When last I spoke to my teacher, Abraham Joshua Heschel, he asked if he could borrow my kittel. He was not at home in New York but here in California and it was before the High Holidays. "You know,” he explained "the kittel is part of the tachrichim -- the shrouds in which the dead...
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Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis
December 18, 2014 | 7:32 am
December 18, 2014 | 7:32 am
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December 18, 2014 | 7:30 am
April 19, 2007 | 8:00 pm
Amnesia of the past foreshadows amnesia of the future. Forget yesterday's tragedy and the threat to tomorrow is denied. Forget the first genocide of the 20th century -- the murder of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 -- and the memory and atrocities of the first genocide of the 21st...
October 26, 2006 | 8:00 pm
November 24, 2005 | 7:00 pm
"Teshuvah," turning, repentance, reconciliation, is a gift given to all people. People change, institutions change, policies change.
Consider the largely unreported and unheralded change in the Presbyterian Church (USA). By a vote of 431 to 62 in July 2004, the church voted to...
May 19, 2005 | 8:00 pm
"The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones." Shakespeare's comment remains pertinent in our times.
Evil acts enjoy great publicity. Every inch of graffiti on the walls of schools is photographed, and every ethnic or racial outrage resonates...
January 13, 2005 | 7:00 pm
"For the Sake of Heaven and Earth," by Irving Greenberg (JPS, 2004).
In a passage from the Talmud (Makkoth 24a), Moses' blessing in Deuteronomy is cited: "And Israel dwells in safety alone." The Prophet Amos arose to revoke that dubious blessing: "Oh God, cease, I beseech...
September 23, 2004 | 8:00 pm
Don't throw away the newspaper! Newspapers are the day-to-day records of history. Judaism has a passion for meaning. Events have meaning. What do events mean? How do changes instruct us? Look around at the world. Every event has something to teach us. As the Zohar instructed:...
April 15, 2004 | 8:00 pm
Claire Luce Booth, the wife of the owner of Luce Publications, reported a frank conversation with a Jewish friend. Booth said, "I must admit being positively bored by all this talk of the Holocaust and its constant repetition of Jewish suffering." The Jewish friend replied, "I know...
December 18, 2003 | 7:00 pm
From my own experience and from the reports in The Jewish Journal, it is evident that it has become more and more difficult to plan for a dialogue between fellow Jews on the subject of Israel -- much easier to organize a discussion between Christian and Jewish leadership or even...
September 18, 2003 | 8:00 pm
It was unseasonably cold on the eve of the New Year. The lakes were frozen; the sun retreated from the heavens on erev Rosh Hashanah. A group of porcupines noted for their rugged individualism were caught shivering in wintry storms. They decided to huddle together and thereby find...
April 4, 2002 | 7:00 pm
Colleagues in faith, we must act together now. We owe it to our respective faiths and our common calling. We cannot feign blindness or muteness while all about us the toxins of racial and religious hate and the anarchy of anthrax continue to poison our environment. Lethal libels...
February 28, 2002 | 7:00 pm
The conscience of the Jewish state has spoken through the recent landmark ruling of Israel's Supreme Court. It has taken an important step toward removing the pariah stigma from tens of thousands of Jews who converted to Judaism by the rabbinic authority of non-Orthodox rabbis, but...
October 4, 2001 | 8:00 pm
March 22, 2001 | 7:00 pm
The news is replete with sensationalistic stories that expose the violence and callousness in our society. The media seem to be competing in a contest of one-downmanship. The gossip of human denigration captures our attention. The good men do is oft interred with the bones, the...
March 9, 2000 | 7:00 pm
Pity the children. Rabbi Simeon Bar Yochai declared "Throw yourself into a blazing furnace rather than shame a neighbor in public." (Talmud Berachoth 43b)
Now consider Camp Ramah's "Statement of Religious Qualifications for Children." The recently floated statement ("Ramah's...
April 8, 1999 | 8:00 pm
Once again, the anniversary of the Holocaust is upon us (April 13), and, once again, the commemoration taunts me. "Go preach the goodness of God." "Go praise the crown of God's creation made but little lower than the angels." "Speak to the world of faith and hope in the wake of the...
February 18, 1999 | 7:00 pm
I have learned from the Clinton affair how unprepared our technologically sophisticated society is to deal with moral issues, and specifically how to transmit moral wisdom to our children.
Parents ask, "What are we to say to our children about the conduct of the most powerful...
September 10, 1998 | 8:00 pm
I begin by expressing my admiration and respect for Monsignor Vadakin whom I have known for close to three decades. I have reason to know of his integrity and moral courage, his deep respect for Judaism and his love for the Jewish people.
It is not with anyone that I would broach...
January 15, 1998 | 7:00 pm
Abraham Joshua Heschel said that he prayed for one thing: the giftof wonder. He prayed for astonishment, for the capacity to besurprised. As he wrote, "I try not to be stale. I try to remainyoung. I have one talent, and that is the capacity to be tremendouslysurprised at life and...
September 25, 1997 | 8:00 pm
This is 1997 A.D. (anno Domini, or in the year ofthe Lord), according to Christians, who date the calendar from thebirth of Jesus.
The Islamic calendar is dated from 622 A.D., fromthe hegira, the flight of Mohammed from Mecca to Medina.
Jews celebrate the New Year, 5758, a date...