Archive for March, 2008

Competing Narratives

March 31, 2008

One of the things that is fascinating about living in Israel is the way that myth informs reality, and how sometimes it’s hard to separate myth FROM reality — with consequences that are profound. Last year, when I was still living the life of a congregational rabbi in the US, I gave a sermon...
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Ta’anit Esther? Or Nicanor’s Day?

March 20, 2008
Ta’anit Esther?  Or Nicanor’s Day?

Today, the 13th of Adar on the Hebrew calendar, is Ta’anit Esther, the Fast of Esther, one of the so-called “minor fast days” in which Jews traditionally fast from sunup to sundown. I have to admit that I have long felt a certain ambivalence about the minor fast days. Most of them commemorate events...
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Redeeming Captives

March 14, 2008
Redeeming Captives

Today I had the rare opportunity to perform a mitzvah I have not done before:  redeeming captives. This is an incredibly important mitzvah.  In the Mishneh Torah (Hilchot Matnot Aniyim) Rambam says: "The redeeming of captives takes precedence over the feeding and clothing of the poor. Indeed there is no religious duty more meritorious...
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Jerusalem in mourning

March 9, 2008

The relative sense of security that Jerusalemites have felt for the past couple of years was shattered on Thursday night with the murder of 8 teenage yeshiva students who were studying at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva.  You can read basic coverage of the attack here . Unlike many other past terrorist attacks, this one...
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A Visit to Sderot

March 1, 2008
A Visit to Sderot

Last Tuesday I visited the West Negev development town of Sderot.  In case you don’t recognize the name of the town from the news, it is located about half a mile from the Gaza Strip — it’s the town that has been bearing the brunt of Palestinian rocket attacks, having been hit by over...
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