By Julie Fisher, 6/19/2018
In June each year we mark World Refugee Day. Lately, it seems that all our days are refugee days.
According to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), we are living in a time with the greatest amount of displacement ever recorded. Newspaper headlines show the suffering of children being torn from their parents as they flee violence, seeking asylum in the United States. Refugees are a part of the global conversation and the human experience in almost every country on earth.
Here in Israel, where I currently live, I spend my days assisting the refugees who walked across... Read More
By Rabbi Josh Weinberg, 6/18/2018
Every argument that is for [the sake of] heaven's name, it is destined to endure. But if it is not for [the sake of] heaven's name -- it is not destined to endure. What is [an example of an argument] for [the sake of] heaven's name? The argument of Hillel and Shammai. What is [an example of an argument] not for [the sake of] heaven's name? The argument of Korach and all of his congregation (Pirke Avot 5:17).
In last week’s Torah portion, Parashat Korach, we read of a major argument within the Israelite tribe between Korach and Moses. In this fight, God makes a clear judgment... Read More
By Rabbi Noa Sattath, 6/12/2018
For the first time in Israel's history, a woman can apply for the position of Knesset Rabbi.
The primary job of Knesset Rabbi is supervising the kashrut of the Knesset's cafeterias and answering questions of halacha (Jewish law) as they arise. Until now, the position required a certificate of rabbinic ordination from the ultra-Orthodox Chief Rabbinate. The current rabbi is retiring in a few months, and the job was posted to find his replacement.
As always, the requirements included having received an ordination certificate from the Chief Rabbinate. Because women and progressive rabbis... Read More
By Rabbi Loren Sykes, 6/11/2018
Recently, I spent Shabbat at Kibbutz Tzuba which is nestled in the Judean Hills. Tzuba is also the home of URJ Heller High, where Reform Jewish students live and study during a semester in Israel. Established at the beginning of the state by veterans of the Palmach, the precursor to the Israel Defense Forces, Tzuba is a remarkably beautiful place that exudes the spirit of the classic kibbutz experience.
That morning, the students experienced something extraordinary that is far more common in Israel than most people know. We hiked from the hotel down to an ancient spring. We walked... Read More
By Steven Windmueller, Ph.D., 6/08/2018
As Israel observes the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem, this moment offers us a unique point of reflection. Over the course of this year, the Jewish world will observe the 120th celebration of the birth of the Zionist Movement, the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, and the 70th observance of the U.N. Partition Plan. These interlocking events have enabled us ultimately to rewrite the modern Jewish story.
Just as the saga of Jewish nation-building evolved over the course of the last century, the Western world began to move beyond its... Read More