Jews have always been willing to learn from non-Jews. The Torah profiles Noach, Yisro and others. The Chumash tells of the greatness of Yisro (even before his conversion). The Sages bring Dama ben Nesina to illustrate how far we should go in honoring our parents. Nelson Mandela, the person and the leader, can teach us a lot, despite his complicated relationship with the South African
In his book on religion and science, the great paleontologist Stephen J. Gould stated that there was no tension between the two because science and religion exist on two different planes. There is the magisterium of science which deals with the physical world, and there is the magisterium of religion that deals with the spiritual and moral plane.
Every person on earth has what amounts to thousands of beliefs, unproven assumptions and axioms which allow him or her to navigate in the world. We make judgments about other people we may have never seen before all the time. This allows us to anticipate their actions and reactions and to act appropriately. These judgments are really assumptions and are based on our experience, on the context
Today, it is a truism that Anti-Semitism's primary expression in Europe and elsewhere is in the form of Anti-Israelism. Are all anti-Israel sentiments anti-Semitic ones? What if the attitudes are coming from Jews? Is J-Street anti-Semitic? Are those Jews who advocate a boycott of the territories anti-Semitic?
The Pew study found 6.8 million American Jews, 25% more than the 2001 National Jewish Population Survey which found 5.2 million, but these are self-definitions with widely varying ideas about what it means to be Jewish. 1.3 million children
The Pew study showed that 44% of married Jews are married to a non-Jewish person and the current rate of intermarriage is 58%. It is 71% if you take the Orthodox out. Two-thirds of Jews do not belong to a synagogue, one-fourth do not believe in God and one-third had a Christmas tree in their home last year.
The American Jewish day school system has failed in epic proportions. And no, I am not talking about tuition costs. We don't talk about our dirty secret much, but in the U.S., no more than six percent of the non-Orthodox Jewish student population attends a Jewish school. No other Western country with a sizable Jewish
Are you kidding! Rosh Hashana in Moscow is my ruchniyus for the year. I go to the Dor Revii community of Rabbi Gediah Shestak and his rebbetzin who are literally an Abba and an Ima to all who walk through the door. There in the Mizrach on the left stand
A culture can be understood by its vocabulary. Koreans have yeondu and chorok, both shades of green in English. A Korean will surely see these colors as more distinct than an English speaker. Hakadosh Baruch Hu wanted us to think spiritually
On either side of the Talmud Bavli text, appear French Jews -- Rashi in one column and, in the opposite, Baalei Hatosafot. Contemporary French Jewry may not be as towering in scholarship