JACOB, ESAU AND THANKSGIVING

For Jews, Yom Kippur—the Day of Atonement—is two months past. But Thanksgiving is days off, and all Americans might bear in mind a story from Torah that suggests we pay attention to atonement daily. Jacob, the younger twin of Isaac and Rebecca, purchases his brother Esau’s birthright for a bowl of lentil stew. Deduct points…

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MY LLAMAS

There’s so much to write about, I had difficulty deciding on a topic. So I settled on something seemingly absurd but quite profound. No, not the House’s impeachment inquiry (now, associates of Rudy Giuliani have been arrested). Or Trump’s throwing the Syrian Kurds under the bus—abandoning allies who helped dismantle ISIS’ “caliphate” and leaving Turkey…

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JONAH AND JONES

Harvard University recently rejected a Ph.D. candidate in history despite impressive credentials. Michelle Jones’ case should move us to examine the biblical book of Jonah. Jones, 45 and a child victim of abuse, served more than 20 years for murdering her four-year-old son. A horrible crime? Absolutely. Yet in prison, she earned a B.A. from…

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CAPTAINS OF OUR SOULS

Sunday evening, Jews will observe Rosh Hashanah, the New Year (5777). Ten days later comes Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Unlike during the rest of the year, the sanctuary at Sherith Israel, my synagogue, will be full. Interestingly, most in attendance won’t know the Hebrew (our prayer book offers transliterations into English), or the…

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YOM KIPPUR, JOGGERS AND THE ARAB WORLD

As should be obvious from last week’s post, “Rosh Hashanah, China and ISIS,” I like finding connections. So as the High Holy Days prepare to conclude, I offer some new ones. If they seem far-fetched, think about the complexity of human nature. Let’s start with joggers. A few days ago, I was walking on Lake…

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