Rabbi Michael G. Holzman

Rabbi Michael Holzman is the spiritual leader of the Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation and the founder of the Rebuilding Democracy Project, winner of the 2019 Lippman Kanfer Prize for Applied Jewish Wisdom. Rabbi Holzman has partnered with a variety of organizations like the Aspen Institute, Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement and the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America to examine the intersection of faith and democracy. Currently, he is working with Rabbi Rachel Schmelkin, director of Rabbinic Outreach at the One America Movement, to spread ideas and techniques to combat toxic polarization in American democracy. For more information, please contact Rabbi Holzman or Rabbi Schmelkin at rebuildingdemocracy@nvhcreston.org.

What Happens When We Just See What We Want to See?

D'Var Torah By: Joseph A. Skloot

On July 2, 2014, the prestigious science journal Nature retracted two heralded papers in the field of stem cell research, papers it had published only a few months earlier. The articles described a revolutionary process called STAP, where biologists subjected mature adult cells to physical stresses and transformed them into stem cells. Yet, in the editorial announcing the papers' retraction, Nature's editors reported that the "data that were an essential part of the authors' claims had been misrepresented" and that the authors' work was marred by "sloppiness" and "selection bias" ("Editorial: STAP retracted," Nature, vol. 511, no. 7507, July 2, 2014). All told, as the journalist Dana Goodyear has written, "a far-reaching and sensational conjecture" was "defeated by flaws that were at best irreparable and at worst unconscionable" ("The Stress Test," The New Yorker, February 29, 2016, pp. 46-57).