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Christian Leaders Offer Prayers, Consolation after Kansas Shooting



Our friends from the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) offered their sympathy this week for those affected by Sunday’s deadly shootings at two Jewish communities in a suburb of Kansas City, KS. As you surely know, three people were killed by gunfire, including a grandfather and his 14-year-old grandson. […]

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The “Wicked” Child of the Pew Study



by Rabbi Danny Burkeman Pesach is coming, and at s’darim across the Jewish community we will once again label four children as wise, wicked, simple, and the one who does not know how to ask. I have always struggled with this part of the seder for two reasons. All of my work with young people […]

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Hard, Honest Questions



Will synagogues continue to exist in the future? Will the next generation engage in Jewish life? Is Reform Judaism still relevant? These hard, honest questions underlie the conversations we members of the URJ leadership team have every day with leaders and staff of Reform congregations.  Last week I was honored to be the ordination speaker […]

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Why I Love Being a Reform Jew



by Rabbi Henry Jay Karp In my first installment in this series, I spoke about the merger discussions between our congregation and the Tri City Jewish Center.  At that time I stated that since I addressed institutional reasons for why the resulting congregation should affiliate with the Reform movement in my answers to the Merger […]

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The Myth of Denominational Demise



by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, Ph.D. The world is filled with certainties that aren’t – like the myth that religious denominations are dead. We will eventually have three inchoate pools of people, it is said: Orthodox, “Other,” and Unaffiliated. Already Orthodoxy is less a denomination than a way of life rooted in halakhic observance, community […]

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Balancing Love of Country and Love of God



by Rabbi Eric Yoffie Originally posted in The Huffington Post I am a religious man who loves his country. I have always been an American patriot, but now, more than ever before, I feel a sense of shared destiny with my fellow citizens. My love of country is not a simple matter, of course. It […]

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Shutafim, Partners – Synagogues and Federations



by Larry Kaufman Arguably, over the last hundred years or so, the two most important institutions in American Jewish communities have been the synagogue(s) and the Jewish Federation. Today, just a few minutes in the Jewish blogosphere will lead to dozens of articles claiming that each is in crisis, and that both need to revision […]

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When Rosner is wrong



by Rabbi Eric YoffieOriginally published on The Jerusalem Post Jerusalem Post Blogger Shmuel Rosner has written a book about relations between American Jews and Israel. I have not yet seen the book, written in Hebrew and entitled “Shtetl, Bagel, Baseball,” but I have just seen an English excerpt that appeared in the Jerusalem Post on […]

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Israel and the American Jew



I always knew I would visit Israel.  I wasn’t sure when, but I knew I would get there. Growing up, Israel was a presence. The survival of the Jewish state, in ’67 and ’73, was something my parents spoke about with concern. My close friend Judy spent summers visiting family in Israel and sharing her […]

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The Religious Case for Less Civility and More Passion



by Rabbi Eric YoffieOriginally posted in The Huffington Post All this talk about civility is beginning to make me uncomfortable.Civility refers to courteous and polite behavior. But courteous andpolite behavior is not, in and of itself, a religious value. At times,it is to be subordinated to other, more important values. When instructing the prophet Isaiah […]

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Lady Gaga, Charlie Sheen and Moses: Celebrities and Heroes in American Life



by Rabbi Eric YoffieOriginally posted on The Huffington Post For most of the last century, Americans — and especially religiousAmericans — have been expressing concern about who is a hero inAmerica. Religious Americans today are particularly distressed aboutcelebrity culture and the inclination of their children to findsomething heroic in the antics of Lady Gaga or […]

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Americans and the Problem of Sin: Yom Kippur Reflections



by Rabbi Eric YoffieOriginally posted on The Huffington Post We Americans have trouble with the idea of sin. It makes us uncomfortable. It runs contrary to our innate optimism. In addition, the culture of American society discourages thoughtful contemplation of the meaning of sin. Popular literature and the psycho-babble of our talk shows explain everything […]

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American Jewish Congress, z”l



by Larry Kaufman The news on July 16th of the demise of the American Jewish Congress was accompanied by an excellent article in eJewish Philanthropy recounting the storied history of this once-important organization.  I’d like to add a few footnotes, covering things outside the scope of Jerome Chanes’s excellent article. AJC folded, even as it […]

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Where Are We on Christmas Day?



by Rabbi Jonathan BiatchTemple Beth El, Madison WIOriginally posted on Rabbi Jonathan’s Rabbinical Blog “Where are you on Christmas Day?” So asked Senator Lindsey Graham to Solicitor General Elana Kagan, candidate for associate justice of the United States Supreme Court this past week. Graham was about to launch into a “Q and A” about the […]

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