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
Censored Voices, winner of the 2015 Ophir Award (Israel’s Oscars) for best documentary, is based on previously suppressed taped audio recordings of Israeli soldiers – all kibbutzniks – recounting their experiences just days after returning from the battlefields of the June 1967 war.
Their stories are raw and unfiltered. There is no passage of time to soften their tribulations or alter their memories through the lens of patriotism or cynicism.
The film – which was released in the United States on Friday – features two...Read More
On November 14, May Peleg, a leader and activist in the Israeli LGBT community, took her own life at the age of 31.
Those, like me, who knew May personally, remember her for her tireless dedication to the LGBT community, for her political and social activism, and for her passion and energy. May was the first transgender chairperson of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance (JOH) and the owner of Jerusalem's only LGBT nightclub, the Mikveh.
The last time I saw her...Read More