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The day my mother stopped playing G-d

“MY dear friend Helene died last week,” my mother informed me sadly as if consoling us both. “I’ll miss her terribly. She really changed my life and the way I viewed the world.”

I turned and looked into my mother’s face, aged not so much by years as by the losses and disappointments she has endured. She is not prone to “waxing philosophical” so her statement intrigued me.

“What do you mean, mom?” I asked, quietly taking her hand.

“Do you remember when you told me that you and Ray were planning to get married?”

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View From Denver

Non-reason in Judaism and physics

Non-reason in Judaism and physicsIT turns out that reason has less of a hold on religion and science that one might suppose; or, at least, on Judaism and physics. In Jewish legal lingo, a “decree”  is a rule that runs against reason. The classic decree is that of the Red Cow. Its ashes, ritually prepared, contaminate its preparers; at the same time, these ashes purify the impure people on whom the ashes, mixed with spring water, are sprinkled. Same object: ashes. Two diametrically opposed results: impurity and purity. ...

Last Updated ( Friday, 28 March 2014 06:03 )

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Conservative Lens

Noah: One of the most moral stories ever told

Next week, the film “Noah” opens. Having taught the Torah from the Hebrew for more than 40 years, I consider the biblical flood story one of the world’s most profound moral teachings. As I will show, it means that G-d cares about goodness more than anything else. Let me explain by answering the most frequent challenges to the story. Q: Why did G-d destroy the world?

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 March 2014 03:26 )

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View From Denver

Ten misconceptions about mikveh

Ten misconceptions about mikvehThe fundamental laws of mikveh derive from part of a single verse in this week’s Torah portion: “Only a wellspring and a pit, a gathering of water, will purify . . . ” (Lev. 11:36). There are ten misconceptions about a mikveh’s uses, users, makeup, costs and relation to cleanliness. Misconception 1: The mikveh cleanses a dirty person. It’s just the opposite. An immersion in a mikveh is invalid if even the tiniest piece of dirt adheres to the body. Nothing may intervene between the i...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 March 2014 03:26 )

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View from Central Park

Each generation has its story

What constitutes a generation? Robert Wohl probes this question in his book, The Generation of 1914. Through observing the mostly middle class of five European nations, the French, German, British, Spanish and Italian, Wohl raises awareness about the complexity and consciousness of what makes a generation. There is a famous debate between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Shimon ben Azzai. Which verse in the Torah is the guiding principle of Judaism? According to Rabbi Akiva it is the golden rule:” Love ...
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JTA News

Five years after landmark declaration, Holocaust restitution moves slowly in Eastern Europe

Uriel Heilman The 2009 Terezin Declaration affirmed the urgency of restitution efforts, but there has not been much progress in its wake. ... [Link]

Report: Abbas threatens to dismantle Palestinian Authority

Marcy Oster Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to dismantle the P.A., an Israeli newspaper reported. ... [Link]

Warsaw marks ghetto uprising

Marcy Oster Warsaw residents, including representatives of the Jewish community, marked the 71st anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. ... [Link]

Israel asks Bangkok police to ramp up security for Israeli tourists

Marcy Oster The Israeli Embassy in Bangkok asked local police to provide more security for tourists following a thwarted terrorist attack. ... [Link]

Poker ace skips pair of mom’s seders, wins $1 million at tourney

Marcy Oster A Montreal man who skipped both seders at his mother’s home in Florida to play in a poker tournament took home the $1 million title. ... [Link]

Ukrainian synagogue firebombed

Marcy Oster The main synagogue in the Ukrainian city of Nikolayev was firebombed. ... [Link]

Egyptian police seize Jewish artifacts being smuggled to Belgium

Marcy Oster Egyptian police seized a collection of Jewish artifacts from a local port as they were about to be smuggled to Belgium. ... [Link]

K.C. suspect said world should be rid of Jews

Marcy Oster The Missouri white supremacist charged in the Kansas City killings told a Manhattan rabbi that “we have to get rid” of every Jew. ... [Link]

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