"Nazis, Nazis, Nazis," said Steve our 40 year-old, charismatic, Australian (by way of a half dozen countries) guide as we began a walking tour of Berlin, "that's all most people think when they come to Berlin." My family and I were in Berlin for a week - our first time in Germany - and Steve was so right. Berlin is young, hip, culturally rich, fun and edgy - and for the week we were there not fifteen minutes could go by without thinking Nazis, Third Reich, Holocaust. Memorials, museums, the guttural sound of achtung in announcements, any elderly person, and the Fette Fraktur black letter typeface all triggered anxious mixtures of incredulity, anger, horror - and guilt about having such a great time in such a fascinating city that was the seat of genocide. Most of the time these were passing feelings we masked and mitigated by macabre jokes about being detained, arrested, or deported..."
"In the past week the rabbis writing on this blog have commented on several current controversial issues, Christian anti-Semitism, US immigration law, and the Hamas-Israeli conflict. The views expressed are varied, and if you are a regular reader of this blog, you will often see rabbis taking different opinions on the same issue. This is the kind of pluralism and open dialogue Rabbis Without Borders fosters.
"As the father of three girls, ages 20, 17 and 13, this video from Stephen Colbert caught my attention. As someone who appreciates the complexities of parenting in ways that marry serious attention to so-called traditional values with genuine openness to the fact that each generation’s uniqueness demands respect, this video struck me as genuinely wise..."
This week, the Pierce County Council in Washington voted to display the national motto “In God We Trust” in its chambers. The controversial decision came after heated debate and strenuous objections from local atheists. Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, president of Clal and co-founder and executive editor of TheWisdomDaily.com says that “even if the vast of majority of us believe in God or some higher power, not all of us do.” so alongside In God We Trust should be the other national E Pluribus Unum.
From Odyssey Networks’s FAITH ON THE RECORD
On May 29, 2014, Sinai and Synapses partnered with Central Synagogue to present a panel discussion on the topic “Can Science and Religion Co-Exist?” It was a provocative and respectful discussion among three distinguished panelists:
Rabbi Bradley Hirschfield, President of Clal – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership and author of the book You Don’t Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanaticism
Rabbi Irwin Kula and Glenn Beck talk about the commonalities of the left and right on Blaze Radio. People have lost a sense of belonging, they no longer feel heard and feel a diminished sense of control over their lives. Interests have come to trump values and we need to work to restore values. It is possible to return to people a sense of belonging to something great in this country again through the process of rebuilding trust. Starts at 20 minute mark, runs through 35:20.
"Is anti-Semitism like pornography? Do we know it when we see it? Absurd on the one hand, this analogy helps me make sense of my frustration with the recent quietude of some liberal Christians. Let me explain...."
By Rabbi Ruth Abusch Magder Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, from the Rabbis Without Borders Blog on My Jewish Learning.com
"Whether or not, as the saying goes, Virginia is for lovers, now that the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has overthrown the state's ban on gay marriage, it will at least be for those more inclined toward marriage, including same-sex couples. But perhaps more interesting than the decision itself, which I admit I support, is the thinking that animated Judge Henry Floyd, writing for the 2-1 majority.
"I have always felt I could choose to believe, or not believe, that the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. Admittedly, in the midst of another Gaza war with mistrust and hatred between Jews and Arabs deepening (if that is possible), in a conflict that really seems insoluble, with political leadership on both sides incapable of making the difficult decisions and the people on both sides not ready to push their leaders to do so, it is easy to despair. But despair is a lie we tell ourselves, especially those of us who are not literally in the war zone. It took a long time to get to this point and it will take myriad acts on a multitude of levels by ordinary citizens to change the trajectory. The fact is that evil, violence, and hate do not always win and even in these tragic days - and whatever one's politics and whomever one blames for this war - we need to be on the lookout for seeds of hope...."
Venus Marie, founder of The VM Frequency, produced "4 U Being U: A Journey for the One and Only You" that includes Rabbi Kula's words "The more we let ourselves unfold, the less we unravel."
From The VM Frequency