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  • Purim: Joy vs. Oblivion

    By Beit T'shuvah

    1 day ago

    By Rabbi Paul Steinberg

    “Rabbi,” they ask with concern and genuine curiosity, “there are synagogues, Chabad houses, and rabbis that are enticing our young people to come to Purim events with the appeal of alcohol and drinking.”  I listen with anxiety, anger, and a bit of desire....

  • Fighting Mendacity

    By Beit T'shuvah

    February 6, 2015 | 1:08 pm

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    Mendacity, Mendacity, Mendacity— the world worships at the feet of Mendacity! I am enraged and frustrated by the Mendacity that is in our world today. I read the papers, listen to people speak and I am struck by the love people have for living and speaking...

  • The Kotzker Rebbe: Angels, Miracles and Broken Hearts.

    By Dr. Afshine Emrani

    February 4, 2015 | 3:20 pm

    When The Kotzker Rebbe was five years old, he asked his father "Where is God?" to which his father answered "God is everywhere!" The young boy then corrected his father by saying "No, I think God is only where you let Him in."  This remarkable story was quoted by the late Rabbi...

  • The Power of Reconciliation; Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

    By Beit T'shuvah

    January 16, 2015 | 1:46 pm

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    This weekend is Martin Luther King weekend. It is also the weekend of our Gala, our biggest fundraiser of the year for Beit T’Shuvah. Dr. King believed that Evil could be overcome. We believe that Evil can be defeated. It is so hard, though. As we have seen...

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  • Making A “New Year’s Resolution” Every Day

    By Beit T'shuvah

    January 2, 2015 | 9:34 am

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz 

    Today is January 2 and many of us are going back to work after a day off. There are so many New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day celebrations, and we are all filled with hope and have make resolutions, etc. Why??

    What are we really marking by celebrating?...

  • We MUST Abandon the Lies and Advocate for Truth!

    By Beit T'shuvah

    December 26, 2014 | 11:51 am

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz,

    I am concerned! Each week I write about Redemption, each day I move one grain of sand closer to the redemption of others and myself, yet it seems as if the world wants to stay stuck! We have become a world that wants to live in Self-Deception! The UN is...

  • Merry Christmas!

    By Dr. Afshine Emrani

    December 24, 2014 | 7:45 am

    Not “happy holidays.”  It’s Christmas!  I don't like tofu wishes; I wish for flavor and truth.

    This is the holiest day of the Christian calendar.  I would not want someone wishing me “happy holidays” for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

    As a child in Iran, I attended the French...

  • Rabbi Shulweis, Dear Friend and Advocate for the Soul

    By Beit T'shuvah

    December 19, 2014 | 1:37 pm

    by Rabbi Mark Borovitz

     

    I am Addicted to Redemption in a large part because of Rabbi Harold Shulweis, z”l. Rabbi Shulweis welcomed me into his Shul knowing that I was just out of prison, an ex-con, and a recovering alcoholic. He embraced me and said that I had a place in his...

  • Truth, Transparency, and the Senate

    By Beit T'shuvah

    December 12, 2014 | 12:30 pm

    by Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    As I am sitting in my office this morning, I am thinking about the Senate Report on CIA torture tactics in light of the principle of Truth and Transparency.

    Question: What is too much information when it can harm others?

    My Response: This is a difficult...

  • Ten Lessons Learned from a Rabbi’s Murder.

    By Dr. Afshine Emrani

    November 19, 2014 | 9:00 am

    1- The world is random.  No amount of holiness or payer can save a pious man from random evil.  Rabbi Moshe Twersky was a teacher of American students in Israel. His grandfather, had ordained 2,000 rabbis. His father, Rabbi Isadore Twersky, was a prominent American-Jewish leader,...

  • Should rabbis talk about Israel during the High Holy Days?

    By David Suissa

    September 23, 2014 | 4:43 pm

    On the eve of the biggest sermon days of the year, a brouhaha has erupted in the Jewish world over whether rabbis should weigh in about Israel.

    “Don’t talk about Israel,” my friend Peter Beinart wrote this week in Haaretz, addressing rabbis across America. Why? Because American...

  • The Other Why Me

    By Rabbi Robin Podolsky

    August 14, 2014 | 5:31 pm

    So my car was smashed, the other day, with me in it.  I walked away.  Why me?


    How did all of us get to be so lucky/blessed on that day?  An out-of-control van drove across lanes of freeway rush hour traffic, breaking cars, and (to my knowledge) no living being was harmed.

    ...

  • Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Devarim with Rabbi Rachel Isaacs

    By Shmuel Rosner

    August 1, 2014 | 3:56 am

    Our guest this week is Rabbi Rachel Isaacs of the Beth Israel congregation in Waterville, Maine. Rabbi Isaacs was the first openly gay Rabbi to be ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary. Prior to the JTS, Isaacs earned her B.A. from Wellesley College in 2005, where she was the...

  • Baruch Lebovits, Brooklyn rabbi charged with sex abuse, gets plea deal

    July 10, 2014 | 2:54 pm

    Baruch Lebovits, a Brooklyn rabbi convicted of sex abuse in 2010 only to have the conviction overturned on appeal, was sentenced to two years in prison as part of a plea deal.

    The deal was approved Wednesday. Lebovits is expected to serve less than a year of additional jail time...

  • The Question of My Life

    By Beit T'shuvah

    June 20, 2014 | 1:55 pm

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    Approximately 25 years ago I was learning with Rabbi Jonathan Omer-Man and he taught my class that Judaism is about questions. In fact, he asked us all one particular question: “What is the question that this experience is the answer for?” I was dumb-struck...

  • Obligation to Society

    By Beit T'shuvah

    May 23, 2014 | 11:13 am

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    I am a Dinosaur. I have been looking at myself for many years now and, as of late, I realize how much my upbringing affects me. I have been looking at the world through both new and old eyes. I use the latest technology and cherish old ways of living. I am...

  • Backstreet Boys and Jay Leno visiting, the IDF improving and more…This week from Israel

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    May 12, 2014 | 12:20 pm

    Celebrating 66 years of independence

    On Tuesday, Israel celebrated its 66th independence day with 24 hours of celebrations that started on Monday night. The streets of every city were colored in blue and white, fireworks lit the sky and famous artists performed on stages set in...

  • Community of Healing

    By Beit T'shuvah

    April 18, 2014 | 9:25 am

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    Each month we receive the Catholic Agitator, the newspaper from The Catholic Worker, an organization started by Dorothy Day. The main articles always deal with some principle of being loyal to God or, in my words, Being on God's Side. This month was about...

  • Acharei Mot: Cleansing Past Misdeeds

    By Beit T'shuvah

    April 11, 2014 | 11:39 am

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    My brother Neal called me this morning and suggested I write about a character from this week's Torah Portion. It is the "Ish Ati," the man who takes the goat for Azazel out to the wilderness. Since I didn't write about it in my weekly Torah Drash, I...

  • The Seder’s Innermost Secret—Charoset:  Earth & Eros in the Passover Celebration

    By Rabbi Arthur Waskow

    April 8, 2014 | 9:52 am

    There it sits on the Seder plate: charoset, a delicious paste of chopped nuts, chopped fruits, spices, and wine.

    So the question would seem obvious "Why is there charoset on the Seder plate?"

    That's the most secret Question at the Seder – so secret nobody even asks it. And it’s...

  • So you’ve decided to become a rabbi…

    March 14, 2014 | 2:17 pm

    Dear Friend,

    I understand you’re thinking of becoming a rabbi. Mazel tov!

    Getting into a seminary shouldn’t be too hard. During the decade between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s, four consequential new rabbinical schools opened in America: the liberal Orthodox Yeshivat Chovevei...

  • Seeing Yourself in Torah

    By Beit T'shuvah

    March 7, 2014 | 1:08 pm

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    With the opening of our new space at 8847 Venice Blvd., I have been thinking about how I got to where I am in life from where I was some 26+ years ago. I was locked up for the 2nd time and all I had was a Prayer Book and a Chumash, a book with the entire...

  • Online kosher, extra rabbis for visiting Jews in Sochi

    February 18, 2014 | 11:31 am

    Sochi's lone rabbi has drawn on reinforcements from the United States and shipped in 7,000 kosher meals to help cater for Jewish visitors to the Winter Olympics in Russia, a country where Judaism is reviving after decades of repression.

    Speaking virtually no Russian at the time,...

  • Soul Cycle

    By Rabbi Lori Shapiro

    January 29, 2014 | 11:45 am

    White on White, the Soul Cycle storefront is the Apple Store of Fitness. It glows from within like the “Athletes” emerging from their classes. I call them “Athletes”, although I could have as easily called them “Rock Stars” or “Warriors” or “Leaders” because the walls as I enter...

  • Poem: Sound Advice

    December 4, 2013 | 4:10 pm

    You have to know
    who to talk to:
    choose a dry
    cistern
    so that what is said
    is kept there;
    like the rabbi’s
    knowledge
    never leaking out,
    it will remain sweet
    as water in a sealed pit.

    Bor sud, in Hebrew, is a water-proofed cistern, or sealed pit, which holds all the...

  • Mendel Tevel in Los Angeles jail awaiting extradition

    By Jared Sichel

    October 30, 2013 | 4:51 pm

    Menachem Mendel Tewel, who goes by the name Mendel Tevel, remains in a Los Angeles jail awaiting extradition to Brooklyn. The rabbi and youth worker arrested Tuesday afternoon at the JEM Center in Beverly Hills is expected to be charged in New York with three counts of sexual...

  • Walking on the wild side and returning to the sacred side: Or becoming a rabbi because of Lou Reed

    October 29, 2013 | 1:40 pm

    Word of Lou Reed walking beyond the wild side, never to return, reached me as I was leaving campus, having just finished teaching a class on Modern Jewish Philosophy. As I recovered my copy of Take No Prisoners on my i-Phone and flicking to his 1978 strung-out rendition of “Sweet...

  • Goy until proven Jewish

    October 23, 2013 | 1:10 pm

    “Who is a Jew?” is a uniquely Jewish question. It is a question that epitomizes the Jewish people and culture. It is a philosophical question that embodies the history of Jewish debate. It is a question of belonging that symbolizes Jews as a minority. It seems like a theoretical...

  • Outmoded divorce law a real shandah

    October 16, 2013 | 10:20 am

    The FBI arrested two prominent Orthodox Jewish rabbis and two of their associates overnight Oct. 9 in New York. Allegedly, these rabbis arranged back-alley beatings for men who refuse to divorce their wives. Understanding their alleged crimes requires a short background in Jewish...

  • Pew study prompts spirited synagogue leadership debate

    By Ryan Torok

    October 10, 2013 | 1:00 pm

    Five days after the release of the Pew Research Center’s “Portrait of Jewish Americans,” a report revealing that Jewish engagement is on the decline, speakers at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ Oct. 6 Synagogue Leadership Conference all appeared to be asking one...

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