The walls surrounding Jerusalem’s Old City are lit up at night, a stunning view for locals and tourists alike. As couples sit on park benches overlooking the scene, some close for warmth and others more distant for modesty’s sake, it is easy to forget the arguments that surround this place. Past the external walls and down some winding streets sits another wall, one far more controversial.
The Western Wall, also called the Kotel, stands as one of the last remaining pieces of The Second Temple, the ancient center of Jewish ritual and communal life. Those stones have seen more...Read More
With the High Holidays approaching, Jewish websites and blogs are filled with festive recipes: pomegranate glazed chicken, sweet apple kugel, sticky honey cake. I salivate over the beautiful pictures while mentally preparing a shopping list that I already know I will edit a dozen times over. It is tempting for many of my colleagues and study partners to treat these recipes as fluff pieces, “clickbait” that crowds out more serious Torah learning and cheapens the central ikar, or meaning, of the holidays. Though perhaps unintended, this view undermines the experience of those of us new to...Read More
As I skimmed headlines on the Israel new sites I check daily, I saw many of the same topics that have filled this space for the past few weeks. I ran through the list in my head: Kotel? Check. Conversion bill? Check. Blacklist of Diaspora rabbis? Check.
Opposition to gay adoption?! My stomach dropped.
I am immediately pulled back to the summer of 2015, tears streaming down my face as news returns of the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage in the US. I think of close friends in same-sex relationships posting pictures of the day they brought new bundles of joy back...Read More
My Facebook feed has been inundated in recent weeks with articles, videos, and angry rants addressing the obstacles to religious freedom in Israel. Friends across denominations are voicing strong opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s capitulation to the demands of an illiberal minority. From the Kotel crisis to the conversion bill to the blacklist of certain Diaspora rabbis, our blood pressure is rising. After long negotiations with the ruling coalition, its calculating and cowardly head decided to trade away our rights to save his hide.
Let’s examine for a moment,...Read More
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