Nurturing rabbis as American religious leaders, Rabbis Without Borders makes Jewish wisdom an available resource to the wider public. For more information about Rabbis Without Borders programs, visit the Rabbis Without Borders site by clicking here.
"It's pretty clear that Judaism doesn't like the idea of gossip. In fact, the Hebrew phrase for gossip is ‘lashon hara,’ ‘the evil tongue.’ ‘The evil tongue kills three people,’ the Talmud teaches us.
"...Why pray? I have asked this question in this space before. And, as I grow, I offer varying reasons for something, which I hold deep in my heart and I believe, can qualitatively change the nature of our lives. In this moment, I write to you about communal prayer. Why come together to pray? I think when we gather to pray, we experience a symbiotic connection. We could stay at home and pray by ourselves.
"This week's big psychology headline: ‘Selfie-Takers More Likely to Overestimate Their Attractiveness, Study Finds’.
"...When I was younger I used to think my dad was odd because he never said goodbye. I assumed his quirky ‘so long’ was related to the Jewish goodbye, famous for taking several hours. ‘So long’ fits with the custom of stepping over the threshold when a guest leaves your home, to indicate your reluctance to see her leave. ‘So long’ is like the Hebrew l’hitraot or French au revoir.
"...The Book of Deuteronomy warns us of the mindset of ‘my power and my might have gotten me all this wealth’. Power corrupts. For the first time in 2000 years the Jewish People have real political and military power, and I fear that it has gone to our head. Worse still, it has corrupted our religious ideology. We act as if God's promise of the land is equivalent to absolute ownership and as if absolute ownership allows us to trample the rights and the dignity of the indigenous Palestinians.
"‘Thank you for not forgetting about us, Rabbi. ’These are the words of a member of one of the 20-plus Small but Proud Jewish communities that Rabbis Without Borders has served in the last six months since launching the Rabbinic Service Corps in 2015. Small but Proud communities are places around the U.S. that have lost Jewish organizational support over the last five to 10 years and are currently underserved to the extent that they are in serious danger of ceasing to exist in the next five to 10 years.
"...Our Kabbalistic (mystical) tradition teaches that God, like a human parent, is made up of discrete qualities available as touchstones to be emulated as we shape ourselves into the very best versions of who we can become. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree; we look to our divine parent to learn how to be human...."
"...More than just encouraging them to continue their Jewish education and to get involved in the youth group, what are the most impactful words a rabbi can offer to a bar or bat mitzvah in the 21st century?
Here are the areas I think rabbis should talk about when offering wisdom to the bar or bat mitzvah:
"If you express compassion, you are ‘asserting a false moral equivalence’ between the good and evil sides. If you use humour but a humourless reader takes your words literally, ‘you are truly an evil person.’
How do I respond to such comments?
Politely: ‘Thank you for your kind note.’
Kindly: ‘I'm sorry. It was not my intent to harm anyone or to fail in empathy.’
"...the challenge of moving straight from Yom Hazikaron to Yom Ha’atzmaut. It is clearly a very powerful transition but how is it for those who sit with the sorrow of a loved one who has died protecting Israel? Is it not jarring to move straight into celebration?..."