We Didn't Land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock Landed on Us

Headshot of Rabbi Aryeh Cohen
by Rabbi Aryeh Cohen
posted on November 22, 2022
It is almost universally accepted today that the mythology of Thanksgiving has no relation to history. On the one hand, the story as it is performed, practiced, and retold in American grade schools and town squares has some notion that a band of New England “Indians” (who are universally never named) helped the Pilgrims through their first winter, and as a sign of gratitude and thanks, were invited to celebrate a Thanksgiving feast together after the harvest. Read more...

Sukkot and Sacred Spaces

Photo of Pinchas Giller
by Rabbi Pinchas Giller
posted on October 7, 2022
The abiding theme of Sukkot, in Kabbalah, is the consecration of sacred space. The various main systems of Kabbalah concur that Divinity flows into the world through the instrument of ten emanations, or sefirot, stages in the descent of God’s energy into the world. The upper three of these emanations are purely cerebral, the levels of Wisdom, Understanding and Consciousness (Chochmah, Binah, Da’at, acronym: Chabad). The lower seven sefirot deal with the way that Divine energy is expressed in the phenomenal world. Read more...

What Does It Mean to Forgive?

by Dr. Robert Wexler
posted on October 3, 2022
I have long been intrigued by the concept of “forgiveness” both in general and within the context of Yom Kippur.  What does it mean “to forgive” someone, and what does it mean “to be forgiven?” My interest in the mechanism of forgiveness was particularly stirred when I watched Stephen Frears’ film, Philomena (2013).  Although much-fictionalized, the film was based on an actual investigation conducted by journalist Martin Sixsmith who claimed that the Irish Catholic Church had forced unwed mothers in their care to give up their children for adoption. Read more...