The terrorist insurrection at the Capitol shocked the nation. Donald Trump’s second impeachment not so much. The American Pharaoh was headed for disaster. His leadership stood in contrast to that of Moses.  Rabbi Shai Held spotlights Moses’ leadership strengths in The Heart of Torah: Essays on the Weekly Torah Portion: Genesis and Exodus, Volume 1 (2017).  In…

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For many Jews, it’s an embarrassment: inspiration for both anti-Semitism and self-questioning. I refer to Moses’ statement to the Israelites in this week’s Torah portion, Re’eh (See). The great teacher says, “. . . the Lordyour God chose you from among all other peoples on earth to be His treasured people” (Deut. 14:2). Many Jews and…

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’Tis the season when most Americans embrace Christmas. But not all. I have no intention of putting a damper on Christmas to explain the challenges this holiday presents American Jews. I’ll start, as in the recent past, with a comic strip—this time, “Luann” by Greg Evans. On November 29, Evans began a new storyline. A…

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People become attached to certain words. They—particularly slang words—can help someone display distinctiveness or demonstrate belonging to a group. Many decades have produced cool, dig it, boss, bitchin’, yo, wassup, Bart Simpson’s partee and the now widely accepted— and often-used F-word. For some years, I’ve been partial to grace and dignity. Now, I have a…

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Last Saturday, I led Torah Study at Congregation Sherith Israel. We read Vayelech—which means and (Moses) went. This short portion presents the prophet’s last address—one more warning to forswear false gods—before the Israelites cross the Jordan River into Canaan. He is 120. He is about to die. He will be left behind. I wondered how…

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