Tag Archives: Who is a Jew

A House of Prayer for All People – Rosh Hashanah Day 1 5775

              In the Jewish tradition, each new year provides an opportunity to pause, reflect, and refocus. We consider the events of the year that has passed, celebrate our triumphs, and confront our failures. Looking … Continue reading

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Assimilation is Good for Jews

The Pew Research Center’s recently released “Portrait of Jewish Americans” set off alarm bells in the Jewish world over “assimilation.” The study implied that Jews are becoming less Jewish, that Judaism itself is becoming diluted by outside, secular culture, and that we … Continue reading

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A Place at the Table – 30 Days of Liberation, Day 22

There is a passage in the Haggadah (the textbook that maps out the proceedings of the Seder) describing a Seder 2000 years ago in Bnei Brak (near modern-day Tel Aviv). The attendees, who stayed up all night discussing the Exodus, … Continue reading

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Born Again Judaism – Parashat Tzav/Shabbat Hagadol 2012

This Shabbat, the Shabbat before the onset of Passover, is commonly referred to as “Shabbat Ha-Gadol.” Shabbat Ha-Gadol means “The Great or Big Sabbath,” and it is given this name because on this Shabbat we announce the impending arrival of … Continue reading

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Where Do You Belong? – Parashat Ki Va-Yak’hel/P’kudei 2012

One of the questions I always ask my conversion students is “If your future great-grandchild was here today and asked you why you chose to become Jewish, what would you say?”  I asked this to one of my students, Johnathan, … Continue reading

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Ultra-Orthodoxy and the Authenticity Question

Reprinted from: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/ultra-orthodox-fundamentalists-present-a-false-image-of-the-real-jew-1.406720#article_comments The recent clamor over Jewish fundamentalism in Israel calls for those of us who practice a consciously non-fundamentalist Judaism to state proudly and emphatically how we understand our religion, and why we believe what we believe. Jay … Continue reading

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The “Not Fully Jewish” Fiction

Reprinted from Haaretz.com: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jews-by-choice-are-members-of-the-tribe-too-1.381174 The validity of “Jews by Choice” is constantly under assault, as they encounter challenges to their Jewish status and legitimacy daily. This happens regardless of their level of commitment and observance, and as a result, many … Continue reading

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Being a Jewish Community Open to All Seekers – Parashat Va-Et’hanan 2011

From 2009 to 2011, I served as the rabbinic intern of the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program, the nation’s largest conversion program. Most of my students were non-Jews who were in relationships with Jews – boyfriends, girlfriends, fiancés, and spouses. … Continue reading

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In Israel, No Jew Should Be Left Behind

Reprinted from Haaretz.com (http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/rabbis-round-table/in-israel-no-jew-should-be-left-behind-1.375011) The question of what being Jewish means is one that has plagued our sages for centuries, eluding many contemporary scholars and spiritual leaders – myself included. Although it is tempting to claim that Jewishness is based … Continue reading

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