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Jewish Journal

Dennis Prager

  • Why do Jews oppose wars against evil?

    6 days ago

    One of the deepest disappointments in my life has been Jews’ opposition to wars against evil. I had always assumed that, as the victims of so much evil throughout history, and as heirs to the great moral teachings of the Bible and Judaism, Jews, of all people, would support...

  • When Jews are bigoted against Conservative Christians

    3 weeks ago

    Over the last 20 years, I have probably spent as much time with Evangelical Christians as with fellow Jews — in private settings, speaking at churches, on listener cruises, in my home and in their homes.

    I have come to admire and in many cases love these people. 

    Unfortunately,...

  • On the death of my father

    September 3, 2014 | 10:47 am

    My father, Max Prager, died two weeks ago. 

    Here, then, are some thoughts on the death of a parent.

    1. Longevity

    Parents who live long are very lucky. They are lucky not only for their longevity, and not only because they get to see their children grow into adulthood, and not...

  • Cruz, Bardem: Moral idiots

    August 6, 2014 | 11:58 am

    About 10 days ago, Penelope Cruz and her husband, Javier Bardem, signed a public letter in Spain along with prominent Spanish director Pedro Almodovar and other Spanish directors and actors accusing Israel of “genocide” and “extermination.”

    Some excerpts (unofficial translation...

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  • Why do people hate Israel?

    July 23, 2014 | 11:14 am

    We live in a bad world.

    There is nothing new about that. The world has been pretty bad since its inception. That’s why God destroyed it and started all over again (with little to show for the new experiment, one might add).

    From a moral perspective, look at the world since...

  • When Jews murder

    July 9, 2014 | 9:45 am

    With the announcement that six Jews were arrested in the murder of Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian, it is difficult to describe the sense of despondence that I (and I presume nearly all Jews) feel. Most Jews have a sense that certain things are truly foreign...

  • L.A. mayor and America’s decline

    June 24, 2014 | 2:51 pm

    Last week, during the official celebration of the Los Angeles Kings winning the Stanley Cup, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti told a jammed Staples Center that “there are two long-standing rules for politicians. … They say never, ever be pictured with a drink in your hand, and never swear....

  • Is kosher ethical?

    June 11, 2014 | 9:28 am

    Almost 40 years ago I spoke about “The Case for Judaism”  to members of the tiny Jewish community of Moncton, in New Brunswick, Canada. It was a speech I had given many times before and would give hundreds of times more. In it, I described the ethical preoccupation of Judaism,...

  • Want to do bad?

    May 28, 2014 | 10:23 am

    Judaism has a sophisticated view of human nature. It unambiguously asserts that we are not born good, but at the same time holds that human beings have, on the one hand, a conscience and a will to do good — the yetzer hatov, and, on the other hand, an urge to do bad — the yetzer...

  • U.S. Jews vs. U.S. Christianity

    May 14, 2014 | 9:25 am

    It’s not something that Americans mention in public. And it may not even be something many note in private. But a Jew writing in a Jewish journal ought to point out a fact that, no matter how much ignored, is significant.

    On May 5, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in “Town of...

  • Crushing dissent in America

    April 30, 2014 | 10:11 am

    Something unprecedented in American history is taking place. Debate on almost every subject of significance is being choked off. People who only six years ago had “Dissent Is Patriotic” stickers affixed to their bumpers are now crushing dissent.

    This is a generalization with...

  • Did the Exodus happen?

    April 16, 2014 | 1:18 pm

    With Passover here, it is a propitious time to address the central issue of the holiday: the Exodus. Specifically, did the Exodus happen?

    My friend Rabbi David Wolpe announced some years ago that it didn’t matter whether the Exodus occurred. In his words, writing three years...

  • Global warming revisited

    April 2, 2014 | 12:02 pm

    In 2011, I wrote about global warming in this column (Part 1 / Part 2). With the just-released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, it is worth revisiting the topic. I said then that there were scientifically legitimate reasons to be skeptical about the global...

  • Why evil committed in the name of God is worse

    March 19, 2014 | 2:06 pm

    If I could ask one question of a religious person — of any faith — it would be, “What is the worst sin in your religion?”

    The answer to this question can often tell you more than that of any other question about that person’s religion, or at least about that person’s own...

  • Egalitarian marriages and sex

    February 20, 2014 | 2:21 pm

    Two weeks ago, the New York Times Magazine published a 6,000-word article, “Does a More Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex?” by Los Angeles-based psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb. It challenges some of the most preciously held ideas of feminism and progressivism.

    In a nutshell, her...

  • Yair’s Norwegian girlfriend

    February 5, 2014 | 11:24 am

    It has been widely reported that the son of the Israeli prime minister, 23-year-old Yair Netanyahu, has been dating a non-Jewish Norwegian woman. Sandra Leikanger, 25, and Yair are both students at Israel’s elite Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.

    The news has created a stir...

  • What is nachas?

    January 22, 2014 | 2:03 pm

    The traditional wish that Jews offer fellow Jews is “May you have nachas from your children.” Nachas is understood to be pride and joy. And for most Jews, pride and joy from their children is the greatest blessing in life.

    Let me give an example.

    Having been in public life for...

  • UCLA’s further deterioration

    January 8, 2014 | 3:02 pm

    The intellectual and moral decline of American universities in the last 40 years is one of the saddest chapters in modern American history. 

    Take UCLA, long renowned for its excellence in the humanities as well as in the natural sciences (which do remain largely excellent).

    As...

  • Are Jewish neighborhoods a good thing?

    December 18, 2013 | 4:34 pm

    I would like to offer a view on Jewish neighborhoods that is so contrary to accepted wisdom that I can only ask that people read this column with as open a mind as possible.

    On balance, after a lifetime of thought, I don’t think that Jewish neighborhoods are always a good thing...

  • Educated women and children

    December 4, 2013 | 4:12 pm

    On the Jewish Web site The Tablet, Michelle Goldberg, a senior contributing editor to The Nation, recently wrote: “In the United States, women tend to have fewer children the more education they have — those with advanced degrees have only 1.67 children each. Jewish women are...

  • George W. Bush and Jews for Jesus

    November 20, 2013 | 3:05 pm

    Former President George W. Bush spoke for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute (MJBI) this past week, and this has led to a good deal of writing on Jews for Jesus and the ex-president’s address.

    Some observations:

    • Like nearly every other Jew, I was saddened by the news. The...

  • No faith, no Jewish future

    November 6, 2013 | 1:27 pm

    In my last column, I suggested a number of reasons for the rise of Orthodox Judaism and the decline in membership among non-Orthodox denominations. 

    In this column, I would like to discuss one important reason that often goes unnoted.

    That reason is faith — not only faith in...

  • Why Orthodoxy is growing

    October 23, 2013 | 11:58 am

    As almost every Jew knows by now, according to major reports on American Jewry — such as the most recent and most highly regarded Pew report — Orthodoxy is growing, while Conservative and Reform Judaism are shrinking. 

    Before presenting my explanations, I think it important to...

  • Marry young

    October 9, 2013 | 1:22 pm

    I know the arguments that people give for delaying marriage: 

    “I’m not ready.”

    “I need to be financially secure first.”

    “Right now, I’m preoccupied with ____” (fill in the blank).

    “To tell you the truth, I’m having too much fun to settle down.” (This argument is usually...

  • Family problems? Turn to Genesis

    September 24, 2013 | 10:59 am

    If you have family problems, there is a book that can provide a good deal of consolation. That book, you might be surprised to learn, is the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Torah.

    Genesis makes it abundantly clear that you are not alone, that what we now call dysfunctional...

  • Syria, Obama and America

    September 11, 2013 | 2:26 pm

    Ten thoughts on the current crisis:

    1. American red lines cannot be crossed.

    President Barack Obama has said that “Assad must go” and that the use of chemical weapons would constitute, in America’s eyes, a “red line.” If proclamations of an American president to other countries...

  • High-interest Holy Days

    August 28, 2013 | 2:31 pm

    This will be the sixth consecutive year that I lead Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services. I would like to revisit lessons I have learned in retaining attendees’ interest in the service and even in keeping hundreds of them in synagogue all day on Yom Kippur.

    My agenda here is to...

  • Orthodoxy and ethics

    August 14, 2013 | 10:56 am

    One of the most prominent Orthodox rabbis of our time, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, chief rabbi of Efrat, related the following story in the July 12-18 issue of the International Jerusalem Post:

    “Let me tell you a true incident which for me is a metaphor of our times. A young man...

  • College and your child

    July 31, 2013 | 1:00 pm

    The following are some of the basic postulates about America, religion, society, morality, the arts and Israel that are taught at almost every American university.

    America:

    • The United States is no better than any other country, and in some important ways it is worse than...

  • Do men and women matter?

    July 17, 2013 | 11:48 am

    Most Americans do not realize that, as large as the issue of same-sex marriage is (and it is very large), there is an even larger issue at stake in the same-sex marriage debate.

    That issue is whether gender matters: Do male and female, man and woman, matter?

    In the brief span...

  • A principal’s speech

    July 2, 2013 | 11:00 am

    Three years ago, I wrote a version of this column. Because it went viral — often listing me as the high school principal who actually gave this speech! — I am revising it and publishing it here. I believe that if every school principal gave this speech, America would be a better...

  • The Israeli.com and me

    June 19, 2013 | 12:01 pm

    For the amusement of readers and to publicize what is probably the most absurd treatment by a retailer I have ever encountered — I am publishing the e-mail dialogue (to the extent that “dialogue” is the apt term) with an Israeli Web site from which I recently purchased a tallit. 

    ...
  • California: the left’s laboratory

    June 6, 2013 | 12:02 pm

    Our state of California has become a laboratory. The progressive party, the Democrats, holds every statewide office, from governor on down, and they hold super-majorities in both houses of the state legislature. Even if every Republican legislator in Sacramento votes against a...

  • Honor trumps love

    May 22, 2013 | 12:16 pm

    Between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is a good time to return again to the fifth of the Ten Commandments, “Honor your father and your mother.”

    The Ten Commandments are the most important demands God makes upon the Jews (and upon members of any religion based on the Jewish...

  • Jews and Christians

    May 8, 2013 | 12:29 pm

    I have spent much of my adult life working to bring Jews and Christians together. In particular, I have tried to explain to fellow Jews that traditional Christians are our best friends in the world today. 

    Moreover, I believe that America’s founders, virtually every one a...

  • Who’ll support Israel?

    April 24, 2013 | 11:09 am

    “Israel’s great challenge: gun-hating, gay-backing, grass-smoking young Americans.” 

    That was the title of an article published on April 5 in Haaretz, Israel’s most prestigious newspaper, and — this is relevant here — the most left-wing of Israel’s prominent papers. The author is...

  • Lessons of the Holocaust

    April 10, 2013 | 3:07 pm

    This week, Jews around the world observed Holocaust Remembrance Day. This day ought to be universally observed, because the lessons of the Holocaust are universal. Here are some of them:

    1. The Jews are the world’s canary in the mine.

    When Jews are murdered, it is a warning to...

  • Time to end ‘Top Rabbis’ list

    March 28, 2013 | 10:44 am

    Kudos to the Jewish Journal and writer Danielle Berrin for a fair and balanced article about Newsweek magazine’s “America’s Top 50 Rabbis” list. Given the prominence of Los Angeles rabbis at the top of the list, one might have expected the article to cheerlead on its behalf. But...

  • Secularism: Great for government, destructive to everything else

    March 14, 2013 | 5:01 am

    Most non-Orthodox Jews venerate secularism. Virtually every movement and organization advancing secularism in the United States has been founded or led by Jews, and Jews are disproportionately active in these movements.

    The initials ACLU are loved and respected by most American...

  • Self Esteem

    February 27, 2013 | 2:55 pm

    I will use my old friend Richard Gunther’s accompanying letter as a jumping-off point for a discussion of the self-esteem movement.

    First to some specifics in his letter, which can be read in full on page 7.

    “True self-esteem comes from a personal recognition of a job well done...

  • Judaism’s greatest lesson: Behavior matters most

    February 13, 2013 | 8:29 am

    If I were asked to identify the greatest Jewish teaching, the most important lesson to be learned from all of Judaism, I would argue that, aside from ethical monotheism, it is that behavior matters more than anything else, and certainly more than feelings.

    As the Talmud tells us,...

  • I found God at Columbia

    January 30, 2013 | 2:49 pm

    Not many people today can say that they found God or religion at college or graduate school. Most universities, after all, are thoroughly secular institutions that either ignore or disparage belief in God.

    Yet, one day, when I was a graduate student in international affairs at...

  • Michael Tolkin: A new low

    January 16, 2013 | 11:45 am

    As I explained — yet again — in my last column, I made the case in my original column, “Why Is Murder Wrong?” “that if there is no God who declares murder wrong, murder is not, in fact, wrong. While human beings can believe that murder is wrong, without God, right and wrong are our...

  • Is murder wrong?: Progressive dialogue

    January 2, 2013 | 3:02 pm

    In my last column, I made the case that if there is no God who declares murder wrong, murder is not, in fact, wrong. While human beings can believe that murder is wrong, without God, right and wrong are our moral opinions, not moral facts.

    This is so basic and so logically...

  • Why is murder wrong?

    December 12, 2012 | 11:21 am

    I take it as a given that every reader of this journal believes that murder is wrong. (By murder, I mean the immoral taking of a human life — not killing in defense of self or others; not a just war of defense; and not taking animal life.)

    But I don’t believe that all readers of...

  • The Age of Feelings

    November 28, 2012 | 10:52 am

    In the Pacific Coast waters off the Northern California city of Eureka on Nov. 10, a mother, a father and their teenage son all died.

    It was not a boating accident or a shark attack. 

    They died because at least one of them tried to save the family dog, which had been carried...

  • Jews and abortion

    November 14, 2012 | 3:43 pm

    One of the most frequent questions Christians ask me as a Jew is, “Why aren’t Jews committed to protecting the unborn?”

    The question is not asked in anger. The questioners are truly confused. Christians think of Jews as the people who brought the greatest value system into the...

  • A Jew tours for Mitt Romney

    November 1, 2012 | 2:28 pm

    I spent last week speaking to thousands of Romney supporters in four “battleground” states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and Virginia. I traveled with my Salem Radio Network colleagues Hugh Hewitt and Michael Medved and the actor Jon Voight, one of the few Hollywood stars who is a...

  • The American election and Israel

    October 17, 2012 | 2:00 pm

    Americans who care deeply about Israel have to make two decisions regarding the upcoming election.

    The first decision is whether a candidate’s or a party’s level of support for Israel should be the most important consideration in determining their vote.

    If the answer is in the...

  • Who will live, who will die?

    September 19, 2012 | 11:56 am

    You don’t have to be a Jewish scholar to note a glaring difference between Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Jan. 1, the secular New Year.

    The former is solemn while the latter is boisterous. And one reason for Rosh Hashanah’s solemnity is the central question that it...

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