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.
"I could have said “Dayeinu," “it would have been enough," if the President of the United States came to visit my synagogue, as he did today, May 22. That President Obama came and visited, and I got the chance to greet him and introduce him to the congregation — Dayeinu. What I never anticipated was to have the chance to be in chavruta, in a moment of a Torah-study partnership, with the President. After we greeted him, we took the President into the Biran Beit Midrash at Adas.
Rabbi Owen Gottlieb, PhD has written a chapter in a just published book called Digital Judaism: Jewish Negotiations with Digital Media and Culture edited by Heidi A Campbell. The chapters present a broad analysis of how and why various Jewish groups negotiate with digital culture in particular ways, situating such observations within a wider discourse of how Jewish groups throughout history have utilized communication technologies to maintain their Jewish identities across time and space.
"...unlike in some spiritual communities, Judaism holds that sins against God can be atoned by God, but sins against other humans cannot be forgiven until the offender takes action to fix it. Judaism specifies that an offender must admit his or her sin, in words, out loud before God; confess the sin publicly; apologize to the wronged party; offer restitution (where possible); and abandon the sinful behavior.
"...We inherit a 2,000-year legacy of disruptive innovation – not change for its own sake, haphazard or unfaithful, but careful and principled when (in Reb Zalman’s computer-ese) Jewish “system files” need upgrades to keep the spiritual motherboard running strong. The path of innovation is built into Jewish life. Reb Zalman and Christensen both taught that disruptive innovators can’t rest on their laurels: shift happens. Only God is eternal.
"...My favorite commandment is tikun olam, repair the world. It's the single commandment that I feel has the potential to change the nature of humanity, and to unleash opportunities for all people to flourish. Perhaps social entrepreneurship is the modern halacha that guides us to enact tikun olam.
"How wide to let things stray — that’s the question in world music,” says composer and oud player Zach Fredman, the founder of the Epichorus, a Judeo Arabic retro-folk ensemble. You can see why the question has been on Fredman’s mind.
"...Sometimes, though, if you’re in the same tribe as someone behaving badly, ignoring it and remaining silent can seem like agreement. That’s why I’ve decided to address Pamela Geller and her organization’s anti-Islam rhetoric and actions. In the United States of America, she has the absolute right to express herself, even if she’s wrong, even if she’s offending large numbers of Muslims and non-Muslims..."
"here was a powerful confluence for me while studying last week's assigned Torah portion alongside news coverage about the April 19 death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. In Baltimore, Gray locked eyes with police and ran; when he was apprehended, officers radioed for a vehicle for transport. By the time the police van pulled into the precinct station, Gray had three broken vertebrae and a fractured voice box. He died of spinal injuries a few days later.
"...I have been in and out of sleep all night. I wake automatically reaching for the remote to see if it has gotten any worse. I hold my blanket up so that only my eyes can see, pretending somehow that if I cover enough of myself, only parts of the news will infiltrate my soul. It's too late, though. All of me is infected. All of us are infected. Baseball, the telltale sign of hope springing eternal, played in a silent Camden Yards - fans locked out for fear of violence..."
"...We often think of sacrifice as something unpleasant in the short-term, but deeply rewarding in the long-term. Yet we forget that a sense of sacrifice can be used both for good and for evil. Indeed, it's important to remember that very rarely do people view themselves or their actions as evil. Rather, most people see themselves as righteous and good human beings..."