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Rabbi Marc J. Rosenstein


Then Joseph said to his brothers and to his father's household…When Pharaoh summons you and asks, "What is your occupation?" You shall answer, "Your servants have been breeders of livestock from the start until now, both we and our fathers" - so that you may stay in the region of Goshen. For all shepherds are abhorrent to Egyptians.

-Genesis 46:31, 33-34

Four years ago I wrote here about a visit to the Bedouin village of Arab al-Naim, located a few miles from Shorashim; from the east side of our community we can see the village on the hillside across the Hilazon Valley....

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By its mere existence Judaism is a never silent protest against the assumption of the multitude that force is superior to truth.

-Leo Baeck, The Essence of Judaism

Rabbi Dr. Leo Baeck was one of the leading Reform rabbis in interwar Germany. He refused offers of emigration during the Nazi period, so as not to leave his "flock." He survived Theresienstadt and after the war became a professor at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. Meanwhile, one of his students, Rabbi Max Elk, emigrated to Israel in the late 30s and started a school in Haifa, which, after the war, became...

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Our rabbis taught: When Adam saw the days getting shorter, he said, "Woe is me, perhaps because of my sin, the world around me is being darkened and returning to chaos; this is my punishment from heaven!" So he began an eight day fast. But as he observed the winter solstice and noted the days getting longer, he said, "This is the world's course," and he observed an eight day festival. In the following year he appointed both as festivals.

-Mishnah, Tractate Avodah Zarah 8a

I attended public elementary school in the Midwest in the 1950s, and Reform religious school three...

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No one can bring us back from the deep dark pit; here the joy of victory and songs of praise are useless… Raise your eyes in hope, not through gun sights; sing a song for love and not for wars [originally - for victories]…. So sing only a song for peace, don't whisper a prayer - it is better to sing out loud and strong a song for peace… Don't say "the day will come;" bring the day!

-The Song for Peace: words by Yankele Rotblit, music by Yair Rosenblum

In 1969 (!) the Song for Peace was sung by a popular army entertainment troupe after the army censored one line (noted...

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Rabbi Joshua ben Perachya said: Make for yourself a teacher (rav), get yourself a study partner, and give every person the benefit of the doubt in judgment.

-Mishnah, Avot 1:6

Last week saw the opening of the new academic year in the Israel Rabbinical Program at Hebrew Union College (in Israel, while public schools open September 1, universities open a week after Simchat Torah). We welcomed six new students into year one.

Of the six, four come from Orthodox backgrounds; one from the Former Soviet Union, where he grew up in a family that was cut off from Judaism;...

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