"Extremist ideologies have for too long framed the conversation about the role of religion in society...If you’re like most Reform Jews, you don’t identify with either extreme. You might want to embrace both science and religion, but with an either/or scenario driving the public discussion, it becomes difficult to find a comfortable way that is both scientifically grounded and spiritually uplifting. Is there such a way? The answer is yes.
Clal Resident Tzemah Yoreh, Ph.D. uncovers another interpretation of the Exodus story. In the earliest version of the Exodus account the Israelites were not enslaved, only prevented from leaving; there were not ten plagues, only three; and the firstborn Egyptians weren’t killed because the Israelites left after the plague of darkness.
Rabbi Brad Hirschfield talks with Sean Herriott about interfaith philanthropic work in Israel as well as the openness, vibrancy and diversity of Israeli society as experienced by visitors to Israel today.
From Morning Air on Relevant Radio, 10/10/13
"At the beginning of the Museum’s exhibition on the fourth floor, we face a Torah scroll from Congregation Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia. It looks quite old. As a matter of fact, it is so old that it cannot be repaired. Every week, the members took it out, read and learned from it. Time and use took its toll, and eventually the accumulating wear made the Torah scroll Passul, or unfit to read from. But the power of the words remains. ..."
"The story that gives this week’s Torah portion its name, Noah, is one that speaks to a positive vision of the future despite past difficulties. One of the best known narratives in the Bible, it tells of a divine flood that destroyed the whole world. Only Noah, his immediate family, and two of each species of animal were saved. Eventually, the waters receded. Despite his difficult experiences, Noah was not without hope.
Seems like every morning we wake to the overwhelming headlines of fighting, anger and polarization - there aren’t many conversations today that aren’t anchored by disagreement. From Congress, the media, cocktail parties and even our own dinner tables we’re seemingly unable to see that “the other side’s” opinion may be based in some truth. Instead opposing views should immediately be dissed or destroyed....
Sometimes we need to let the past be in the past. It's not always easy, and it's not always appropriate, but sometimes forgetting the past is the best way to create a better future. Forgetting can be a remarkable gift – allowing ourselves to forget past pains and things which we regret, and pledging to forget the bad acts of others. Most of us have past moments which we wish were different, and many of us carry those past hurts and resentments which in turn shape our present.
What would you do if forty days before your daughter’s wedding it gets called off? In your disappointment, would you stew in sadness, would you cancel everything, try to get your money back?...
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Clal Resident Tzemah Yoreh, Ph.D. shares a uniquely divergent account of the Joseph story. In the earliest version of that story, Joseph’s brothers never get the opportunity to sell him down to Egypt: the Midianites do it for them. Judah is not the brothers’ leader; in fact, he doesn’t feature at all, since according to this version he doesn’t exist. Most surprisingly, Joseph’s father, who hitherto was known as Jacob, is now Israel; he appears in the story a lot less.
"Does the rise in secularism, mean the demise of Judaism? Is being Jewish about birth and belonging or a leap of faith? If belief in God isn’t necessary to one’s Jewish identity, what is? Is it more a cultural or historic bond?..."