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Sin? Not such a big deal.

Next week we will restart the annual Torah reading cycle and that always reminds me of Sin! Adam and Eve and all that. What an unpleasant word. What awful baggage. Many people do bad things. They sin. But I still find the English word to be very negative. I recoil from it. And I dislike the English word much more…

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Sucot and the World

Every Jewish festival has several different levels of significance. There are always personal, national, agricultural and universal themes. Rituals, laws and customs exist to reinforce the fact that ideas are all very well but we need actions to bring about change within ourselves and the world at large. As individuals we are responsible for how we react to our environment…

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Why do bad things happen?

 For thousands of years we have been asking why God lets bad things happen to good people and good things happen to very bad ones. On Yom Kipur we read the medieval poem Eyleh Ezkera which is a moving story of great rabbis tortured death for defending their faith against Rome and Christianity. Why did they suffer? All God can say, according…

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Remember

The occasion that we now call Rosh Hashana, is referred to in the Bible only as Zihron Teruah – the Day of Remembering with Sound. One is bound to ask: “remembering what? And what does the sound of the Shofar have to do with it?” The idea of remembering is repeated many times throughout the Torah. It figures prominently in three important specific…

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The Jews of Mashhad

History is going out of fashion. It is declining as a subject taught at universities. It is seen as irrelevant to the great surge of technology and finance and out of favor with the politics of “me” and “now”. People are reluctant to talk about the past for fear of raising issues such as imperialism, slavery, religious oppression and counter…

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Evolution

In a recent article, Yale University computer science professor, David Gelernter, said that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution has too many holes and is now too old to be a probable scientific theory. Gelernter, who the New York Times called a “rock star”, also argues that intelligent design (ID) is a genuine theory that cannot be dismissed by researchers with anti-religious sentiments. …

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