Author Archives: mjknopf

Witness and Lament: Remarks at Solidarity Tisha B’Av

Temple Beth-El, Richmond, Virginia, July 22, 2018 כָּל֨וּ בַדְּמָע֤וֹת עֵינַי֙ חֳמַרְמְר֣וּ מֵעַ֔י “My eyes are spent with tears, my heart is in tumult.” These are the words of the biblical book of Lamentations, traditionally believed to have been authored by … Continue reading

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The World is Yours, But it Doesn’t Belong to You

On June 14, 2018, I was honored to speak to the graduating class of Maggie Walker Governor’s School at their Baccalaureate ceremony. Here’s what I said: Class of 2018, Let me begin by expressing my gratitude for having been invited … Continue reading

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What’s Driving Jews Away From Synagogues? Not Dues, but ‘Membership’

It is no secret that the traditional synagogue model is showing signs of age: Over the past two decades, membership has declined across the United States, forcing many synagogues to merge and even to close for good. There has been … Continue reading

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Haspel nomination reignites torture debate

On 9/11, I was a brand-new college student living in New York City for the first time. In the aftermath of that day’s tragic events, I, like other Americans, was consumed with fear and anger. But then, as the War … Continue reading

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A Powerful Conversation at Governor Northam’s Interfaith Passover Seder

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with Gov. Ralph Northam and a small, interfaith group of religious leaders for a Passover seder at the Executive Mansion in Richmond. Passover is the Jewish holiday commemorating the biblical … Continue reading

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30 Days of Liberation 2018

The Talmud teaches that, during the 30 days before Passover, we should learn about matters related to the holiday. In that spirit, I composed a brief message for each of the previous 30 days, drawing from the wisdom Passover imparts. … Continue reading

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In The Face of Injustice, ‘Neutrality Is Not a Morally Acceptable Option’

Passover, the Jewish holiday commemorating the enslavement and liberation of the Children of Israel from Egypt, is right around the corner. In just a few days, Jews everywhere will gather not only to recall the story of the Exodus but … Continue reading

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