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Rabbi Marc J. Rosenstein


Zion Gate sign in English, Arabic, and Hebrew

…And the Eternal One said, “Look – these are all one people with one language, and this is just the beginning of their doings; now no scheme of theirs will be beyond their reach! Let us go down there and confuse their speech, so that no one understands what the other is saying.”

Genesis 11:6-7

Recently I took the train down to Tel Aviv to attend a conference on the place of the Arabic language in Israeli culture and society. The topics of the lectures sounded interesting, addressing a number of questions that I had been thinking about for years, living here in the Galilee...

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Books with Hebrew text

All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. Long before now, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led Israel in war; and the Lord said to you: ‘You shall shepherd My people Israel; you shall be ruler of Israel.’”  All the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a pact with them in Hebron before the Lord. And they anointed David king over Israel.

II Samuel 5:1-3

I have been a member, this semester, of the staff of facilitators of two local adult study groups operating in the context of a very...

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Rabbi Abba said in the name of Samuel: For three years the School of Shammai and the School of Hillel disagreed, these saying, “The law is according to us,” and the others saying, “The law is according to us.”  A heavenly voice proclaimed: “Both are the words of the living God, but the law is according to the School of Hillel.”  But if both are the words of the living God, why was the law determined according to the School of Hillel?  Because they were moderate and humble, and taught both their own view and the view of the School of Shammai – and even taught the view of the School of...

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We will still return to an ancient melody And the song will be beautiful and sweet…

- Ancient Melody, a 1950s popular classic Israeli folkdance by Michael Kashtun  

Recently we attended a sold-out performance at the Karmiel Theater of Um Kulthum, a dramatization of the life and career of the Egyptian super-star of that name, who died in 1975.

The actress who played the lead, Galit Giat, performed in the course of the evening all of Um Kulthum’s greatest hits, in a manner that sounded impressively authentic (to our uneducated ears). We loved the show, and enjoyed...

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Two were walking on the way; one had a canteen of water; if they share the water, they will both die [before reaching a source of water]; if one drinks all the water, he will survive. Ben Petura taught: Let them both die, so that neither will see the death of his comrade. Then came Rabbi Akiba and taught: “…that your brother may live with you” [Leviticus 25:36] meaning that your life takes precedence over your brother’s.

-Bab. Talmud, Baba Metzia 62a

In considering the place of Israel in the global refugee crisis, I suggest we try to set aside the often strident rhetoric...

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