“Your Thoughts: Patrilineal and Matrilineal Descent”

In October of 1983, the Central Conference of American Rabbis declared: “The Central Conference of American Rabbis declares that the child of one Jewish parent is under the presumption of Jewish descent. This presumption of the Jewish status of the offspring of any mixed marriage is to be established through appropriate and timely public and formal acts of…

“Your Thoughts: 20s/30s Engagement”

In a recent podcast edition of the Jewish Sacred Aging Podcast, Rabbi Address chatted with Rabbi Sam Joseph, my former teacher, and the Eleanor Sinsheimer Distinguished Service Professor of Jewish Education and Leadership Development at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati.  The podcast was recorded in Cherry Hill, NJ. I was listening to Sam speak about…

“Your Thoughts: Typology”

It is understood by over a billion people in this world that the Gospels of the New Testament were divinely written, and that all of the aspects of the New Testament flow gently from the Old Testament as “prophecies,” “premonitions,” “predictions,” and the like.  However, what many fail to understand is the idea of “typology,”…

“Your Thoughts: Cultural Repertoire”

“Cultural repertoire.”  I learned this term from Dr. David H. Aaron while studying at HUC-JIR.  While he did not coin the term, he did use it extensively and it became a consistently used reflection when studying biblical Hebrew and its history.  One understanding of the term, by Swidler (1986) and Tilly (1992), is that “culture consists…

“Your Thoughts: The Bible’s Clarity”

We hear this a great deal don’t we?  “The Bible is clear on ________________” (whatever it is).  Of all the statements shouted out at rallies or within synagogues and churches, with poundings of fists on pulpits, the thumping of bibles, the raised painted signs, this might be the most frustrating.  It is also revealing. When you…

“Let Me Behold Your Presence”

For the Shabbat during Passover, there is a special Torah reading that falls outside of the normal parsha order.  While we are presently in Leviticus, having just finished Tzav last week, this week we find ourselves back in Exodus, Chapter 33.  This chapter features the exchange between God and Moses, wherein Moses asks God, “Oh…

“Your Thoughts: Passover”

I thought since tonight begins the observance of Pesach I’d give my favorite lesson on the subject. Most of us learn the idea that God “passes over” the houses of the Israelites during the evening of the final plague.  Some refer to God as God, some as the “angel of Death,” but in Hebrew, whatever it…

“Your Thoughts: The Voice of Prayer”

An old Yiddish tale tells of an exhausted Hasid who came running to his rebbe. “Rebbe, help. Take pity. My house is burning.” The Rebbe calmed the Hasid. Then, fetching his stick from a corner of the room, he said, “Here take my stick. Run back to your house. Draw circles around it with my…

“Keep the Fire Alive”

Ah Leviticus.  The book that so many rabbis dread, because each week we must speak on the laws and precepts for the priests, what they must wear, what they must do and not do; we must speak on animal sacrifice, and what to do with animal fat, and how to avoid blood spatter.  Of the…

“Your Thoughts: The Paranormal”

I’ll admit it, I’m addicted to certain YouTube channels, specifically those that deal with mysterious happenings on our planet: Dark5, Top5s, Chills (most of these are countdown videos).  I’m fascinated by them.  They share pictures and stories of encounters with bigfoot, aliens, ghosts, demons, mutants, zombies, extinct creatures, and so much more.  They describe mysterious…

Rabbi’s Corner – Monthly Newsletter – April 2017

This past month, I, together with over 500 of my rabbinic colleagues, attended a Central Conference of American Rabbis convention in Atlanta, Georgia.  During a learning session at the conference, Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, a Modern Orthodox rabbi, asked us to imagine that we were given $86,400 each day for the rest of our lives. “Well,…