We are all familiar with the tragic details of the mass murder at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last week in Charleston, South Carolina. Dylann Roof murdered nine people at a Bible-study class in what was clearly a racially-motivated attack. Within 48 hours, family members of the victims had expressed forgiveness for their killer.
I saw a question posed recently online. I didn’t answer it there, nor did I hang around long enough to read others’ responses, but I’d like to address it here. The writer was troubled by what he saw as a contradiction. Rav Aharon Lichtenstein ztz”l passed away recently and the obituaries described him simultaneously as
We may be jaded and we may be cynical but the sad reality is that we don’t expect that our political leaders are going to tell the truth. “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” “Read my lips, no new taxes.” “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” “I am
There’s been a lot of buzz about the ultra-Orthodox Israeli newspaper HaMevaser photoshopping the women leaders out of a photograph of the unity march in Paris. People have had a number of reactions, largely informed by their already-existing positions on matters ranging from sexism to anti-Semitism. I’m going to share my personal reflections on these
A certain individual recently posted a controversial article in which he argued against something that is essentially a universally-accepted principle of Judaism. A number of others responded, calling him out on it. Those readers who might have been misled by the original article were thereby informed as to that author’s misstatements. Those who were inclined to stand by
Language is a funny thing. Words that were once acceptable take on new shades of meaning and are replaced with new terms. These intended euphemisms may in turn acquire their own negative connotations and they will then be replaced with still newer terms. An inoffensive example: what was once called a boneyard became a graveyard.
Bill Cosby is in serious trouble. Rape allegations have dogged him for years and they’ve finally caught up with him. The last few times such allegations popped up, they quickly went away. This is in part because Cosby is so loved. People couldn’t bear the thought of toppling America’s foremost father figure from his hard-won
Everyone knows we’re not allowed to kill, right? After all, it’s one of the “Big Ten” commandments. Not exactly. What we’re not allowed to do is murder. Sometimes we actually have to kill. For example, if a violent person is pursuing an innocent victim with the intention of murdering him, we’re supposed to kill the
I wasn’t going to talk about Rabbi Barry Freundel. I really wasn’t. When I have occasion to reference a news story within the community, I tend to obscure the names of the involved parties because I find it unseemly to air our dirty laundry in public. When I do reference a current event, I give
There is a custom, before Yom Kippur, to swing a live chicken over one’s head while reciting a brief text. The chicken is slaughtered and given to the needy. This is called “kapparos” (atonements). Not everyone does this. Many people – including yours truly – perform the ceremony using cash, which is then donated to