Giving tzedakah is one way to achieve tikkun olam, or the Jewish obligation to repair what is broken and lacking in the world. Both affirm our responsibility to give a part of what we have to take care of others who are less fortunate. We do this because Judaism views individual wealth as neither a right nor a privilege but a form of stewardship for which we are charged to care for the world.
"Jesus Camp," a documentary about a summer program at which evangelical children are taught to "take back America for Christ."
Gafni was appointed to the Wisdom Chair at Stephen S. Wise two years ago -- despite anecdotal allegations that he had a history of sexual misconduct. The temple's senior rabbi this week issued a short statement denouncing Gafni.
Five brief pieces, on the following: Shalhevet School's recent winning streak, Camp Ramah's new solar panels, a five-day summer workshop that shows teachers how to use studying the holocaust to teach morality, an opportunity to serve abroad as part of the "Jewish Peace Corps," and a recent Prejudice Awareness Summit at the University of Judaism.
Are You watching, God?
Have You seen the innocent swept away?
Are You listening, God?
Have You heard their cries?
Be with them, God.
Be their strength and their comfort.
Let them know You are near.
Work through us, God.
Teach us to be Your messengers on earth.
Wake us up, God,
Show us how to help.
Use us, God, shine through us,
Inspire us to rebuild the ruins.
Open our hearts so we can comfort the mourning.
Open our arms so we can extend our hands to those in need.
Shake us out of our complacency, God.
Be our guide,
Transform our helplessness into action,
Our generous intentions into charity,
Turn the prayers of our souls into acts of kindness and compassion.
Linguists have predicted that within 100 years, more than half of the 6,000 languages that exist today will disappear.
For a long time, it's looked as though Yiddish was among those bound for extinction, but scholars and Yiddish speakers, as well as some Jews who remember their parents speaking Yiddish, have never given up on the language.
And now there's a better chance that a new generation of Jews will understand Yiddish and the Jewish culture it embodies. This fall, three local Jewish day schools will offer their middle and high school students classes in Yiddish, the language spoken for 1,000 years by Ashkenazi Jews of eastern and central Europe.
The three schools represent a spectrum of Jewish education and geography in Los Angeles: New Community Jewish High School in the west San Fernando Valley is non-denominational, Shalhevet School in the Fairfax district is Orthodox and Sinai Akiba Academy in West Los Angeles is Conservative.
In Parshat Ki Tisa, each Israelite is instructed to give a half-shekel to the "temple fund" every year. There is a midrash – a story told by rabbis to teach a lesson – about this portion.
The Midrash on this Torah portion contains a fascinating note.
Jews have always used humor to get themselves through difficult times.
The midrash in the Yalkut Shimoni uses this insight to provide a beautiful homily. The midrash points out that the one who flees from positions of honor and authority, achieves honor and authority.
Everything teaches something. Here are five ways to help your children develop an ethical-action consciousness in their everyday lives.
Yossi Mizrachi stood in front of a class of second-graders at Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy with a dark, ridged, 4-foot-long buffalo horn in his hand.
We are standing before God and God is standing before us -- especially during this particular time, when certain fundamental liberties are being denied individuals and when justice is being withheld from specific groups -- all in the name of "homeland security."
Lag B'Omer, the 33rd day of the counting of the days between Pesach and Shavuot, will be celebrated on May 20.
There is a lot of teaching going on in Parshat Emor.
One of the purposes of the Passover seder is to teach our children the story of how the Jewish people came to be. Passover is a history lesson taught not by impersonal teachers in a sterile classroom, but by our families seated around the dining room table. When done correctly, the Passover seder should instill a sense of pride. Because with knowing who we are, we should feel proud to be Jews.
Passover commemorates the departure of the Jewish people from Egypt some 3,000 years ago and marks the birth of a nation. This is as much a celebration of our spiritual freedom as it is a jubilation of our physical liberation from slavery.
Not long ago, Jeffrey Gold disappeared from Los Angeles' art scene."I just buried myself in my work," said the 45-year-old artist. "I didn't let people see the work. I was kind of struggling."
Most of my background -- childhood in Santa Monica, high school at Harvard-Westlake, classics degree from Harvard University -- reinforced certain principles: tolerance, the equal value of all cultures, the idea that sympathy, discussion and negotiation can solve most grievances and that force should rarely be used.
About 60 people, mainly women, listen intently to Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg as she teaches her class on the weekly Torah portion at the Jerusalem College for Adult Education.
University students sit next to retirees, young mothers and professionals as Zornberg discusses Exodus and what is meant by the Jews having left Egypt b'hipazon (hastily).
She calls upon the traditional commentaries -- midrash and Rashi. But her signature is also mixing in heavy doses of original interpretations, pulled from the secular disciplines of psychology, philosophy and English literature. Zornberg contrasts the closed, self-contained Egyptian pharaoh, who could not admit to human needs, to the human trait that allows for doubts, passions and limitations.