"Bob Dylan's Shadows in the Night, his recently released album of ballads from the American Songbook, is remarkable, heartfelt, and vulnerable. All ten tracks have one thing in common: they were interpreted and made popular by Frank Sinatra. Yes, the enigmatic '60s counterculture icon, the raspy-voiced rebellious rocker, is rendering songs made famous by one of the smoothest nightclub crooners of all time. But I don't think Dylan is selling out.
"The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, says he is declaring February 2, 2015, “Chris Kyle Day” statewide, to honor the late U.S. serviceman whose life is depicted in Clint Eastwood’s latest film, American Sniper. Given that thousands of courageous Texans have served overseas, and have been killed or wounded, it’s worth exploring the question: Is this declaration about honoring heroism, or chasing celebrity?..."
This week Rabbi Brad Hirschfield considers two very different cases that focus on bakers in Colorado and wedding cakes for gay couples. Rabbi Hirschfield says, “There is a fundamental difference between refusing to serve somebody because of who they are, and insisting that all those with whom we interact affirm everything that we believe in."
"I am writing this post from Israel, having spent five days visiting our daughter (who is living here for the year), and I'm about to spend a week with a group of Protestant seminary students. But this post isn't really about who I'll be interacting with on my travels. It's about the feeling I have in Israel - and one I hope we all have at special destinations which bring about the sensation of being at home, even when you're far from your regular home base.
In the series, titled “A Pound of Flesh: Exploring Qualities of Mercy when Encountering the Other,” noted religious leaders, artists and scholars will examine the background and motivation of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice and consider the impact of his persecution on his own choices and on society at large.
"...our prophetic heritage should compel us to pursue social justice from our congregational platforms. There is a reason we read the Haftarah in addition to the Torah every Shabbat. Judaism mandates conscientiousness both about our internal ritual lives and the values we express publicly. This spirit of societal rebuke and a refusal to accept the status quo is inherent to our tradition.
Rabbi Amy Small in a presentation as part of her recently launched venture, Deborah's Palm, an organization designed to help Jews and fellow travelers access Jewish wisdom for meaningful spiritual living, is quoted as saying:"that despite the similarities characterizing the persecution and subjugation of Jews and blacks throughout history, our oppression was not the same...differences between the two communities’ oppression emerged.
"How to Spot One of Us," a collaborative exhibition of poetry, film and photography by Janet R. Kirchheimer and Aliza Augustine, is showing at Kean University. Join Janet and Aliza at the opening on Tuesday, February 10 from 5:00 - 7:00pm at the Human Rights Institute Gallery. For more information, contact Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org
"For three weeks since the Islamic terrorist murders of 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, the world has been reacting. When it comes to the publishing (or reprinting) of cartoons "defaming the Prophet," I've parsed our seven different responses..."
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"...Schwarz and 20 congregants returned from a 10-day trip to Haiti in December — the congregation’s third trip in four years to the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. There, they partnered with a pastor and used their bodies and their bank accounts to build houses and provide school tuition for Haitian families, many who had been living under tarps since the devastating 2010 earthquake..."