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Showing posts from January, 2009

A New Presidency, A New Era for Judaism

President Obama, at his inauguration, articulated a critical message for our times when he called for a new era of personal responsibility in how we live our lives. In many ways, Obama’s presidency is deeply symbolic of a great spiritual shift in our society. We’re moving from expectations of easier times and self-fulfillment to expectations of challenge, and joining together to fix a broken world. It’s an era of learning from past mistakes, of affirming integrity and working together for a common good.
There is a great hope right now that the Obama era will be an era of service, of participation in national programs that engage people in all walks of life to give of themselves. It’s very possible that we’re on the brink of a galvanized society and culture, with large segments of our society helping the underprivileged and transforming the face of local communities. We can potentially emerge from economic crisis with deeper connections with our neighbors in true bonds of communi…

Finding Peace Even in the Midst of War

Since the war has broken out in Gaza, many people have come to me expressing their deep concerns and anxieties about this war and about Israel’s future. I have heard many expressions of confusion, ambivalence, anger and frustration : ‘There’s nothing good that can come of this war.’ ‘This is just another outbreak in the cycle of violence.’ ‘Once again, the world isn’t giving Israel a break when Israel has no choice but to make war where innocent civilians have been deliberately put in harm’s way.’ ‘How is this going to make things better in the long run?’ ‘Too many innocent people are getting killed in the cross-fire, whether deliberately put in harm’s way by Hamas or not.’ In all of these expressions, I’m finding, once again, Jewish people in this country angry and feeling a sense of being isolated and hopeless in the world. Time and again, people ask me, ‘Rabbi, what should we do?’
And here’s my answer. To every expression of dismay and frustration, of sadn…