Jewish Journal

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  • When the Rabbi Brings You Grape Juice

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    August 19, 2015 | 1:00 am

    As is done at many synagogues in the US, at the end of the Friday night service we say Kiddush, the blessing over the wine as we sanctify Shabbat. Technically, the prayer starts by thanking God for “the fruit of the vine,” and because there are minors present, as well as others who...

  • Temples in Time.

    By Dr. Afshine Emrani

    July 24, 2015 | 8:43 am

    It's Shabbat, before fast of Av.

    Iran Deal sizzles inside all Jews.
    German ovens’ stench, we sing the blues.
    Our temple remains shattered- atone .
    All in post traumatic mode, none alone.

    They say we control the world, its wealth,
    in small numbers win large prizes, stealth....

  • 3 more women file sexual assault complaints against Safed rabbi

    July 7, 2015 | 2:03 pm

    Three more Israeli women have filed complaints of sexual assault against a Safed rabbi.

    The new complaints filed Monday night bring the total to eight against the rabbi, who was arrested Thursday night at Ben Gurion Airport on his way to Brazil. The arrest was based on an...

  • Conversation drives community

    By Zev Hurwitz

    July 6, 2015 | 5:11 pm

    One of my favorite Torah lectures from my time in middle school at Maimonides Academy, (okay, the only one I remember) was where our principal delivered an address entitled “If Jews had a Christmas Tree.”

    The concept for a shiur on Christmas Trees in Judaism seems comical at...

  • Chief Rabbinate should have more inclusive outlook

    July 6, 2015 | 3:40 pm

    Rabbi Shlomo Riskin called on Israel’s Chief Rabbinate to dedicate itself to a more inclusive outlook on Israeli society.

    On Monday, in his first public remarks since the controversy over his tenure as chief rabbi of Efrat, Riskin said the Chief Rabbinate never attempted to reach...

  • Confessions of a Jewish Atheist

    By Mindy Leaf

    July 6, 2015 | 11:45 am

    We were seated at a round table at our local Jewish Community Center, awaiting our tax-dollar-funded senior meal, when the man at my left began a conversation (or, shall I say, confrontation). "You know, the first monotheist wasn't Jewish," he bellowed. "He was an Egyptian king who...

  • Local rabbis speak up about the drought

    July 1, 2015 | 1:29 pm

    The Catholic pope is not the only one seeing moral messages in the issue of climate change and in valuing the Earth’s natural resources. Many rabbis are teaching restraint, particularly in California, where the drought, currently in its fourth year, is causing civic leaders to...

  • In protest, Rabbi Avi Weiss quits Rabbinical Council of America

    June 29, 2015 | 2:34 pm

    Rabbi Avi Weiss is quitting the Rabbinical Council of America to protest its failure to admit as members rabbis whose sole ordination is from the rabbinical school he founded.

    The RCA, the main association of modern Orthodox rabbis in America, has yet to grant membership to...

  • Entering the Promised Land:  The Blessing and Curse of Memory.

    By Dr. Afshine Emrani

    June 25, 2015 | 12:15 pm

    You arrive at my office with your fiancé.  You have never traveled together.  You sit on a sofa and I turn off the lights.  The projector shows the two of you dining in Paris, climbing Everest, crossing the Nile, zip-lining in Africa, paragliding in Australia.  As you walk out,...

  • Boteach’s Attack on Jonathan Sacks:  More Ego, Less passion.

    By Dr. Afshine Emrani

    June 10, 2015 | 9:31 am

    Ben Zoma said: Who is wise? He who learns from all people, as it is said: 'From all those who taught me I gained understanding' (Psalms 119:99).

    I have never been a big fan of those who don’t doubt themselves, but a vulnerable letter to his daughter on her wedding in the pages of...

  • Rapper Ice Cube melts down, beats up rabbi

    May 28, 2015 | 4:24 pm

    Ice Cube has never had the most cordial relationship with the Jewish community. In 1991, the Simon Wiesenthal Center condemned his album “Death Certificate,” noting that many lyrics were racist and one of the songs called for the murder of a Jewish music industry figure. His song...

  • 300+ Rabbis Sign activist “Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis”:  Encouraged by Pope Francis

    By Rabbi Arthur Waskow

    May 14, 2015 | 8:08 am

    More than 300 rabbis have signed a Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis, calling for vigorous action to prevent worsening climate disruption, to seek eco-social justice, and to shape a world f shared sustainable abundance..

    We are delighted to share the news of this major and...

  • Ancient Torah Speaks to the Climate Crisis: From Eden to Manna to Sabbatical Year to Now

    By Rabbi Arthur Waskow

    April 28, 2015 | 9:29 am

    On the Shabbat of May 15-16, the Torah reading (Leviticus 25-27) sets forth the Torah’s most explicit and most powerful regimen for healing the Earth from human over-use.

    It is a regimen and rhythm of making sure the Earth gets to rest in every seventh year – a teaching that...

  • Pope Francis to bestow knighthood on New York rabbi

    April 22, 2015 | 11:00 am

    Pope Francis will confer papal knighthood on Rabbi Arthur Schneier of Manhattan’s Park East Synagogue.
    Schneier, the founder of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation and a Holocaust survivor, is being honored for his work promoting peace and mutual understanding, according to...

  • The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

    By Dr. Afshine Emrani

    April 3, 2015 | 8:04 am

    If I asked you to name the greatest love story ever told, you would likely mention Wuthering Heights, Anna Karenina, even Romeo and Juliet.  But, no!

    Those pale in comparison to ours.  A good story needs a damsel in distress, a knight in shining armor, and a theatrical ride into...

  • Cantor Rebekah Mirsky releases album ‘Who is Like You?’

    By Lia Mandelbaum

    March 25, 2015 | 8:11 am

    One of the greatest constants I have experienced is that music acts as an incredible bridge between the body and soul, and so it is of no surprise that music has played a major role in helping me to deepen my connection with Judaism.

    It is such a blessing when you come across a...

  • Purim: Joy vs. Oblivion

    By Beit T'shuvah

    March 2, 2015 | 10:07 am

    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...

  • 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...

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