When most people think of “France” and “Jews” together, past or current anti-Semitism comes to mind. That wasn’t our experience while vacationing in Brittany this summer, although we were just American tourists visiting for two weeks.
Fourteen days was, however, long enough for this American Jew to learn life lessons – Jewish life lessons even – from a country that prioritizes values of living over accomplishing.
In America, the Holy Grail is being successful: accumulating wealth, status, power, and, recently, thousands of Twitter followers. The path to achievement is...Read More
Jews of a certain age might share similar early impressions of Israel. In Chicago, where I grew up, the young congregants at Lawn Manor Hebrew Congregation were inculcated with a firm commitment to the Jewish state. We saved our dime tokens to plant our trees, circle-danced Israeli-style, and practiced rudimentary Hebrew conversation. During and after the 1967 war, the Chicago area Jewish community held multiple events to raise money for Israel. All were urged to support the young state by holding Israel Bond drives.
What follows are only a few of the new “Israel bonds” formed on...Read More
The "Royal Subjects" For the kings of Israel Are the laws of God
Write them, study them Do not feel superior Don't gather riches
The king ... shall not accumulate very much silver and gold. When [the king] is established on his royal throne, he must write a copy of this Torah ... and he shall read from it all the days of his life. He will then learn to be in awe of God and carefully keep every word of this Torah and these rules. He will then [also] not begin to feel superior to his brethren, and he will not stray from the...Read More
After completing six days of work on the heavens and the earth,
“and all the host of them...God finished His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it; because that in it He rested from all His work which God in creating had made” (Genesis 2:1-3).
This example set by God instructs us as Jews to observe and remember Shabbat - the day of rest - every week. We turn from the routines and responsibilities for...Read More
Every day is Labor Day. Jewish tradition expounds the importance of work and those who do it. Even God worked for six days and then rested on Shabbat. The Jewish vision of the messianic era is not an age of idleness, but rather one in which swords become plowshares. Ideals for fair and dignified treatment of workers, economic justice, and trafficking may be found in the resolutions of the Union for Reform Judaism and Central Conference of American Rabbis. The recent...Read More
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