Dinah is avenged Jacob says it's a shande* Brothers disagree It's a story not often told in Sunday school. Jacob and Leah's daughter Dinah is defiled by Shechem (Genesis 34:2), who then says he loves her and wants to take her as his wife (34:4) Despite their father's silence, Jacob's sons are angry about this "outrage." (34:5-7). Shechem's father Hamor brings his son's request to Jacob, suggesting a sort of "merger through intermarriage" (my words, not the text) of two communities, and offering to "pay whatever... Read More
To prepare for the High Holidays this year, I did what any rabbi would do: I went undercover as an Uber driver.
Uber, a ride-sharing app that links passengers with drivers, is changing the way we get from point A to B. Drivers make $2.40 per ride to start, plus 10 cents per mile after that. What better way to leave the comfort of home and get some unique perspective?
Reading the drivers’ forum, I totally empathized with the Uber driver who posted this message:
“It's odd that sitting in an air conditioned car would be so draining,...Read More
One day in late November a few years ago I ran into a congregant in the hallway of the temple. She wished me a Happy Thanksgiving. Then she said: “Oh wait a minute. I didn’t mean to offend you. Do you celebrate Thanksgiving?” I replied: “Of course! Jews celebrate Thanksgiving.” She laughed, a little embarrassed, and I wished her a Happy Thanksgiving too.
There are strong historical connections between Judaism and Thanksgiving. Most of the Pilgrims who celebrated the first Thanksgiving were Puritans, a branch of the Protestant faith. The Puritans strongly identified with the...Read More
During the current Hebrew month of Kislev (November and December), we will celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, and Diwali, a Hindu festival of lights, together here in southern Israel.
At this darkest time of year, as the days get shorter and the nights longer, a gloom settles upon us. Ancient peoples created a mythical monster who swallowed the sun earlier every day to explain the darkness, which caused great fear and uncertainty, forcing the people to pose this difficult question: Can we say for certain that the sun will rise tomorrow morning?
As our own cycle of violence and...Read More
I recently had the privilege of preaching at a church in Neumünster, Germany, named after the great Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Bonhoeffer was a brilliant student who turned away from a promising career as a professor of theology to instead live the teachings of Jesus’ life among everyday people as a pastor. He actively opposed Hitler even before he took office and through all 12 years of his reign.
Opportunities to escape Hitler came to Bonhoeffer from prestigious institutions in New York and London, but like Moses at the Burning Bush, Bonhoeffer could not...Read More