Returning to the Land of Your Soul: Rosh Hashana September 5, 2013

"A fresh start. A second chance. Who doesn’t want that? Those are the promises of Rosh Hashanah, and those are the promises that brought most of our ancestors to these shores...."

By Rabbi Michael Ross and Rabbi Brad Hirschfield from Sacred Stories: A Living Commentary on American Jewish History and the Hebrew Bible,

Return to Sender September 4, 2013

Return To Sender —

It means more than either the postal service or Elvis ever understood. It’s the promise of Rosh Hashanah.

Rosh Hashanah and the truth about the creation story September 4, 2013

"Rosh Hashanah is not only New Years according to the Jewish calendar, but also celebrates the birthday of the world, or as other rabbinic traditions have it, the birthday of the first humans, as recorded in the Book of Genesis. Either way, Rosh Hashanah teaches important truths about the biblical story of creation — truths we all need, regardless of faith, faithlessness, or any of the myriad ways we think about how either the world or the human race came into existence...."

Y.U. Report's Three Paragraphs Fails To Do Justice to Abuse — or Jewish Ethics September 4, 2013

"On August 26, the law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell, hired by Yeshiva University to look into allegations of past abuse at the university’s High School for Boys, finally concluded its eight-month investigation and released a report detailing its findings.

Brad Hirschfield On The Possibility of United States Military Action against Syria August 30, 2013

In response to the accusations this week that Syrian government forces used chemical weapons against its own citizens, Britain, France and the United States are considering whether to intervene and in what form this action might take."

New Riffs on The New Year August 30, 2013

"‘Increasing numbers of people are actually not coming to synagogue to celebrate Rosh HaShanah or Yom Kippur, but are doing home/familial observances,’ offering personal prayers or itemizing developments for which they are thankful, says Rabbi Irwin Kula...‘The number of people who always go to shul on the High Holy Days — that constituency is shrinking,’ says Rabbi Sid Schwarz, senior fellow at Clal"...

Measles outbreak in Texas church leads to soul-searching, thank God August 29, 2013

"How much is “too much”? There are 20 confirmed cases of measles in the latest outbreak of this preventable disease, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. At least eight of the patients are members of the Eagle Mountain International Church, church officials said, and 15 of the cases are in Tarrant County where the church is located...."

Brad Hirschfield On Finding Common Ground in the Gun Violence Debate August 23, 2013

Tragedy was narrowly averted this week in Decatur, Georgia when a young man entered a school armed with a gun, 500 rounds of ammunition and “nothing to live for”. In this instance tragedy was averted, but it brought to mind the shooting in Sandy Hook Elementary School and reignited the simmering debate about the National Guns Laws.

Brad Hirschfield On A Baby Named Messiah August 16, 2013

This week, a Tennessee magistrate adjudicating a custody dispute took it upon herself to change a baby's name from "Messiah DuShawn Martin" to "Martin DuShawn McCullough." Judge Lu Ann Bellew said "The word Messiah is a title and it's a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ." "This story is a very serious cautionary tale about what makes America great," says Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, and represents a threat to personal freedom, and especially religious freedom whi

Sam Horowitz video: Bar Mitzvah battles go viral August 15, 2013

"How much is “too much”? What is the definition of appropriate celebration for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah party? Where is line and when has been crossed? These are the questions being raised, sometimes gently and sometimes with remarkable anger and hostility, in connection with the going viral video of Sam Horowitz’ Bar Mitzvah party. Of course, these are hardly new questions.

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