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Hagar

Since I wrote about Abraham last week, it seems only right in this era of #MeToo, that I should write about a woman, Hagar. She too is far more complex and multi-faceted than a surface reading of the text would suggest. Like the Handmaiden in the book by Margaret Atwood (and the TV series), Hagar was caught up in a…

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Abraham: A Man for all Seasons.

Abraham is revered by the major monotheistic religions. In Judaism, what he went through is constantly being re-examined to provide us with an example we should follow. Ma’aseh Avot Siman LeBanim. The acts of the fathers are guides for the children. This is why I am fascinated by the contradictions and inconsistencies in Abraham’s life and character. He reaches the…

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Billy Rose

 Who was Billy Rose? If you have visited the museum complex in Jerusalem, not far from the Knesset, you will be familiar with the Billy Rose sculpture garden. Designed by the renowned American Japanese artist Isamu Noguchi. Surrounded by the Judean hills, it lies in between the Israel Museum and the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls…

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Bible Stories

At this time of the year, we re-read the early chapters of Genesis with their fantastic tales of creation and early humanity struggling to cope with life and divine Authority. And every year I re-visit the issue of whether one should take these stories literally. Because that is what I get asked by so many who grapple with tradition and…

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Yuval Harari and Religion

I have always enjoyed reading books that challenge my preconceptions. Whether it was Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, Hitchens, Pinker, or all the other atheists who rubbished religion, I read them with interest, to see if they could challenge my faith or get me to reassess my arguments. They rarely did, because the straw man of religion that they set up to…

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Genesis and Marshmallow

I was reminded of the famous Marshmallow Experiment last week when I read that Dr. Walter Mischel had died on September 12th at the age of 88. When he was a professor at Stanford, he carried out an experiment on children that became one of the most influential psychological tests, even though over time it has been challenged for its…

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