Dialogue, deeds, and (not) averting disaster

Headshot of Gail Labovitz
by Rabbi Gail Labovitz, PhD
posted on July 26, 2023
For those participating in the project known as Daf Yomi – the daily study of a two-sided page of the Babylonian Talmud, meant to take one through the entire work in seven and a half years – we are currently just about half way through the current cycle, in the midst of Gittin, the talmudic tractate about divorce law. But in the digressive way of the Talmud, Gittin also contains one of the most sustained rabbinic narratives, or series of narratives more or less stitched together, on the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 c.e. Read more...

This Year We Should Pay More Attention to the Signs

Headshot of Rabbi Aryeh Cohen
by Rabbi Aryeh Cohen
posted on July 6, 2023
The fast of the seventeenth of Tammuz is like Salieri to the ninth of Av’s Mozart—overshadowed by the fast that commemorates the destruction of both first and second Temples (Mishnah Ta’anit 4:6) and therefore overlooked in contemporary Jewish culture. Jews will still be going hungry on the lesser dawn-till-dark fast. The seventeenth still memorializes the day that Moses came down from Mt. Sinai, saw the lascivious feasting and dancing around the Golden Calf and broke the tablets that had just been given him by God. Read more...

Expressing Freedom With Higher Authority

by Rabbi Cheryl Peretz
posted on July 3, 2023
For years, July 4th was an annual reunion as my extended family gathered poolside to enjoy good food and relaxing celebration leading to evenings of magnificent sounds and colors of fireworks.  Family trips were scheduled with anticipation of seeing relatives and frolicking together.  Still, I am keenly aware this day was not always marked with such frivolity or individual vacation-like activities. Read more...

Juneteenth: To Birth the Nation Anew

Rabbi Bradley Artson
by Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
posted on June 19, 2023
There are holidays and festivals that celebrate an event or a value of timeless and objective worth, and then there are some that mark a transition away from something shameful that should never have existed in the first place. Felt by its participants as a great deliverance, the holiday nevertheless remains awkward because it shouldn’t have been necessary at all. Read more...

The Meanings of Fatherhood in our Time

Headshot of Elliot Dorff
by Rabbi Elliot Dorff, PhD
posted on June 18, 2023
In the Torah, we are commanded to honor our father and mother (Ex. 20:12) and respect them (Lev. 19:3), but it is only later, in a second-century source recorded in the Talmud, that we get a sense of how the Jewish tradition construes fathers’ duties to their children: Read more...