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Two Jewish Social Action Groups Join White House Faith-Based Forum

23 Tammuz 5772 – July 13, 2012
Leaders of two Jewish social action groups addressed a White House forum on faith-based social innovations. Shawn Landres, the founder of Jewish Jumpstart, and Jon...

Why the West Loves Lying to Itself About Islam

21 Tammuz 5772 – July 11, 2012
Muslim integration into Europe is going swimmingly, much like the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the Arab Spring. It’s going like a house on fire, not to mention a bus, a lot of cars and two towers on fire—on the other side of the Atlantic. Whatever problems there are, as with the peace process and the spring process, are undoubtedly the fault of someone who isn’t a Muslim.

The Power of Faith

20 Tammuz 5772 – July 9, 2012
The power of faith is unmatched; it can lift man above adversity and help him climb the highest of mountains. It can help him overcome pain and torture. It can make him see the light in a night that is inky in its darkness. The Gaon Rav Tzvi Hirsh Levin manifested such a faith when he was a starving and poverty-stricken rav in Halberstat.

Lollipops Don’t Fall From The Sky

16 Tammuz 5772 – July 5, 2012
Last week I published a letter from a thirty-eight year old single woman who lamented that despite her having become a ba’alas teshuvah, forsaking her secular life, committing to Torah and mitzvos, going to rabbis, receiving berachot – in short, doing all the “right” things – she has failed to find her bashert, her soul mate. She wondered where G-d was and what all her sacrifices were all about. She was angry at G-d and regarded all her efforts as having been for naught. “My joy in Judaism has disappeared,” she wrote. The following is my response.

Half of US Reform Rabbis Officiate at Intermarriages

14 Tammuz 5772 – July 4, 2012
While the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) does not have statistics on how many of its 2,000 Reform rabbis in North America officiate at intermarriages, when pressed, Rabbi Hara Person, director of CCAR Press, estimated "it's about half." A resolution proposed at CCAR's 2008 annual convention called for dropping the official opposition to intermarriages. The resolution was tabled but the practice is now commonplace.

The Cult of America

13 Tammuz 5772 – July 3, 2012
In my family alone, except for my brother, all of my cousins and second cousins married out of the faith – all of them. Finished. Kaput. The end of the line. After 5000 years of clinging to being Jewish, generation after generation, through times of harsh and often murderous oppression, the candle was snuffed out in the love boat of America.

Grounding Kings and Presidents

7 Tammuz 5772 – June 27, 2012
We can walk among presidents and kings all week, but it is only as we ground ourselves on Friday and enter the Sabbath do we approach the True King. These men who spoke have voice but no real power. They do not determine the present and future of Israel. As we entwine strands of dough, we are entwined with our land, our people, our faith and most of all, with God. It is this act, of preparing the challah and caring for our families that Jewish women have done for millennia.

Shoshana Bluth: A Supermom Hotline Of Emunah

2 Tammuz 5772 – June 21, 2012
Shoshana Bluth’s telephone number is a help hotline for mothers and wives of Israeli soldiers – a hotline of faith, emunah in Hebrew.

The Sin of the Spies – Perspective

26 Sivan 5772 – June 15, 2012
The message of the Biblical account of the Spies has tremendous relevance today, here in the modern State of Israel. With a nuclear threat from Iran, enemy states on its borders, the ever-constant fear of terrorism, and pressure from the International Community, Israel is not without its challenges. But it’s also the ‘Start Up Nation,’ with a healthy, growing economy when most of the world’s economies are failing.

Fearing Anti-Mormon Prejudice, Romney Plays Down His Religion

24 Sivan 5772 – June 13, 2012
WASHINGTON – Mitt Romney’s Lacrosse moment awaits him. The Democratic convention in Los Angeles was where Joe Lieberman made history as the first Jewish candidate on a major ticket on Aug. 17, 2000. But two days later, history came to life in Lacrosse, Wis., the little college town where Lieberman walked – and pointedly did not drive – to the local synagogue on his first post-nomination Shabbat.

Yad L’Achim Gets Missionary Ad Pulled from Israel Radio

16 Sivan 5772 – June 6, 2012
The ad claimed to offer a solution to emotional distress and offered to send a booklet to listeners who called in. The name of the booklet? "The Power to Change," with a subheading, "He changed me."Those who phoned in were asked to provide additional contact information and sent what turned out to be a missionary booklet that included Christian preaching urging faith in "that man."

The Revelation On Mount Sinai – A Strengthening In Faith Forever

4 Sivan 5772 – May 24, 2012
There is a tradition from the Vilna Gaon that Milchemes Gog and Magog at the time of Moshiach will last only 12 minutes. In that short amount of time 1/3 of the world will be destroyed, 1/3 severely wounded and 1/3 will survive. Until recently this was incomprehensible - how could such destruction happen so quickly?

My Son the Pioneer Jewish Doctor

24 Iyyar 5772 – May 16, 2012
While some religions place ultimate responsibility for healing in divine hands, “Jews don’t see a conflict between faith and medicine,” says Alan M. Kraut, a professor of history at American University who helped put together the exhibition “Trail of the Magic Bullet: The Jewish Encounter With Modern Medicine, 1860-1960,” on view at Yeshiva University Museum in Manhattan.

A Jewish Palimpsest In Maastricht, Netherlands

13 Iyyar 5772 – May 4, 2012
One of my favorite places when I was growing up in Boston was the used bookstore on Beacon and St. Mary’s streets. Boston Book Annex could play a used bookshop on television; it was dimly lit and cavernous, crawling with cats, and packed with a dizzying array of books, many of which sold three for a dollar. But used bookstores of this sort, however picturesque and inviting, are a relatively modern phenomena. In the Middle Ages, for example, I would never have been able to afford even a single used book unless I had been born into an aristocratic family. (Full disclosure, I was not.)

International Religious and Cultural Leaders Convene in Kiev for Interfaith Forum

8 Iyyar 5772 – April 30, 2012
‘Global Winds of Change’ Conference addresses role of religion in democracies and changing societies.

Marc Chagall At TEFAF Maastricht

28 Nisan 5772 – April 19, 2012
Jewish medals, several with Hebrew inscriptions and provocative imagery, were among the gems at The European Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht, Netherlands, as I wrote in these pages two weeks ago. Another mini-trend at the fair, which will interest Jewish art aficionados, was an abundance of works by Marc Chagall.

Moshe Feiglin: Afraid Of Their Own Message

27 Nisan 5772 – April 18, 2012
At the end of his column, “The Feiglin Bang” (published in Makor Rishon on March 23), editor Amnon Lord predicts one of two possibilities: Either I will lead the Likud with approximately 35 mandates or I will turn into the Uri Avnery (the radical leftist writer and media figure) of the Right.

My Own Hashgachah Pratis

Several weeks ago I started a series on hashgachah pratis, or Divine Providence. Every believing Jew knows that events do not just unfold randomly; the story I told of two brothers named Yaakov and Yedidya clearly testified to that reality in a contemporary setting.

God is Always There

24 Nisan 5772 – April 16, 2012
God is always there, waiting for you to stretch out your little pinky so that He can tug on it and engulf you in a never-ending warm hug.

The Heroines Of The Pesach Story

It’s fascinating to realize that the People of Israel growing into a mighty nation in Egypt was a reward for the heroism of the Hebrew midwives.

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