I spent the last two weeks in a land named holy by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, seeking peace, understanding, wholeness. My travels took me through countless narratives, religious expressions, political stalemates, cultures, and the lives of people who reside at the center of all that is holy about this part of the world. This was [...]
On Saturday, I will depart for a two-week journey through the Holy Land of Israel/Palestine. As the days countdown, I am mindful of the very complex journey this will be for me and the other students and professors from my seminary. I decided to write this post not just to get out some of my [...]
The Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall claims that Women of the Wall “don’t come to worship, they come to demonstrate.” But what he chooses not to see is that separating worship from politics is a luxury reserved for powerful people with normative practices. If you’re a member of a group that’s “out,” accessing the same prayer sites, practices and rituals, in order to worship with the same level of respect and dignity as the “in” group necessarily becomes a political action.
In 1945, as Allied forces were closing in on him, Adolf Hitler took his own life. His death seemed to symbolize the end of the Nazi Empire. In recent times, there appears to be a Rise of the Evil Hitler represented. Through observing the motivations or pressures of Anders Breivik and other various crimes of Hate, we can come to one conclusion: we must do what Anders could not, Love Our Enemies.
Politicians say the darndest things. Of course, it’s never as cute as when kids say the darndest things. In fact, it’s usually downright awful. For example, on Sunday, Representative Todd Akin, who is running for the U.S. Senate in Missouri, was quoted as saying, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to [...]
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors’. Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder If I could put a notion in his head: ’Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it Where there are cows? But here there are no cows. Before I built a wall I’d ask to know What I [...]
I am in the process of articulating how I can be both Christian and Jewish without being a “Jew for Jesus.” Many people hail from a smattering of religious influences and heritages. The current model of religious identification has us choose one or none. But there has to be an intellectually credible, spiritually legitimate way [...]
More than one of my politically and religiously liberal friends, when I told them I was converting to Judaism, gave as one of their first responses, “What about Israel?”
Good question. What about Israel?
I’ve understood all along that committing to the Jewish people and tradition also included coming into relationship with Israel—but the history and the issues seemed so complex that I have been reluctant to say much, to anyone, about anything related to the “Jewish state.”
The period of Counting the Omer (we count 49 days from the second day of Passover to Shavuot) in which we currently find ourselves is a reminder of the road between redemption and revelation. It seems only fitting, then, that two of the most contentious days in our calendar occur in this period between Passover and Shavuot. Just as soon as we’ve put our matzah away and finished the last of the macaroons, Yom Ha Zikaron (Israeli Remembrance Day) and Yom Ha Atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) are just around the corner. For many North American Jewish communities, how to observe these days has become a topic of heated debate. We find ourselves on the same journey from freedom to revelation, but with very different ideas of how to get from the Sea to the Mountain.
Yehezkel Landau is a Faculty Associate in Interfaith Relations at Hartford Seminary. In June, 2002, I spent six days at a place that is holy for me: the Community of Grandchamp, a convent of Protestant nuns in Areuse, Switzerland. It may seem odd that a deeply committed Jew finds a Christian monastic community a sacred [...]