Kippah Misuse and Kippah Abuse

The kippah, the head covering also known as a yarmulke, has become shorthand for Jewish. See a man with a skullcap and, unless he’s the pope, you’ll probably assume that he’s a Jew — and you’d probably be right. That shorthand has been used in two very different ways lately. Both have shown a disregard… Read More

America the Loser with ‘America First’

In selling the new administration’s astonishingly thin budget proposal last week, Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney said that it “represents a president who is beholden to nobody but the voters.” “He is following through on his promises,” Mulvaney went on. “We did not consult with special interests on how to write this… Read More

Repetition and Renewal Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei

Why repeat, as this week’s Torah portion does, all the details of the construction of the Mishkan after we have already heard them, when they were initially commanded? Would it not have been simpler to deal with the entire execution of external building, furnishings and priestly garb with the single verse: “And the People of… Read More

In Search of Leaders

As former director of Jews for Judaism, I used to view my Orthodox Judaism as a badge of honor. I was part of a group that was upholding the values of my ancestors. I was a link to a people who had courageously refused to bow down to the gods of hatred, indifference, self-seeking and… Read More

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

The Task of Memory

From a young age, any child receiving a Jewish education is taught the history and lessons of the Holocaust. For those who don’t have survivors in their bloodlines, visits to the Holocaust Museum in Washington or talks from local survivors make the horror even more tangible. While I consider myself lucky that none of my… 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

Be Ready to Forgive

It is difficult to imagine the profound disappointment and even anger Moses must have felt upon witnessing the Israelites dancing and reveling around the Golden Calf. After all of his teachings and exhortations about how G-d demands fealty and morality — and after all of the miracles G-d had wrought for them, how could the… Read More

Serious about Acts against Jewish Institutions

It is a rare day when the entire U.S. Senate speaks with one voice. That day was March 6, when a sixth wave of bomb threats were phoned in and emailed to Jewish institutions across the country. In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and FBI director… Read More