Exile, Passover, and Melting Pot

Exploring Babylon Chapter 18 “The Americas were far. The Americas were different. It was rabbinic exile.” This, writes Rabbi Oran Zweiter, is how European immigrant rabbis to the New World felt, beginning with Rabbi Isaac Aboab da Fonesca, who left Holland for Brazil in 1642. Aboab (1607-1693), the first ordained rabbi known to make such […]

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The Five Powers, part 2

Before Chanukah is too distant a memory, let’s look at the remaining powers, Persia and Rome, associated with the holiday and the piyyut that includes them all.

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Babylon: Further Adventures #2

Exploring Babylon 6.1.2 My adventures in Bibleland continue, and, not unlike poor Alice down the rabbit hole, I have reached several points in which I feared it would be an effort simply to keep in touch with my feet. (For anyone curious who has not been following: Adventures in Bibleland, and Further Adventures #1.) Here, […]

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Babylon and Adventures in Bibleland

…how best to tackle the goal of this project — seeking out new perspectives that will help Jews interact with challenges in- and outside Jewish communities — given that neither our history nor our future is independent of the wider culture.

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Exploring Babylon: Intro

Exile — from east of Eden to Babylonian Captivity — saturates Jewish sacred text, practice, and thought. Can understanding Exile foster more cooperative, diverse communities today?

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Racism: Congenital Deformity, Sickness Unto Death

It is time to re-order our national priorities. All those who now speak of good will and praise the work of such groups as the President’s Commission* now have the responsibility to stand up and act for the social changes that are necessary to conquer racism in America. If we as a society fail, I […]

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Tzav: Great Source(s)

“People of the book”? — “People of the table,” too. With the repeated destruction of local and central sanctuaries, the power of the sacrificial system necessarily diminished. The decline of sacrifice did not end Jewish concern with food, but channeled it in a different direction. Meat-eating became separated for sacrifice, and non-sacrificial forms of worship […]

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Tetzeveh: A Path to Follow

A bell and a pomegranate: erotic poetry and bellman’s verses… And you shall make on its hem pomegranates of indigo and purple and crimson, on its hem all around, and golden bells within them all around. A golden bell and a pomegranate [paamon zahav v’rimon], a golden bell and a pomegranate, on the hem of […]

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