Rabbis Without Borders

Nurturing rabbis as American religious leaders, Rabbis Without Borders makes Jewish wisdom an available resource to the wider public. For more information about Rabbis Without Borders programs, visit the Rabbis Without Borders site by clicking here.

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Jews Don't Believe in Birthdays but in Saving Lives July 24, 2014

"My husband does not do birthdays. When I first met him over 20 years ago, this truly puzzled me. Birthdays were simply not a big deal and when I pressed for a reason he fell back on tradition, reminding me that Jews don’t believe in birthdays...Birthdays are not a big deal in Jewish tradition...."

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Jon Stewart Can’t Talk About Israel, But We Must July 23, 2014

"...We all have a tendency to read more from those who already think like us. So how do we navigate our way through the quagmire of information? One might try to distinguish between what is descriptive and what is opinion. But this isn’t always useful. We might hear a news report that begins by telling us how many Gazans died today and how many times Israel fired on Gaza. That is descriptive.

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: How News and Social Media Can Hurt Us July 17, 2014

"Lately I've been talking with rabbinic colleagues about how best to minister to our congregants who are struggling with the news out of Israel/Palestine. We're hearing from people who are unable to fall asleep because they can't stop thinking about the images of destruction and grief, or who wake up and immediately start agonizing about the conflict or worrying about loved ones..."

West Hills Rabbi Dedicates Jewish Fast to Nonviolence, Breaks Fast with Muslim Friend July 16, 2014

"On Tuesday, Rabbi Tsafi Lev of West Hills fasted on the Hebrew calendar day that commemorates the breach of Jerusalem’s walls before the destruction of the Second Temple. Although Lev doesn’t normally abstain from food and drink on this minor Jewish fast day, he wanted to do so this year in the name of nonviolence as intense fighting continued in Israel, Gaza and beyond..."

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Should We Bring Back Arranged Marriage? July 16, 2014

"Not long ago, a friend of mine posted an excellently snarky commentary about a new television show called, Married at First Sight. On this show, potential—I don’t know what you call them…”contestants,” perhaps?—fill out personality assessments and undergo “spiritual counseling,” and then four experts narrow down several hundred people to three couples. Then they get married. Without meeting one another first. "

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: YOU Can Bring Peace in the Middle East! July 14, 2014

"Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 15th is a fast day in Jewish tradition. It is called the 17th of Tammuz, named after the date on the Hebrew calendar. It is a minor fast, meaning that the fast lasts only from sun up to sun down. It commemorates, among other things, the breaching of Jerusalem’s walls which led to the destruction of the Second Temple..."

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Liberalism, Loyalty and Israel July 10, 2014

"...what has been most challenging for me personally has been the internal tension between my liberal values and my loyalty to Israel—and I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way...Morality, Haidt argues, isn’t just one thing. It has five main different facets to it—care for others, justice and fairness, loyalty, respect for authority, and a sense of sanctity. Liberals, he notes, tend to focus mainly on the first two (care and justice), and feel much less strongly about the other three (loyalty, authority and sanctity).

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: A Special Person at a Special Time: Reb Zalman’s Jewish Renewal July 7, 2014

"Last Thursday, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, founder of the Jewish Renewal movement, passed away, leaving his bodily existence for…well, for whatever comes next..."

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By Rabbi Laura Duhan Kaplan, a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, from the Rabbis Without Borders blog on MyJewishLearning.com

As We Lift Up Our Eyes, Remember That Their Eyes Are Now Our Eyes July 3, 2014

"On the news. In the papers. On the internet. On social media. On our bimah — where we placed them for all to see, along with yellow ribbons, less than two weeks ago. In a moment of despair, the psalmist wrote in the 121st Psalm: Esa einai el heharim… I lift up my eyes to the mountains..." Read more...

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Rabbis Have Feelings Too June 27, 2014

"These days it seems like I am always tired. Not the 5-am-wakeup-so-I-can-get-to-the-gym kind of tired. And not even the 11-pm-bedtime-after-a-long-night-of-meetings tired. And while those kids certainly tire me out, I don't think I can blame them for this one either. These days I'm tired because I'm empathizing more with each member of my community. People keep getting sick — really sick. Diagnoses of cancers left, right, and center.

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