Jewish Journal

Rabbi Daniel Greyber

  • Two-way street: Israel should learn about Diaspora, too

    July 19, 2011 | 5:25 pm

    Rabbi Daniel Gordis, a senior fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, caused a storm within the Jewish community a few weeks ago when he published a piece arguing that the connection by students at America’s liberal rabbinical schools — the future leaders of the Jewish...

  • Rains and Revolutions

    February 2, 2011 | 6:06 pm

    A number of people have asked me what it’s like to be in Israel while a revolution is going on next door. My answer is, “it’s raining.”

    When it rains in the Middle East, it’s a pain – I got soaked walking to Mandel this morning – but everybody is happy about it because...

  • Always Heard

    May 4, 2010 | 5:03 pm

    During the rabbinic debate over the Oven of Akhnai, Rabbi Eliezer and the rabbis disagree about the purity of an oven (Baba Metzia 58b-59a). Rabbi Eliezer is convinced he is right and, during the argument, miracles prove he is correct: a carob tree moves, a stream flows backward, the...

  • Body and Soul

    February 10, 2010 | 1:54 am

    To many people I don’t look like a rabbi. One reason, I suspect, is that I’m athletic. I swam in the 1993 Maccabiah Games and am currently training for a triathlon.

    Many people don’t expect to hear a sermon from a guy who is 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds. Why? Jews struggle to...

  • ‘Why This Me?’

    November 17, 2009 | 2:09 am

    During my first summer at Camp Ramah it became necessary to dismiss a camper. We sat on my porch together, and he started to shake and cry after I broke the news to him. He buried his face in his hands.

    “I want to die. I want to die. I might as well just slit my wrists,” he...

  • Waking Up to Life

    September 16, 2009 | 8:16 pm

    It is 38 degrees on a Monday night. Our family wakes up in a tent cabin in the high country of Tuolumne Meadows, ready for the beauty, and warmth, of the Yosemite Valley, where we have reservations Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night. But a wildfire has different ideas.       ...

  • Sacrifices and a Sliding Scale

    March 25, 2009 | 3:59 am

    My wife met a pastor’s wife on a plane. Every few months now, we have Darren, an evangelical pastor, and his wife, Amy, over to our Shabbat lunch table.

    I talk about how our Shabbat sometimes feels too regulated, and he talks about how their Sabbath sometimes lacks enough...

  • Showing Up

    January 21, 2009 | 8:22 pm

    Elie Wiesel once wrote about his life in the period soon after the Shoah: “I felt like a stranger. I had lost my faith, and thus, my sense of belonging and orientation. My faith in life was covered in ashes; my faith in humanity was laughable; my faith in God was shaken.”


  • To let go and to pray

    November 6, 2008 | 11:35 pm

    Lech Lecha begins with God telling Abraham, "Go forth from your land, from your birthplace, from the house of your father to the land that I will show you."

    But why does God say it in this particular order?

    If you've left your country of origin, haven't you already left your...

  • Poetry and Taxis

    October 1, 2008 | 10:56 pm

    "So much of a writer's life consists of assumed suffering, rhetorical suffering, that I felt something like relief, even elation, when the doctor told me that I had cancer of the prostate. Suddenly there was in the air a rich sense of crisis, real crisis, yet one that also contained...
  • Taking time for yourself

    August 28, 2008 | 12:02 am

    Camp ended not long ago. Children and counselors went home, and after months of jumping, screaming, singing, crying, dancing and laughing, now there is stillness and quiet.

    The dining room echoes as my feet step across a wide, empty floor once filled with tables and benches....

  • Green endowments mean big returns for nonprofit

    April 3, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    Two years ago, Camp Ramah in California embarked upon a major solar energy project, effectively becoming the first Jewish overnight camp west of the Mississippi to adopt greener energy options. With the installation of a solar energy system atop the dining hall of our 75-acre Ojai...
  • Campfire stories from Israel at Ramah:
    'I felt a missile go just over my head'

    July 5, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    My pre-camp seminar with 35 staff members from Israel had just wrapped up, but Avinoam, our 21-year-old Israeli basketball coach for the summer, lingered behind, looking nervous and shaken.

    "Rabbi Dan, I want to let the kids get to know me this summer, like you said, so they can...

  • Sukkot: the beauty of fragility

    October 5, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Nine years ago, my wife and I returned home from lunch in a friend's sukkah on the first day of Sukkot. The phone was ringing as we walked in, and since we'd only just arrived in Los Angeles we didn't have an answering machine set up yet. Since we don't use the phone on Shabbat or...
  • Food for Thought

    April 13, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Vica is tall, blonde and Jewish. She is my interpreter.

    It's February 2005 and I am in Vilna, Lithuania, at the Baltics Limmud Conference. I am here as part of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles' strategic partnership with the Baltics communities to teach subjects as...

  • A Flashlight Through History

    April 21, 2005 | 8:00 pm


    Lately, my eldest son has become intrigued by God's omnipresence. Lying in bed before going to sleep, he asks: "You mean God is under the bed? In the closet?"

    Who am I to tell him no?

    God, it seems, has replaced monsters, an idea I hope is a comforting one since God's omnipresence...

  • What Lies Beneath

    January 27, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    "When All You've Ever Wanted Isn't Enough" by Rabbi Harold Kushner (Pocket, 1987).

    "A man sat opposite me in my study one evening: 'Two weeks ago, for the first time in my life I went to the funeral of a man my own age.... He died suddenly over the weekend.... That was two...

  • Have a Very Jewish Xmas

    December 25, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Jewish law requires that we publicize the miracle of Chanukah -- both when we light and where we light. We light the Chanukah candles after dark when they are most visible and we light in the early evening when most people are still out and about. We place our chanukiot by the window...

  • Limits Needed to Set Path for Youths

    November 27, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    A few weeks ago, three students at Milken Community Jewish High School in Los Angeles were expelled for making a sexually explicit video of themselves that was eventually seen by members of the student community. Many parents and teachers in the Jewish community have expressed...

  • We Are Not Small

    October 2, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    It is easy to feel small. As you fall asleep one night, try to watch yourself in your mind's eye, your body growing quiet on your bed as your mind begins to wander. You are one person falling asleep in one room. Beyond you are two, five, 20 others in your home or apartment building...

  • First Person

    May 8, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Enjoying my last few hours in Jerusalem a few weeks ago, I sat in Zion Square davka – just to spite those terrorists who have tried to drive people like me away from the center of Jerusalem.

    Though as each bus passes on Jaffa Street behind me, I think about how it could blow up. I...