What We Need Is Healthy Communication

runyan_josh_ot

Back-to-school season is firmly upon us, and with the sales on school supplies just recently ended, the big yellow buses have returned local streets to quagmires of morning and afternoon traffic. Many children are overjoyed at meeting friends they haven’t seen all summer, while quite a few parents are ecstatic that the little ones are… Read More

Looking to the Past for Our Future

runyan_josh_ot

You need only look at the prime-time television commercials to realize that genealogy is a big business — a $1.6 billion one, in fact, according to a 2012 report on “Good Morning America.” With Ancestry.com’s sepia-toned spots pulling at heartstrings across the country, it seems that more and more people are seeking out their links… Read More

Just Add Water

runyan_josh_ot

In chemistry, a solvent is a liquid capable of dissolving another substance. The resulting homogeneous mixture is known as a solution. In this regard, water is known as “the universal solvent” because of its unique ability to dissolve seemingly impermeable things. Jewish tradition teaches that the great Rabbi Akiva was even motivated to learn Torah… Read More

Going It Alone

runyan_josh_ot

Back in February, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned of the consequences facing Israel if the American-led peace talks between the Jewish state and its Palestinian neighbors fell apart. He alluded to the growing strength of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement and worried that should peace fail, Israel would find itself isolated… Read More

A Communal Responsibility

runyan_josh_ot

Three decades ago, faith communities across the Southwestern United States, seeing as their moral duty to protect the downtrodden and vulnerable from what they saw as an almost certain death sentence, decided to break the law and harbor illegal immigrants who had arrived from Central America. Moved by a sense of humanity and an anti-establishment… Read More

An Appreciation of Diversity

“I am now a vegetarian,” our daughter, 11, announced proudly one night in 2001. “Why now,” I wanted to know? “I just bought one of your favorite foods — hot dogs.” To many people, becoming a vegetarian can appear to be a phase until the newness and excitement wear off. Our Gila, however, is a… Read More

Let’s Choose Our Words Wisely

runyan_josh_ot

According to the biblical account, creation didn’t take place through fire or a divine wind. The world instead came into being through speech. As taught and amplified by the Jewish tradition in the thousands of years since that seminal event, words — even when limited to the constricted realm of human speech — have retained… Read More

Unity in Tragedy

runyan_josh_ot

This column was supposed to begin on a positive note, seeing in the recent fundraising prowess of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore a message that Jewish unity is alive and strong and can be marshaled to face the challenges of poverty and generational apathy. That all remains true, but Monday afternoon, the world… Read More

No Vacation from Bigotry, Hate

runyan_josh_ot

In the current economy, the concept of a vacation, especially for the working poor among us, is something of a luxury. And even among those for whom a vacation is a given, financial realities have made “staycations” a common feature of American life. That’s why it’s great to live in a place like Baltimore, where… Read More