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Showing posts from 2014

What it Really Means to be Jewish

On Rosh HaShanah, I shared a message about the sacred purpose of the Jewish people:  we are here to find every kind of brokenness in this world and to repair it.  In every broken shard of life, there is a hidden spark of Divine light that we must find and return to its source in God’s oneness.  It’s up to us to take the initiative in overcoming hatred and judgment; it’s up to us, and not anyone else, to teach the world what it means that we are all one human family in the image of God.  In these times of so much violence and polarization--the violence, racism and outrage in Ferguson; the contempt-ridden polarization of left and right in so many political spheres, the missiles and tunnels of Hamas, the atrocities of ISIS, and the scourge of anti-Semitism around the globe--we, the Jewish people, must rise to our sacred purpose.  Why are we constantly beset by hatred and violence in our lives?  It actually all boils down to one root cause: it’s the propensity that lives in each of us to …

The One True Narrative of Israel

A few weeks ago, I was working with a bar mitzvah child as he prepared for his simchah.  At some point, we were discussing the terrible events that had been going on in Israel this summer.  After this talk, his mom pulled me aside and said to me, very simply, “It’s hard to be Jewish at this time.  It’s just so hard.”  I think she expressed a sentiment that we all feel as we enter this Jewish New Year.  It began with the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli boys, Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrach, and Gilad Shaar.  Next, some Jew, in retaliation, decided to murder a Palestinian boy, Muhammad Abu Khdeir.  And the terrible theme of this summer, along with the missiles and the world condemnation of Israel, was the murder of children and other innocents.  Hundreds of children in this conflict as a result of the Hamas policy to place the innocent in as much danger as possible and use the innocent as human shields knowing the power of these deaths and images to tear at our souls. Here at h…