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Passover or Passunder?

Pesah was always intended to be a challenge – To our way of life and our values. Egypt, the most advanced civilization of its time, was being challenged by a single man with a different way of looking at things. Akhenaten (1336 BC or 1334 BC) tried to replace the multiplicity of Egyptian gods with one Sun god. His revolution did…

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A Walk in the Park

This past Shabbat, I went for a walk around Central Park. It was a beautiful day. The air was cool and fresh.  The sun was out and I was feeling good. I was careful to observe the statutory social distancing from everyone else and chose paths that were not busy. The cherry trees were in blossom. The magnolias were heavy with…

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The Economist

I think there’s been enough written about the virus crisis. Here is something less serious, to relieve the tension. I read The Economist religiously every week. Its coverage of world affairs in a concise and readable form, combined with its cultural, scientific and review articles, are the best way to keep up to date with what’s going on. I don’t always agree…

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Eating an Idol

Eating, plays a very important part in Jewish rituals, every day of the year. Once upon a time, eating sacrifices in the Temple was the centerpiece of Jewish communal life. It hasn’t been that way for two thousand years. The table at home has replaced the altar. Every meal has become a spiritual act of worship (in theory if not…

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Poor Him

Purim. Poor Him. But “poor” who? Ahasuerus the drunken incompetent sop of a passive king? Vashti the deposed queen? Perhaps all the virgins corralled into the king’s harem? Esther, the Metoo# nice Jewish girl who had to sleep with the king and face the chance that if she failed to please him she would be denied the starring role and…

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Vilem Flusser

I met the Jewish Czech philosopher, Vilem Flusser, at a conference on Contemporary Judaism and Zionism convened by Chief Rabbi Immanuel Jackobovits in London in 1980. He stood out in a gathering of rabbis and academics. Despite the differences in our backgrounds, age, and religious commitment, I felt a very strong bond with him.  His eyes sparkled with delight in challenging…

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