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Carmel College 

I have a childhood memory of a meeting in our London home at this time of the year, at the end of the month of Sivan, 70 years ago. My father, Kopul Rosen, the Principal Rabbi of the Federation of Synagogues in London, was preparing to open his brave experiment in Jewish education, Carmel College. He had established a charitable…

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Mysticism

“Mysticism,” so the saying goes, “starts in a mist and ends in a schism.” And mysticism has gained a very scurrilous reputation in all religions for misleading, abusing, and taking advantage of the credulous and superstitious, for money and indeed for sex (not to mention power and adulation). Yet it exists and thrives in every religion. Religions have two sides…

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Starbucks and Racism: Why Woke is Not

We now inhabit a new world of identity politics. It is not new, but different. There have always been identities of religion, nationality, and race. Too often they have led to war, genocide, and prejudice. Humanity has been divided between those who struggled to overcome the negative aspects of these differences without sacrificing that which distinguished them and others who…

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Judah HaLevi

Judah Halevi is one of my all-time favorite Jews. Born in Toledo, Spain in 1075, he had a traditional Torah and Talmudic education. He was also well versed in poetry, Arabic literature, the sciences, and philosophy. He was a physician of renown and active in Jewish communal affairs. He was humane, urbane, and one of the greatest Jewish poets since King…

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Wonderful Accidents

May 1948 and 1967 This past week we celebrated the declaration of Israel’s independence in 1948 and the return of the Old City of Jerusalem in 1967. In both cases the political leadership in Israel, tended towards caution. But it was the determined decisions of individuals with guts and a sense of what the moment required, that changed the course…

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Sephardim

I am always upset whenever I am forced to recognize that we Jews, few in number, are so divided into warring sects, denominations, traditions and ideologies. I guess it’s just a combination of human nature and historical experience. There’s one divide where the facts indicate that things are getting better. Through marriage and the nature of Israeli and Western society,…

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