Jewish Journal

Rabbi Ed Feinstein

  • An inconvenient voice

    June 14, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Moses buries him.

    Literally - he opens up the earth, and Korah and his followers are swallowed alive.

    The rabbis of the Midrash were more graceful. They only buried him literarily and morally - projecting upon him every evil motive and base intention.

    For the rabbis, Korah...
  • The Heart of Jewish Joy

    March 1, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    A modest proposal: As a reward to the Jewish people for having survived the 20th century, let's make Purim our High Holiday.

    Not that there's anything really wrong with our current High Holidays. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are compelling days of personal introspection, reflection...

  • Are You Listening?

    August 3, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    "What's the most important word in the prayer book?" the rabbi asked the congregation.

    The congregants responded with a list of important words: "shalom -- peace," "bracha -- blessing," "Torah -- God's truth," "Hashem -- God's name."

    "All very important words," the rabbi replied....

  • Perfectly Imperfect

    May 4, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Jewish kids all get A's. It's a fact. They're all well above average. Jewish kids always star in the show, play first violin in the orchestra, win the debate championship. This week the last of the college acceptance letters went out. They all got into Stanford, Berkeley and Brown....

  • A Good Place to Start

    February 2, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    The Torah has no title page. It has neither an author's introduction nor a preface -- nothing to tell us why the book was written or how it is to be read. The very first line begins with a complete lack of self-consciousness: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth"...

  • Globalization of Hope

    November 3, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    "Come, let us build us a city, and a tower with its top in the sky, to make a name for ourselves; else we shall be scattered all over the world." The Lord came down to look at the city and tower that man had built, and the Lord said, "If, as one people with one language for all, this...

  • Who Loves You?

    August 18, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    A bright and otherwise articulate second-grader was having night terrors. Well after midnight, she'd awaken screaming hysterically something about death. So her parents brought her to see me, the rabbi.

    "I know kids, but I'm not a therapist," I complained.

    "But she trusts you," they...

  • I’m Not Religious

    March 10, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    "Please understand, rabbi. I'm very spiritual. I'm just not religious."

    It is the anthem of a generation.

    I'm spiritual: I wrestle with the meaning of my existence. I cultivate my inner life. I feel God is very close. I sense my connectedness to others and to the earth and I try...

  • The Grinch Who Stole The Latkes

    December 2, 2004 | 7:00 pm


    Oh the Jews of old Jewville just loved holidays,
    And kept them religiously, in all of their ways.
    But of all of the holidays that we Jews remember
    The most special in Jewville was the one in December.

    With tales of brave Judah, with latkes and dreidels
    Chanukah thrilled...

  • God’s Questions

    September 23, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    When we arrive in heaven, the talmudic sages wondered, what will God ask of us?

    This is not really a question about heaven. It is about how we live and how we locate eternity within life.

    The philosopher Franz Rosensweig explained that on Yom Kippur, we are offered a look at our...

  • Age of Amusement

    September 9, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    A gentleman died and his family asked me to officiate his funeral. So we agreed to meet, his children and I, to prepare. Sitting around the spacious dining room table I asked them, "Tell me about your father."

    After a long silence one of the sons volunteered: "Dad loved golf."


  • From Darkness to Light

    May 6, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Each morning and each evening, the people of the daily minyan gather to recite the obligatory prayers. It isn't exciting. The melodies aren't particularly uplifting. Sometimes there is a word of learning, but no sermon; none of the flourishes, trappings and trimmings of professional...

  • Letting Go

    August 21, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    We leave well before dawn and as we speed through darkness I keep asking myself how it is that I'm now the parent of a college student -- I can still remember vividly the details of my own freshman year almost 30 years ago.

    Arriving at the college, we locate the information booth,...

  • The Core of Judaism

    June 12, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Each year, Rabbi Leib Saras made a pilgrimage to see Rebbe Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezrich. When asked what Torah he went to learn, Leib Saras answered: "I do not go to learn interpretations of Torah. I go to watch the way he ties his shoes."

    Try this experiment: Put your hands in...

  • Different Heroes

    May 8, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    "Od lo avda tikvataynu."

    A poster of Moshe Dayan hung in my childhood bedroom. Growing up in the light of the Six-Day War, I adored this new Jewish hero -- tough, cocky, a Jew without fear. A generation later, we venerated Yitzchak Rabin -- the warrior peacemaker, the realistic...

  • Our Legacy

    March 6, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    As I wheeled my shopping cart down the aisle of the local market on my weekly grocery run, a toddler riding in his mother's cart came up the other side. He was one of the students in the nursery school, and when he recognized me, his mouth dropped open. He pointed and shouted, "Mom,...

  • The Consumer

    February 6, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Ancient Greek democracy created the "citizen." Renaissance Europe invented the "gentleman." Colonial America produced the "frontiersman." Each human civilization, it seems, fashions its own unique character type. And ours is no exception. Contemporary America has spawned the...

  • Jump!

    January 16, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    It is the Torah's most exciting, most cinematic story. The Israelites, newly freed from slavery, were camped at the shores of the sea when suddenly the sounds Pharaoh's approaching chariots filled the air. Realizing they were trapped, the ex-slaves cried bitterly to Moses, "Were...

  • Have You But One Blessing?

    November 7, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    It began with the first two human born into this world, the world's first brothers.

    In the course of time, Cain brought an offering to the Lord from the fruit of the soil. Abel, for his part, brought the choicest of the firstlings of his flock. The Lord paid heed to Abel and his...

  • The Man of Lonesome Sorrow

    July 4, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    He awoke from the nightmare with a scream, as he had every night for almost 40 years. His heart raced, his body drenched in sweat, his mind filled with vivid images of fiery destruction. He saw rivulets of blood flowing through the streets of Jerusalem, the Holy Temple ground into...

  • The World Has No Memory

    April 25, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    This is a slightly abridged version of an address delivered to a crowd of 2,000 people at a rally for Israel at the Milken Jewish Community Center, April 16, 2002

    I want to talk to the children tonight, because I'm concerned for your faith.

    You've heard that we are aggressors -...

  • A Bittersweet Blessing

    April 11, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    The great Israeli author, Shai Agnon, related a fable about a little boy and his old father, who together tended a goat. Each day the goat wandered off and returned at evening, its udders filled with the sweetest of milk. The boy wished to know where the goat went, and on what grass...

  • Stolen Souls

    January 3, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Surfing the TV one night, two powerful images caught my eye: On one station were Afghan women draped from head to toe in the traditional black burka. On another, Britney Spears, very much undraped, projected live across the world in a televised concert.

    The opposing extremes of 21st...

  • Find the Gems

    September 27, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    There once was a man who could provide only potatoes for his family's subsistence. As the monotony and the poverty wore on, he prayed, and his prayers were answered. There fell into his hands a mysterious map to a magical Island of Diamonds.

    Begging a boat, he set sail on a long and...

  • The Situation

    August 30, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    To know the mind of Israel today, you needn't consult a Gallup poll. Just jump into any taxicab and ask the driver about ha'matsav (the situation). His first response, "Milchama [war] -- there's going to be a war. We need a war," he'll carefully explain, "to show them we're still...

  • Today I Am a Man

    May 31, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    All of five feet tall in his stiff new suit and shiny shoes, he can barely be seen over the bima. In a cracking adolescent voice, he announces, "Today I am bar mitzvah. Today I am a man." Yes, you are. But what do you know about being a man? A Jewish man? What can we tell you?


  • Opening a Door

    May 10, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Just off Highway 101, about an hour south of San Francisco, stands a remarkable spiritual landmark. For years, as we drove up the coast, we would see signs and bumper stickers enticing us to visit the Winchester Mystery House. Finally, a year ago, we did.

    The story of this landmark...

  • How the Grinch Stole Shabbat

    April 12, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Oh, the Jews up in Jewville,
    they loved their Shabbat,
    from the oldest of old folks
    to the youngest of tots.

    With candles and wine
    and chocolate chip challah,
    they felt oh so good
    till way past Havdalah.

    They all went to shul
    to hear Rabbi Schulweis,
    who told them, "It's...

  • What is Your Name?

    January 25, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    God created the animals and brought them, one by one, before man to see what he would name them. Man examined the essence of each creature and assigned its name. So teaches Genesis.

    The midrash goes farther: When all the animals had been named, God asked man, "What is your name?"...

  • The Birth of Chutzpah

    November 16, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    We believe in a God who dreams. The Torah is the story of the transaction between God's dreams and human reality. God dreams of a world of goodness. God creates humanity - fashioned in the divine image - to share the dream. But human beings betrayed God's dreams. We filled the world...
  • ‘Survivor’ Ethics

    September 7, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Sixteen strangers are left on a wilderness island to fend for themselves. They endure starvation, infestation, exposure to the elements. Each night they gather in council to vote one of their company off the island. Finally, only two are left. The castoffs are brought back as jury to...

  • Through the Wilderness

    July 13, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    It's hot and smoggy. The cooling breeze of nightfall won't arrive for hours. Stuck in endless urban traffic, the radio news ticks off the day's toll of rape, murder and mayhem, governmental ineptitude and unfathomable moral lunacy. Welcome to the wasteland. Welcome to Bamidbar.


  • Torah Portion:The Holiness of Literacy

    June 8, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    For many years, the Allen School was the worst in the Dayton, Ohio, system. Located in the dilapidated inner city, the dropout rate was astronomical. Fifth graders had parole officers. Then came a new principal. He brought the staff together and said to them: "We have to understand...

  • Bittersweet Life

    April 20, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Exiled from Paradise, Adam and Eve lived together east of Eden, struggling to raise children, to scratch a living out of the hard earth, to stay alive.

    Finally, in their old age, with children grown, Adam and Eve decided to see the world. They journeyed from one corner of the earth...

  • The Invisible Population

    March 30, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    The first time I saw a beggar on the streets of Los Angeles I was shocked. The man, disheveled and filthy, stood on the freeway offramp with a tattered sign: "Will Work for Food." Sure, there are beggars in Calcutta and panhandlers in New York, but not here! I stared at him for a...
  • Building Community

    February 10, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    As I wheeled my shopping cart down the aisle of the local market on my weekly grocery run, a 3-year-old riding in his mother's cart came up the other side. He was one of the students in the nursery school, and when he recognized me, his mouth dropped open, he pointed and shouted,...
  • Making the Grade

    December 23, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    A story is told of a man who came to his rabbi complaining of depression. His life lately seemed like an endless string of failures, disappointments and missed opportunities. Why, he asked, had God condemned him to live such a frustrating existence? The rabbi listened carefully and...
  • Ask Yourself God’s Questions

    September 9, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    When we arrive in heaven, the Talmudic sages wondered, what will God ask of us?

    This is not really a question about heaven. It is about how we live and how we locate eternity within life. The philosopher Franz Rosensweig explained that on Yom Kippur we are offered a look at our lives...

  • Sit Right Down and Write Yourself a Letter

    July 29, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Write a letter. Address it to those you love -- your spouse, your children and grandchild, your friends, your community. Put into this letter what life has taught you: What you learned from childhood, from growing up, from your education. What you learned from marriage and raising...
  • A Bug’s Life

    June 10, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    "As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. He was lying on his hard, as it were armor-plated, back and when he lifted his head a little, he could see his dome-like brown belly divided into stiff arched...
  • The Golem in Our Midst

    April 29, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    The great rabbi of 16th-century Prague, Rabbi Yehuda Loew, received word of a coming blood libel, an attack on his community. So he prayed for divine help. In a dream, he saw 10 Hebrew words in alphabetical order: "Create a Golem of Clay, Destroy Those Tearing Israel's Heart."


  • When You Haven’t Got a Prayer

    March 18, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    They sat like any other family in the noisy restaurant, trading conversation, stories, tales of the day past. But when the waiter brought their meal, something remarkable happened: The conversation stopped, hands were extended and grasped to form a circle around the table, eyes...

  • On Living with Tension

    February 25, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Once, a stranger approached Hillel and Shammai, the great sages of the first century, with a request: "Teach me the Torah while I stand on one foot."

    First, he brought the request to Shammai. According to the Talmud, Shammai picked up a builder's rule, smacked him along side his head...

  • The Laws of Life

    February 11, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Among those who left Egypt, there were two -- Berel and Shmerel. As slaves, these two had grown so accustomed to looking down at the ground, they could no longer lift their eyes.

    And, so, when Moses brought Israel across the Red Sea, Berel asked Shmerel, "What do you see?"

    "I see mud,"...

  • ‘Very’ Difficult Choices

    November 19, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    The word "m'od," which means "very" or "much," is a very common biblical word. At the end of the sixth day of creation, for example, when God assesses the world He has created, He proclaims it to be "tov m'od," very good. In the Torah reading this week, though, we find a very...

  • A Life is a Terrible Thing to Waste

    November 12, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Every textbook of religion will tell you that death is the great catalyst of spirituality. Religion, it is argued, comes to answer the problem of death. But, if that is so, where is the tractate of Talmud that deals with death? Talmud Shabbat details the laws of Sabbath, Ketubot...
  • Living in the Here and Now

    September 17, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    When the Chassidic master, Reb Yitzchak Yakov, the Seer of Lublin, died, his disciples divided his worldly goods. One got his books and his notes, another his shtender, his study lectern, one his Kiddush cup, another his tallit and tefillin. When it was all distributed, there...
  • Torah Portion

    August 20, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Why Be Jewish?

    By Rabbi Ed Feinstein

    There is a story that haunts me this time of year.

    Franz Rosensweig. Photo from "My Jewish World"

    It is the story of a young Jew who lived in...

  • Torah Portion

    August 13, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Does Anyone Know What Time It Is?

    By Rabbi Ed Feinstein

    In the office, I have a fast computer with e-mail and a modem, a fax machine, a cell phone and a pager. At home, a microwave/convection oven, dishwasher, washer/dryer,...

  • Torah Portion

    July 9, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    The Moabites of Hollywood

    By Rabbi Ed Feinstein

    Been to the movies this summer? There's "Armageddon," in which a Texas-sized asteroid hurtling toward Earth threatens all life on this planet. "Deep Impact" features two...

  • Torah Portion

    May 28, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Martin Buber was wrong. Buber proposed that "alllife is meeting," and that all human interactions fit into twocategories: I-Thou and I-It. I-Thou describes those close, mutual,responsive relationships in which we become genuine, unique personsto one another. I-It is for everything...

  • The Bonds that Unite Us

    May 7, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Enter a cathedral, and what do you feel? Thesoaring vaulted ceiling, the giant columns, the colossal statues ofsaints and martyrs, the luminous stained-glass images of scripturalheroes -- the architecture articulates a spirituality of contrast. Weare small, insignificant, ephemeral...

  • Torah Portion

    March 5, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Why is this night different from all other nights?

    On all other occasions, Judaism compels us to penetrate our façades to discover who we really are. On Purim, we don masks and costumes and pretend to be who we're not. Year-round, we seek a clear appreciation of life and a true...

  • Torah Portion

    January 22, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    The Nazis took my uncle Henry at the beginning ofthe war. He survived more than five years as a slave. Young andstrong, he was a carpenter, and they needed carpenters. At first,they moved him from camp to camp, including a stay at Pleshow, whereSchindler's people were kept. And,...

  • Torah Portion

    January 15, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Seeing Beyond Our Culture

    Parashat Shemot(Exodus1:1-6:1)

    By Rabbi Ed Feinstein

    My son was 7 the first time he saw a beggarstanding beside the freeway offramp: a large man, disheveled andfilthy, with a hand-lettered cardboard sign that read, "WILL WORK FORFOOD." "Abba, who is that man?"...

  • Torah Portion

    December 11, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    Pity Esau. One moment of weakness, one moment ofimpulse, and his birthright is gone. He goes out to fulfill hisfather's dying wish for a savory meal of game, and while he's outhunting, his mother and brother conspire and rob him of his blessing.Returning to his father with the feast,...

  • A Different Kind of

    December 4, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    He is our first forefather, the progenitor of theCovenant, and, yet, we do not call ourselves B'nai Avraham, thechildren of Abraham. We invoke the memory of the Akeda whenever we beg God'sforgiveness, but we do not call ourselves B'nai Yitzchak, thechildren of Isaac. We are B'nai...

  • Torah Portion

    November 27, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    In 1620, our Pilgrim ancestors escapedthe tyranny and religious persecution of the Old World and braved atreacherous journey to find freedom on this continent. They landed atPlymouth Rock, Mass. Settling at the edge of a vast wilderness, theynearly perished. They were rescued by...

  • Torah Portion

    November 20, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    Who was the first Jew? All of us learned in Sunday School that thefirst Jew was Abraham. It was our father, Abraham, who detected thepresence of the one true God and championed monotheism in a paganworld. It was with Abraham that God established the Covenant,defining our identity,...

  • A Letter to Sarah

    November 13, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    Dearest Sarah,

    The boy is alive. Shaken -- we both are. Butalive. I've sent him home to you in Kiryat Arba. I'll remain here inBeersheba. I need some time alone to think things through.

    From the beginning, this has been someadventure. "Leave home!" I was commanded. "Leave behind all...

  • Torah Portion

    November 6, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    You know me, Rabbi. You know how important thesynagogue is to me, how much I enjoy services; you see me at yourTorah classes. You know what kind of Jew I am: I am the only one atthe family seder table who can read the Hebrew side of the Haggadah,but they won't accept me, because I...

  • Songs

    October 30, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    One of my favorite things to do is write children's songs. Over the years, I have written lots of innocuous little ditties for kids as a way of teaching them about Jewish holidays and rituals, ethics and values, and how to treat families and friends. Long ago, when I was just...

  • Torah Portion

    October 23, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Did the first people to read the Bible know theywere reading "The Bible"? And if not, what was it they thought theywere reading?

    The Bible has no title page. It has neither anauthor's introduction nor a preface -- nothing to tell us why it waswritten or how it is to be read. We call...

  • Accepting Judaism as a Privilege

    October 16, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    One Sunday morning, many years ago, as parentscame to pick up their kids from the Hebrew school where I taught, Ioverheard a conversation. "How was class?" A father asked his son.The child began to whine. "I hate Hebrew school," he said. "It'sboring and stupid, the teachers are mean,...
  • The Truth Hurts

    October 9, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Before God created the human being, according to alegend of the Midrash, He consulted the angels of heaven. The angelof peace argued, "Let him not be created; he will bring contentioninto the world." But the angel of compassion countered, "Let him becreated; he will bring...

  • To New Beginnings

    October 2, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    According to my son, Disney's "The Lion King" isthe greatest film ever made. He saw it three times in the theater,and insisted on playing the soundtrack every morning on our way toschool. All the way to kindergarten, we sang the film's stirringtheme song, "The Circle of Life," until,...
  • The Champion of Spiritual Maturity

    September 25, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Who is your spiritual hero? Asked this at a recent conference, Irecalled a story from the Talmud.

    The Rabbis of the first century considered the status of an oveninvented by an entrepreneur named Achnai. Rabbi Eliezer, thepatrician elder statesman of the academy, declared the oven...

  • The Story Behind Us

    September 18, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    On the fourth Thursday of each November, we gather around a table laden with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pie, and we tell a story:

    In 1620, our Pilgrim ancestors escaped the tyranny of the Old World and braved a treacherous journey to find freedom on the shores of this...

  • Don’t Win the Battle

    September 11, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    A professor in seminary once asked us to find themost important section in all the Torah. We offered Creation, theShma, the Exodus, the revelation at Mount Sinai. No, he argued, it'ski teze l'milchama (Deuteronomy 21): "When you go out to war against yourenemies, and the Lord God...

  • Torah Portion

    September 4, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    The first question asked of the human being in theTorah is God's question of Adam: "Where are you?"

    Pay attention to the Torah's questions. Read themas if they were italicized, written in red or underlined. For thequestions capture the essence of the Torah's lesson. "Am I...

  • What’s Wrong With

    August 28, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    First, please understand that it has nothing to dowith health. The laws of kashrut -- the food restrictions imposedupon Jews by the Bible and the Talmud -- were not intended to keep ushealthy. Trust me, one can eat very kosher but very unhealthily.Kashrut is a symbol system. The...

  • Finding the Adult Within

    August 21, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    "So, tell me, what are you looking for in awoman?" I ask.

    "Someone kind and gentle, intelligent, educated,cultured, witty, fun, a professional, independent, but interested intraditional things, Jewish, haimish, warm, family-oriented...andthin, tall, attractive, blond, well-dressed."...

  • Make the Time Count

    August 14, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Child rearing, it turns out, is a relativelyshort-term project. The truth is that we don't have them for verylong. Eighteen years, that's all. Eighteen years, from birth untilthey move away to Stanford. If your child is 5, you've got 13 yearsleft. If your child is 8, you've got 10...
  • ‘What’s the Meaning of Life ?’

    August 7, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Love answering children's questions. I'll visit a classroom and face an eager chorus of "DidGod create dinosaurs?" and "Where do people go when they die?" Then,at the end, there's always one wise guy, who smirks and asks, "What'sthe meaning of life?" I love that kid. I admire his...

  • A Warning to Revolutionaries

    July 31, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Once, I was a revolutionary. I belonged to the generation of long hair and crazy ideas. We did more than invent rock music and protest an unjust war. We believed that we could create a new society, populated by new people -- people freed of the prejudices and life-choking rigidities...

  • Torah Portion

    July 24, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    You can't miss her. All over town, huge billboards advertise not cigarettes, automobiles or banking services but the image of a scantily clad young woman, with the caption "Angelyne." Her image is a caricature of male fantasies. What was once confined to the back pages of so-called...
  • Do You Believe

    July 17, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    For a small donation, you can now e-mail your prayers to a site in Jerusalem where they will be placed into the Kotel, the Western Wall, on your behalf.

    With a powerful computer, scholars in Israel have revealed the secret codes embedded in the text of the Torah -- codes predicting...

  • Preventing Death

    July 10, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    One afternoon, as I wheeled my shopping cart down an aisle of the local market, a 3-year-old riding in his mother's cart came up along the other side. He was one of the students in the nursery school, and when he recognized me, his mouth dropped open, he pointed, and he shouted,...
  • Follow the Leader

    July 3, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    A yeshiva outgrew its downtown quarters and moved to the former site of an upstate boys' academy. Finding a boathouse on the property, the Rosh Yeshiva called in one of the rabbis and ordered him to organize a rowing team.

    "Rebbe, what do we know from rowing?" the rabbi asked.

    "We can...

  • The Spiritual Tourist

    June 26, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Near Mt. Amir in Israel. Photo from "Skyline" 1990 My neighbors completed an around-the-world trip. It was their dream, the trip of a lifetime. When we gathered to welcome them home, they eagerly described the journey's highlights -- the Sheraton in Bangkok, the Kentucky Fried...
  • Alligators Under

    June 19, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    I learned most of my theology not from my teachers but from my children. When my daughter, Nessa, was 3 years old, we had a routine. Each night, I would tuck her into bed, sing our bedtime prayers, kiss her good night and attempt to sneak out of the room. Halfway down the hall, she...
  • Lifestyles of the Rich and Miserable

    June 12, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Everything in Creation has a purpose, teaches the Midrash. But when someone gave us a gift subscription to People Weekly magazine, I was left to wonder if I had found the first truly purposeless thing in God's universe.

    You know People, the epitome of "lite" culture, with its short,...

  • The Mirror of

    June 5, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Rabbi Lawrence Kushner tells of the time he brought a nursery-school class into the synagogue sanctuary for a tour. He showed them the bimah, the ner tamid, the cantor's and rabbi's lecterns. Finally, the tiny kids stood before the huge doors of the Holy Ark.

    "What do you suppose is...

  • Torah Portion

    May 29, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Because of our sins were we exiled from our land, and displaced far from our soil." Thus the festival Musaf prayer expresses the theology of this week's Torah portion: Obedience and loyalty to God brings rewards of prosperity and security. Sin brings exile and its terrors.

    For a very...

  • Economics and the Human Soul

    May 22, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    We don't know who discovered water," Einstein said. But we do know one thing: "It wasn't a fish!" Why not a fish? Because a fish -- born into water, living, eating, breathing water -- is never sufficiently separated from water to become aware of its presence. The unnoticed condition...
  • Torah Portion

    May 15, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    A fable: There was a king who collected jewels. One night, he dreamed that somewhere in the world, there was a ring with strange, magical powers: When one was sad, it could make him happy. When he was giddy and drunk, it could sober him and bring him back to himself. When he was...

  • Looking for God in All the Wrong Places

    May 8, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Why is it that when Jews seek spiritual wisdom, they'll go almost anywhere except their own traditions? Look into any cult, any radical new therapy, any metaphysical society or meditating community, and you'll find Jews far beyond our proportion in the population. And should they...
  • Achre 5757

    May 1, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    A couple with whom I'm close had their first child, so I ran to the bookstore to get them our favorite book on child care. I had forgotten the exact title (it was always "the baby book") and the author's name, so I thought I'd just scan the shelf until it turned up. Shelf? Try...