When Freedom of Religion is Under Attack

This past week, our nation watched as the Alabama senate passed, and its governor ratified, a highly restrictive law that effectively criminalizes abortion. Regardless of whether one is in favor of abortion or believes such procedures should be banned, the decision ought to stun anyone who cares about the rule of law.

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall

What a week. Last Saturday afternoon, I was basking in the late afternoon sun, seated on the stone wall in from of our flowering kale. What clouds were about were full of drama and dimension. It was a fitting way to recharge after the Yizkor memorial service earlier in the day. Commemorating those who are no longer with us is touching and deeply humanizing.

From Yizkor To Yizkor

What a week. Last Saturday afternoon, I was basking in the late afternoon sun, seated on the stone wall in from of our flowering kale. What clouds were about were full of drama and dimension. It was a fitting way to recharge after the Yizkor memorial service earlier in the day. Commemorating those who are no longer with us is touching and deeply humanizing.

Mitzvah Goreret Mitzvah

“Mitzvah goreret mitzvah” is a profound if commonplace phrase in the Jewish tradition. Literally, it means that one mitzvah, one good deed or commandment, pulls another one in its wake. While I sometimes insouciantly translate this phrase as “no good deed goes unpunished,” there’s a deeper reality at play, and one which is captured in an equally pithy statement that “skhar mitzvah mitzvah.” The reward for doing a mitzvah is either that action itself, or another mitzvah.

Twas the Night Before Pesach

We have just finished bedikat chametz in my home, the final search for any leavening on the evening before Passover. This is primarily a symbolic search—by the time it comes, people have already cleaned their homes as thoroughly as they can manage and in a manner that meets their own sense of piety. So the search is a way we come to grant ourselves approval for the preparations we have undertaken.

After the Israeli Elections

Three days ago, Israel voted. Speaking personally, I found the results of that national election both hopeful and discouraging. What was quite heartening was that in a very short period of time, Israel’s newest political party, Cahol v’Lavan (Blue and White—the colors of the Israeli flag) became a force to be reckoned with.

Antisemitism, Again

On March 8th in this column, an article appeared entitled, The Question of Anti-Semitisms. It was spurred by the hue and cry against some comments made by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar that many people found to be antisemitic.