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Rabbi Marc J. Rosenstein


Scene of Jerusalem with a lot of buildings made from Jerusalem stone

Life is very short, and there's no time For fussing and fighting, my friend. I have always thought that it's a crime, So I will ask you once again.

Try to see it my way, Only time will tell if I am right or I am wrong. While you see it your way There's a chance that we may fall apart before too long.

We can work it out…

-The Beatles

July 18 was a rough day for liberal Zionists.

At 3 a.m. the Knesset (Israeli’s parliament) passed, by a slim majority, the “Nation-State” law. Defined as a “basic law” (with constitutional status), this law cancelled...

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Highway traffic as seen from the driver's seat

Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support them staying together, for their possessions were so great that they could not remain together. And there was quarreling between the herdsmen of Abram’s cattle and those of Lot’s cattle.  - Genesis 13:5-7

On Independence Day, unwilling to face hours in traffic driving to a nature reserve; the crowds packing the trails and picnic areas; and the mounds of garbage; Tami and I opted for a local hike, on Mt. Gilon, which overlooks our home in Shorashim. There is a three-hour trail that...

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Walkway and benches at Moshav Shorashim in the Galilee region of northern Israel

A Note from Rabbi Rick Jacobs: For nearly two decades, the Union for Reform Judaism has been privileged to offer readers Rabbi Marc Rosenstein’s Reform reflections on life in the Galilee, Israel-Diaspora relations, and more. As part of his move into full retirement, Rabbi Rosenstein is stepping down as one of our writers and this is his last regular contribution to, although he may, if he is inclined to do so, write occasionally in the future. We are extremely grateful for the hundreds of engaging, thought-provoking essays he has shared with us and we look forward to...

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Bride and groom forming heart with their hands

Thus said the Lord: Again there shall be heard in this place…the sound of mirth and gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and bride… Jeremiah 33:10-11

A major manifestation of the problematic nature of religion-state relations in Israel has always been the matter of marriage. The law of the land is that matters of marriage and divorce are wholly under the jurisdiction of the recognized religious communities.  For Jews, this means the officially sanctioned Orthodox chief rabbinate and its representatives. 

Thus, a wedding performed by a Reform or Conservative rabbi is not...

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Sign along roadway that says Shorashim (name of Israeli town in the north)

God has told you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do justice, and to love goodness, and to walk modestly with your God… - Micah 6:8

In a recent discussion at the “tradition” committee of Shorashim's strategic planning process, detailed in this blog post, the topic was if and how to articulate norms of behavior that would express the “traditional” (masorti) identity of the community. When people ask, the usual answer has always been that at Shorashim, there is an unwritten tradition of respecting Shabbat in the public sphere: no communal activities...

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