During Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we cast our sins in to the desert, freeing ourselves from their oppressive burden, unshackling our hearts and minds so that we can begin the year anew. Six months later another new year arrives (Exodus 12:12). After a period of enslavement we find ourselves once again loosening our chains and opening our souls, ready to reencounter that which we cast away.
(This is Part 2 of a 3-part series. See Part 1 here.) AUTHORITY There is another hot issue in a discussion about religion and the Bible: the question of who has authority over the telling of a narrative? How about The Bible miniseries on The History Channel? It’s a very confident little piece, isn’t [...]
On a recent, overcast Thursday evening, I co-led a presentation in San Marcos, Texas, about creating a local, interfaith environmental network. I didn’t know what to expect; in retrospect, I guess I didn’t expect much. San Marcos is a small town compared to the other cities in which I’ve offered this presentation. I wondered whether [...]
This piece was originally published on The Daily Beast. The rash of hate crimes following the Boston Marathon bombings reminds us of the major challenges religious minorities face in this country. Last week a taxi passenger in Northern Virginia verbally and physically attacked his driver for being “a fucking Muslim.” The victim, Mohamed Salim, who [...]
In Parashat Emor (Leviticus 21-24), read this past week in synagogues around the world, we are introduced to the relatives for whom Kohanim (priests) are permitted to mourn, as well as a list of various classes of priests who, owing to a mum (blemish), are barred from performing the sacrificial service in the Mishkan (Leviticus [...]
This week, we are once again reading Parashat Kedoshim (Leviticus 19:1-20:27). Biblical scholars commonly refer to these two chapters of Leviticus as the holiness code due to the numerous interpersonal commandments (mitzvot) that are found within. These mitzvot form the foundation of Torah and are applicable to everyone. In addition to loving our neighbor as [...]
As a child growing up in Los Angeles, my friends and I were from all sorts of different backgrounds, religions, and traditions, and we accepted this diversity as normal and beautiful. We were fascinated by each other’s differences, and we loved and accepted each other as we were. Of course, I had no idea how [...]
My Christian friend LeeAnne got the conversation about Faithful Advocacy started by reflecting on a passage from the Gospel of John: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth…” (14:16-17a). In LeeAnne’s reflection, she explains that advocacy—“speaking up for the [...]
If there is one thing you would like to see change in your faith or ethical tradition over the next ten years, what would it be? What role would you want to play? The one thing I would most like to see change in Judaism over the next ten years is for Judaism to stop [...]
While the sums are larger and the stakes are higher in recent times, the fear that money corrupts those in power is an age-old issue. As far back as the Hebrew Bible those concerned with justice warned against the powerful and dangerous effects of money in politics.