Meeting the King Parshat Shoftim

101014_riskin_sholmo_rabbi

What is the essence of the exalted Hebrew month of Elul, the auspicious 30-day period of time prior to the Days of Awe in which, according to Chasidic philosophy, “The King is in the field,” when God is, as it were, more accessible to us than throughout the year? How might we best prepare ourselves… Read More

‘Time’ for School

Editorial Director

Only one thing compares with the glee of children streaming out of hallways the end of each school year — the heady delight of parents knowing that their children will be someone else’s problem at the beginning of the school year. Now don’t think that I’m a heartless or inattentive father. I truly cherish the… Read More

The ‘Altruistic Evil’ of Social Justice for Palestinians

As yet another indication that the university campus has  become “an island of repression in a sea of freedom,” last March a pro-Israel group, Hasbara Fellowships Canada, was barred from participating in a Social Justice Week event organized by the Student Association of Durham College and University of Ontario Institute of Technology. The stated reason… Read More

Never Like a Child

“You know old people are just like children,” said the professional athletics director who works with all ages. As someone in the former category, I felt a chill go down my spine and a rush of adrenaline course upwards. How could I convey to this woman that even though older people may have diminished abilities,… Read More

No Friend of Israel

Ben Cardin (File photo)

Sen. Benjamin Cardin’s Aug. 26 column in the JT, “Why Tim Kaine Is Good for Israel, Jewish Values,” was the ultimate in chutzpah. Cardin, who voted against the Iran agreement, was supporting Sen. Kaine as being a friend of Israel when, in fact, Kaine helped forge the agreement with Iran.  That the Iran agreement is… Read More

Stepping Up to Help Those in Need Parshat Re’eh

This week’s reading, Parshat Re’eh, includes the laws of kashrut and how to observe the three harvest festivals:  Pesach, Sukkot and Shavuot. I will be focusing on another theme from the reading, however: tithing. Tithing is when farmers take 10 percent of their yield and donate it to the priests and the poor. This is… Read More

Challenges, Rewards

Editorial Director

I remember  my first Nefesh B’Nefesh flight like it was yesterday. My wife and I and packed up all of our belongings a few days before, sending them off on a steel container. We sat in the back of the plane — along with all the other families with young children — and left New… Read More

Choosing the Path of Parshat Re’eh Parshat Re’eh

This Shabbat we read the parshah of Re’eh and my haftorah is from the prophet Isaiah,  recited on Rosh Chodesh. This new month is Rosh Chodesh Elul. The word Elul is an acronym for the Hebrew spelling, meaning “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” It can be interpreted as how people love… Read More

The Movement for Black Lives Platform Gives Us Hope, Not Fear

On Tisha B’Av, 10 friends, Jewish residents of Baltimore City, met to discuss the recently published Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) policy platform. On the day we mourn the destruction of our Temple, the exile of the shekhinah (divine presence), the ruthlessness of empire and the dispersal of our people into centuries of diaspora, we… Read More

Mike Pence, Trump’s VP Pick, Supports Traditional Jewish Values

With the presidential race heating up, a number of progressive Jewish commentators have portrayed the Republicans’ vice presidential candidate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, as a conservative extremist opposed to Jewish beliefs and values. As officers of the only statewide, grassroots Jewish and Israel advocacy organization in Indiana — who also have had the privilege of… Read More