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Rabbi Josh Weinberg

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Israeli and American flags blended into one image

From March 24-26, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the largest American Israel lobby, will convene in Washington, D.C., for its annual Policy Conference. This gathering comes at a particularly interesting and exciting moment: just two weeks before the Israeli general elections on April 9.  

AIPAC, which traditionally stays away from internal Israeli politics, last week made a bold statement by criticizing the current prime minister for his decision to reach out to Oztma Yehudit (Jewish Power), an extremist party, to encourage its leaders to run in the upcoming...

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Wooden sign pointing on two directions that read SIMPLE and COMPLICATED

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...

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View of Kotel and Dome of the Rock

This past Monday, the U.S. opened its embassy in Jerusalem. On that same fateful day, more than 60 Palestinians lost their lives on the border with Gaza. In response to these divergent events, people experienced a range of  emotions. 

This confusing, difficult day took place right before Jews around the world will gather to celebrate the festival of Shavuot. Although originally conceived of as a harvest holiday, after the destruction of the Temple, Shavuot transformed into a day celebrating the receiving of Torah at Sinai. We learn all night long to mark the centrality of Torah in...

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Israeli flag in front of Jerusalem stone at the Kotel

"Our feet stood inside your gates, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem built up, a city knit together." (Psalms 122)

There are few cities in the world that have their own special day. I’ve never heard of Paris Day or Rome Day, certainly not Chicago or Boston or Los Angeles Day. Yet, this Sunday we will celebrate Yom Yerushalayim – Jerusalem Day.

This holiday was first proclaimed on 28th of Iyar, 1968, the Hebrew date on which the divided city of Jerusalem became one. The theme of the holiday is that the reunification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War in 1967 accurately reflected the...

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Closeup of a Hillel sandwich of charoset and maror between two pieces of matzah

As Pesach approaches, Jews around the world are busy preparing for the chag (holiday). We are searching for chametz (leaven), sweeping, vacuuming, scrubbing — it’s Jewish spring cleaning. Like so many Jewish holidays, Pesach follows the Jewish trope of “They tried to kill us, we prevailed, let’s eat!”

One of the things we eat on Pesach is a "Hillel sandwich," which combines the bitter maror (bitter herbs) with the sweet charoset (apple and nut mixture) between two pieces of matzah. This symbolizes the need to take the good with the bad, to acknowledge the suffering alongside the...

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