Parshat Shelach, Numbers 13:1-15:41
Director of External Relations, Center for Interfaith Engagement
June 11, 2015

In the Torah portion for this week, Shelach, the Israelites stand at the threshold of the Promised Land, the land of Canaan. Uncertain about what they will find there, scouts are sent ahead — one from each of the 12 tribes — to reconnoiter the terrain and assess its inhabitants. It is a point of great […]

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