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Rabbi Marc J. Rosenstein


[Hillel] used to say: If I am not for myself who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when? Mishnah Avot 1:14

When I was a principal in Jewish day schools in the U.S., it was not uncommon for schools to outsource the teaching of certain difficult topics to outside contractors; e.g., drugs, bullying, sex education.

I assume this is still the case.

I guess the logic is that these sensitive value-education topics require specialized training and methods, and can too easily be botched or ignored by “ordinary” teachers. I don’t know...

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View from Shorashim

…“community” stands for the kind of world which is not, regrettably, available to us – but which we would dearly wish to inhabit and which we hope to repossess….“Community” is nowadays another name for paradise lost – but one to which we dearly hope to return, and so we feverishly seek the roads that may bring us there.

Zygmunt Bauman, Community: Seeking Safety in an Insecure World

On a recent perfect early spring day (warm sun, cooling breeze, brilliant wild flowers) we took the children and grandchildren on a short hike to the mountainside adjacent to Shorashim,...

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wedding couple

"You intend that the religion of Israel will be an independent force, with which the government will have no involvement; therefore I will never agree to the separation of religion and state. I want the state to hold the religion in its hand!" (David Ben Gurion, as reported by Isaiah Leibovitz)

Recently, we attended still another wedding not conducted by a rabbi, but by a friend of the couple, or by a freelance “ceremony facilitator.” Although such ceremonies are not recognized by the population registry, and thus have no legal standing, the ways around this obstacle have gotten...

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hand painted like Palestinian flag and hand painted like Israeli flag getting ready to shake

I thought, “I will not mention Him, no more will I speak in His name,” but [His word] was like a raging fire in my heart, shut up in my bones; I could not hold it in, I was helpless. Jeremiah 20:9

Recently I attended the monthly meeting of the Council of Reform Rabbis in Israel (i.e., the Israeli CCAR, the professional association of North American Reform rabbis), where the main agenda item was the continuation of an ongoing discussion about whether individual rabbis – and the Council as a body – can or should take a public position regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict and...

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Masada at sunrise

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?

(Langston Hughes, “Harlem”)

Recently I began to volunteer once a week, assisting the English literature teacher in a nearby Arab high school. I’ve known the teacher, and the principal, for many years, through arranging encounters for their students with Jewish visitors, and this seems like a good way to stay in touch and involved. My first assignment was to present a background lesson to two 10th-grade classes studying a poem by Langston Hughes (“the poet laureate of Harlem...

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