A Rabbinic Call for Unity

The month of Av 5773 begins on July 8, 2013.  Traditionally Rosh Hodesh Av is recognized as ushering in a period of reflection on the calamities that led to the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, as it marks the beginning of the period on the Jewish calendar known as “The Nine …

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On Meeting Shimon Peres, Natan Sharansky and Other Vignettes

I have just returned from Israel where I co-chaired with Rabbi Mauricio Balter of Beer Sheva the Rabbinical Assembly Annual Convention in Jerusalem.  Having served in 2008 as the Chairman of the convention in Washington, I felt privileged to be the only rabbi asked to chair two RA conventions.   Approximately 200 Conservative rabbis primarily …

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Journey to Jewish Heritage Report

After a restful Shabbat in Prague and a briefing by the head of the local Jewish community we travelled to Terezin, the “model” concentration camp established by the Nazis to show the Red Cross and world how “humanely” the Jews imprisoned there were treated.  As Elie Wiesel has pointed out, what the Red Cross failed …

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Journey to Jewish Heritage Report — Part II

March 2013   After a restful Shabbat in Prague and a briefing by the head of the local Jewish community we travelled to Terezin, the “model” concentration camp established by the Nazis to show the Red Cross and world how “humanely” the Jews imprisoned there were treated. As Elie Wiesel has pointed out, what the …

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David Hartman’s Most Important Lesson

Tributes are pouring in from many quarters and segments of the Jewish and non-Jewish world about Rabbi David Hartman who passed away earlier this week.  I had the privilege of being selected to participate in the first contingent of an intensive three year program of studies for 30 rabbis from across the US and across …

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Reflections from Babi Yar

The first time I heard about Babi Yar was when I was in high school in summer camp.  We learned the powerful poem written in the 1960’s by the Russian poet Yevtushenko which was a scorching indictment of Soviet Russia for neglecting and whitewashing the tragedy that took place in the forest on the outskirts …

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Report from Kiev

I had heard of the work of the Joint Distribution Committee, the overseas arm of the American Jewish community helping to sustain Jews and Jewish life in remote recesses of the Former Soviet Union.  In the 1970’s and 80’s we rallied to allow Soviet Jews to emigrate.  Now we are involved in the largest scale …

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Tragedy at Newtown

As names were called at the graduation of my youngest son from college last week, I could not help but think about the names of the 20 young children who had been killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School and whose names will not be called at a graduation ceremony.    I want to share with …

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Report from Israel Solidarity Mission

It is an old adage that things change quickly in Israel.  That was evident when we started our day with the Minister of Tourism, who just before our meeting had announced that he was taking a leave of absence from politics and would not be running in the upcoming election.   From there we went …

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