Posts Tagged: Rabbi Eric Yoffie
10 Years of Ten Minutes of Torah

Ten Years of Ten Minutes of Torah



When I announced the creation of the Ten Minutes of Torah project 10 years ago, I had two goals. The first was to reaffirm the simple fact that Torah study is the motor that drives Jewish life.  From my first days as President of the URJ, I had suggested that commitment to Reform Judaism—like commitment […]

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Rabbi Eric Yoffie

Getting Zionism Right



In a column for Jerusalem Post titled “Getting Zionism Right,” Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism, explains what he sees as the vital message of Zionism – and two major obstacles to reaching that goal. He begins, As I sat with my family and friends at our Passover sedarim this […]

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The Blessings and Dangers of Wooing Worshipers With Food



Religious leaders have long known that if you want to attract worshipers and increase your membership rolls, food can be a valuable tool. Christian services are often followed by coffee hours, and for Jews, Sabbath worship – on Friday night or Saturday morning – is generally followed by a Kiddush. For some in the Jewish […]

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What Thanksgiving Tells Us About America, Community, Loneliness, and God



Thanksgiving tells us a lot about America, about our yearning for community and connection, about loneliness and about God. Loneliness destroys us in the same way that bullets and poverty destroy us. It eats away at our spiritual wellbeing. It eviscerates our sense of wholeness. In fact, loneliness kills. “O chevruta, o mituta,” it says […]

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Shabbat is a Time to Unplug



Shabbat is a time to unplug. Otherwise, there will be no Shabbat. Many, many Reform Jews have had no Shabbat for a very long time. Even when we want to be attentive to the holy, we can’t seem to do it. In our sophisticated, highly educated community, the pace of our lives has long been […]

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Rabbi Eric Yoffie

Thank You, Rabbi Amar



My colleagues in the Reform Movement reacted harshly to the statement of Israeli Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar that on the High Holidays it would be better for a Jew to pray by himself or herself than with Reform Jews.I understand their furor, but my own response is actually the opposite: I would like to thank Rabbi […]

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Yom Kippur: The Battle of Sin v. Self



One morning last week, I spent some time reading through the traditional liturgy for Yom Kippur. The Yom Kippur prayers are so stark, jarring, and intensely powerful that I find it impossible to absorb them on Yom Kippur day if I have not prepared myself by studying them in advance. And even the advance study […]

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The Obligations of American Exceptionalism



I support outsourcing and offshoring. I applaud globalization and free trade. And I do so because of my moral convictions and religious beliefs, and my deep commitment to American exceptionalism. As the election season heats up, I am troubled by the moral confusion of those who discuss these policies. The Democrats, sensing advantage, generally attack […]

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Gun Control, Jewish Idealism, & Political Realities



In the aftermath of the recent shooting at an Aurora, CO, movie theater, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, rabbi emeritus of the URJ, writes in a recent op-ed in Haaretz called “U.S. Jews support gun control, but the political debate ignores it.” He wonders why both major U.S. political parties avoid the top of gun control – […]

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When You Shouldn’t Say What You Really Think About Other Faith Traditions



Some recent, angry exchanges between leaders of different religious traditions have led me to consider the principles that should guide us when reacting to disagreements with other faith groups. If I strongly disagree with a Christian or Muslim, I am free to say what I wish, of course, and there is an argument to be […]

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Jon Stewart Is Hilarious but No Teacher of Religion



In a much discussed article in the new online publication Religion & Politics Journal, New York Times religion reporter Mark Oppenheimer offers an enthusiastic endorsement of Jon Stewart’s coverage of religion on “The Daily Show,” which Stewart hosts on Comedy Central. “Jon Stewart may not be a believer,” writes Oppenheimer, “but he is one hell […]

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The Jewish State Needs to be More Jewish



Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. At times I worry whether enough is being done to maintain her democratic character, and at times I worry about whether or not we are preserving her Jewish soul. At the moment, it is the Jewish side of the equation that troubles me. This concern was brought on […]

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Rabbi Eric Yoffie

Why Obama and Romney Should Share Their Religious Beliefs



It is not likely that either President Obama or Gov. Romney will say much about their religious beliefs during the upcoming election campaign, and this is unfortunate. If they were to do so, it would be good for them and good for the American people. America is by far the most religious of the western, […]

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For Our Creative Survival: Liberal Zionists Speak Out



The following column is part of a series. For more, go to Liberal Zionists Speak Out. I am a Zionist. Zionism is the belief that the establishment of a Jewish and democratic state in the Land of Israel is essential for the creative survival of the Jewish people. Being a Zionist does not require that […]

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