"Recently, an upsetting story picked up on social media: a group of high school students have been engaging in a modified version of beer pong that they call Holocaust Pong. It's a game involving ‘Jews vs. Nazis’ in which the Jews can ‘Anne Frank’ (hide) one of their cups and the Nazis are allowed to ‘Auschwitz’ their opponents, requiring one to sit down...."
"...There is just about no way to avoid the conclusion that the Divine plan had us becoming strangers and slaves in Egypt, so that we would know throughout our long history never to behave towards the other as the Egyptians behaved towards us, and that He redeemed us from those conditions so that we would always know to redeem others from their own straits and bondages.
Break Open Your Seder!
How can a broken cracker transform not only your seder but your life?
And maybe even the race for presidential nomination?
The Sages teach that matzah is called lechem oni because it is bread over which we say many words (onim). In addition to symbolizing the hasty exit from captivity by long-held slaves, the “bread” marks the intellectual give and take that is the hallmark of their, and our, freedom.
Early in the Seder, we break the middle matzah - Yachatz - using the smaller half to stimulate conversation about the move from oppression to liberation. The larger half is saved as the Afikomen, without which we cannot finish the meal, and which needs to be found wherever, or with whomever, it is hidden.
This simple but elegant practice reminds us we need to break open conversation as much as we need to break bread, that no one person has all the answers and that the solutions we seek will be found by looking to other people and in overlooked places. Imagine if each person at the seder saw everyone else seated around them that way. Imagine if we each person seeking the presidency did that as well!
"...Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z"l, elaborates that the miracle we are meant to attune ourselves to is the miracle that underlies all of nature. In moments when what we call ‘miracle’ occurs, that miraculous order becomes obviously visible to us, but in truth the creative flow that courses through the universe is a flow steadily suffusing the order of all existence, whether or not we notice.
"...Looking around it's easy to see ‘what difference empathy, forgiveness, patience, and tolerance would make.’ But we need to first notice if we're emotionally flooded, and wanting to contract away from our experience. If we find ourselves in this state, we must be compassionate toward ourselves. From that tiny space of self-compassion, we just may be able to extend outward to a sense of genuine compassion for the other...."
Rabbi Brad Hirschfield and Adam Thompson — Senior Partner at the Law Offices of Adam M. Thompson, Criminal Defense Attorney, and Syndicated Talk Show Host join Steve to discuss Donald Trump’s and Hillary Clinton’s wins in the election, the future potential nominations of Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders, and the decision of the federal appeals court to support transgender bathroom access.
"...I believe that the seder is a literary means of experiential education. The Haggadah wants each of us to recall that we were once estranged, disenfranchised, and marginalized so that each of us will cultivate a sense of empathy for the estranged, the disenfranchised, and the marginalized in our society today. We honor our past by acting in our present!..."
"...What happens when a congregation becomes the venue for one of these parody videos? It helps build up anticipation for an upcoming holiday, we see young adults, long-time members, and young children all working together on something fun and innovative, and there's a great feel-good and buzz in the larger congregation who love to hear that someone on the other side of the USA (or the other side of the world!) has seen our little video...."
"...Passover is the perfect time – because it's a Passover tradition to read Shir HaShirim, The Song of Songs, the Bible's erotic love poem. Song of Songs celebrates spring, with lush images of flowers in bloom, flocks grazing in green fields, and human lovers flirting. Well, maybe a bit more than flirting, if we take one of the lovers at her word...."
"As the Jewish Holiday of Passover approaches, I was told recently that as opposed to twenty years ago, when 90% of Jews reported that they attended some kind of Passover Seder, this year, more like 65% are expected to attend the Jewish spring ritual. When asked about the waning interest, Jews claim that they are increasingly bored by the 2000 year-old dinner.