Jewish Values, Refugees And Lost Opportunities

Nearly 60,000 Africans fleeing war, oppression and violence have sought refuge in Israel, a prosperous and democratic country established in 1948 by refugees themselves. These asylum seekers were not just fleeing from oppression but to a prosperous and democratic country. While Israel’s courts have protected them and new Israeli friends have defended them, the welcome… Read More

Only Israeli Scholars Are Complicit In The Actions Of Their Government

As the recent calls for boycotts and sanctions against Israeli universities by the American Studies Association and the Modern Language Association clearly indicate, an ideological imbalance in the professoriate has resulted in a collective antipathy toward Israel as the latest villain in the academic left’s panoply of oppressors — this time the victim of the… Read More

Breaking Bread Together

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It seems to me that so many Jewish conversations recently have devolved into divisive rhetoric about Israel; rather than being dialogues, these exchanges position one single-minded extreme against the other. Long gone are the age-old positive Jewish characteristics of civility and warmth. Instead, let’s shift the conversation from rights and wrongs to rights and responsibilities…. Read More

Mourning a Pet Dog

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For the sake of transparency, allow me to admit that I am an Orthodox rabbi who does own a pet dog. She is a truly wonderful creature: Tame, gentle, loving and tender, she seems to think that everyone on two legs is her best friend and avoids as much as possible the four-legged alternatives. Approaching… Read More

Finding Lessons in the Redwood Forest

The tree is a sustaining metaphor in Judaism. It stands at the center in the Garden of Eden, perhaps the first metaphor authored by Adam and Eve. The Torah is referred to as a tree of life, it’s teaching an illumination of meaning and happiness. The first Psalm reads that the happiness of the individual… Read More

Relevance Defined

Relevance. We use this word a great deal at the Jewish Federation of Howard County. Recently, a community leader asked me what it means. I thought it was an excellent question, one worth exploring. In order for people to donate to any cause, they want to have some sort of meaningful connection to it. What… Read More

BBYO Targets Eighth-Graders

This winter, the Baltimore Council of the BBYO will look to bring the BBYO experience to Jewish eighth-graders. The teens will have an opportunity to make friends who go to different schools, to learn about the BBYO and maybe even to hold leadership positions in the organization. Most importantly, the goal will be to bring… Read More

Returning Home

When I was a little girl, I remember my mother gently telling me that there is a G-d and He loves us. She would say that her mother told her the same thing. This simple knowing formed the foundation of what I believed about the world, filling me with an innate sense of security. In… Read More

An Outrage That Is Not Academic

The American Studies Association, a scholarly group supposedly dedicated to the study of American culture and history, recently voted to boycott Israeli institutions. On one level, it is tempting to ignore its decision. The ASA is a small, marginal organization whose impact on academic affairs, much less American foreign policy, is negligible. Moreover, it is… Read More

A Homecoming

I grew up Jewish. Simply Jewish. My late father, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, raised us in an observant Orthodox household. Our lives were filled with beautiful ritual, and we celebrated the wonder of a familial spiritual connection. That said, we also danced along the fine line of progressive Judaism. My father’s Torah was an expression of… Read More