Speak about Ethics, Not Politics

Talking about politics is toxic. Otherwise normal interactions feel tense. People are on edge. Relatives and close friends curtail their conversations, steering clear of politics, not wanting to lose their relationships. A deep partisan political and emotional divide affects us all. On both sides of this divide, people who agree speak about those who disagree,… Read More

Anti-BDS Bill Is Harmonious with First Amendment

The idea that governments can and should divest from companies that engage in behavior that is morally repugnant or that is otherwise determined to be contrary to the public interest is not controversial. Here in Maryland, this concept formed the basis for laws that in the 1980s divested the state from companies doing business in… Read More

People of the Book Happy Birthday to Me

“The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” Psalm 90, verse 10. Nobody should demand more than their biblical threescore and ten. Any more is extra… Read More

Embracing the Jewish Community’s Refugee Roots

HIAS was established 135 years ago to protect Jewish refugees who were fleeing the pogroms of Czarist Russia. Today, we remain true to our original mission of refugee protection. We are helping people who have fled their countries because their lives were in jeopardy due to who they are or what they believe. When there… Read More

We Met 38 Years Ago

There are two celebrated people in my life who I met 38 years ago. One of them is my wife, the other welcomed me to the life I chose at the age of 21. If we pay attention to people around us, we should be able to recognize those who bring meaning — real meaning… Read More

Are Female Rabbis a Threat — or Is It the OU?

Last month, the Orthodox Union, the Orthodox administrative body that oversees nearly everything Jewish-related in America, called together a seven-man rabbinic panel to answer the question whether synagogues under the aegis of the Orthodox Union may employ female rabbis. The unanimous opinion of this distinguished panel was a ringing, if eloquent, NO. Citing philosophy, history… Read More

Dancing on a Volcano

In 2017, the world accelerates to light speed. In Pikesville, the Yom Kippur War happened yesterday. Four years ago, I heard a sermon from a rabbi who bemoaned American decline. He also bemoaned centrism’s disappearance and, of course, blamed it on the degeneracy of the next generation. I unwisely wrote him to defend my peers…. Read More

People of the Book 'The Radetzky March' - Don't Blame the Grandson

It’s impossible to look at America in 2017 and not think of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the early 1910s at the end of its gloriously long sunset, unwittingly ready for the journey into eternal night. In those years, its capital, Vienna, was the most diverse, most exciting, most interesting place on Earth. Nobody knew it,… Read More