General Topics

Adapting the Law

The Bible emerged in, and out of, a world that was predominantly agricultural. A world where seasons and produce determined how societies flourished or perished. Biblical stories such as that of Cain and Abel illustrated the rivalry of shepherds and farmers. Ranchers versus cowboys. The Tower of Babel was concerned with the complexities of new urban centers. As societies turned…

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The Yabloner Rebbe

Usually I write my own material. This time I am taking it from Pini Dunner, another British rabbi now living in the USA. His hobby is collecting Judaica and researching Jewish history. A while back he uncovered a remarkable story about a brilliant Hassidic Rebbe who ended up in California and abandoned his faith. It is on Youtube and was…

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Blood Libels

On March 22nd1144, in Norwich, England, Jews were first accused of killing a Christian child because, it was claimed, they needed its blood for the Four Cups of Wine at the Passover Seder. In Gloucester in 1168, in Bury St Edmonds in 1181, Bristol in 1183 and most notoriously in Lincoln in 1255, Jews died as the result of this…

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Masks

In Biblical Hebrew there is no word for face. The Bible uses the word Panim, which literally means, faces. It is an example, like Mayim, water, of a noun refers to a singular in English but sounds plural. It makes a lot of sense. We all have “faces.” The face we show to our parents, our children, our friends and our work…

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Martina Naratilova ​and transgender

Last week I allowed a careless error to evade my scrutiny when my blog accused the Jewish Week of being pro-Kahane. I had meant to say the Jewish Press. I must apologize unreservedly to the Jewish Week for the distress it will have caused its staff and readers. In my younger days, Martina Navratilova was considered one of the very best female tennis…

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Kahane

To me, the name Meir Kahane conjures up an aspect of the Jewish people that I deplore. A racist, violent strain of narrow-minded primitive Jewish jingoism. His coarse, brutish language ignited hatred. And to try to justify him as a proud, committed Jew only makes his poison even more dangerous and morally dangerous. To generalize and call any group of…

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