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‘Do not sin excessively’

“DO not sin excessively,” scripture says (Ecclesiastes 7:1). What is that supposed to mean? It is OK to sin a little?

Don’t steal $1 million, but it’s OK to steal $10,000? Don’t besmirch a person’s reputation so badly that he will never find a job again; just take him down a couple of notches so he loses his seniority?

The Talmud says that these absurd implications of the scriptural verse are just what the verse seems to mean, and just what it cannot mean (Shabbat 31b).

So, what does it mean?

The Talmud says: If you’ve eaten onion and get bad breath, will you eat another onion? That is, if you’ve sinned once, do not sin twice.

Last Updated ( Friday, 12 November 2010 08:27 )

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Dear Tzviling

Fighting In-Laws Syndrome

Dear Tzviling, I am expecting in December and I have a dilemma. You see, my parents and my husband’s parents are always fighting. Fighting about how we run our home, how we manage expenses, and now, about what name we should plan for our child. Both sets of parents have chosen a name and fully expect us to give that name. Tell me Tzviling, what is the best way to make everyone happy? Evelyn (by e-mail) Dear Evelyn, Give birth to twins. ...

Last Updated ( Friday, 12 November 2010 09:28 )

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Conservative Lens

How do California and the Titanic differ?

OK, riddle fans, here’s a toughie: What’s the difference between California voters and the passengers on the Titanic? The passengers on the Titanic didn’t vote to hit the iceberg. Most Americans understand that California is sinking. What is almost incredible is that it has voted to sink. On Election Day, 2010 Californians voted Democrats into every statewide position (one is still undecided). This is the party that singlehandedly has brought one of the world’s greatest economies to n...

Last Updated ( Friday, 12 November 2010 08:25 )

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View from Central Park

Off the derech

IN the Orthodox community which I am a part of there is a term that is bandied about that makes me cringe. It is “Off the Derech” or often abbreviated as OTD. Literally, it means off the path. As in The Path. The traditional halachic path of Judaism or, as is commonly meant, the mesorah, the tradition. It bothers me because it is so absolutist. Like there is only one path, one derech, or else. And nothing could be further from the truth, in the strictest sense of the word, of halachic, lega...

Last Updated ( Friday, 12 November 2010 09:29 )

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Reflections

What drives the Jews?

I opened the email from my daughter Lauren, who has been living in Guatemala for almost a year. I cherish the “conversations” we have in cyberspace because it gives us a chance to share differently than we do in our phone calls, where we tend to discuss more immediate concerns like college papers and bank overdrafts. Her email hooked me with the first sentence and the question she raised has been on my mind ever since. “I just talked with a friend, mom, who asked me: “What drives the Je...

Last Updated ( Friday, 12 November 2010 09:30 )

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Shabbat Times

JTA News

Hollande: Paris Jewish center answers doubts on French Jewry’s future

Cnaan Liphshiz The French president offered possible rebuke of Netanyahu’s call for emigration while honoring the president of the European Jewish Congress. ... [Link]

Polish web surfers decry post of offensive photo of Majdanek

Marcy Oster The Ukrainian teen who posted the photo on Facebook apologized to Poles who felt offended. ... [Link]

Obama admin. will ignore ‘Israel-controlled territories’ in anti-BDS law

Ron Kampeas The trade bill passed by Congress and signed by the president explicitly includes “persons doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories” as illegitimate targets for boycotts. ... [Link]

Iran nuclear talks extended a week

Ron Kampeas The talks between Iran and the world powers, which were to have arrived at a final deal by Tuesday, have been extended until July 7. ... [Link]

Franch, Israeli teams meet on combating anti-Semitism

Ron Kampeas French and Israeli officials met in Paris to discuss how best to combat racism and anti-Semitism. ... [Link]

Lawyer in Bank of China lawsuit named to close Gitmo

Ron Kampeas The Obama administration named as its official in charge of shutting down the Guantanamo Bay detention facility a lawyer representing the family of a teenager killed in Israel. ... [Link]

Are you a mensch? You can be featured in a film

Gabe Friedman Award-winning filmmaker Tiffany Shlain calls for video submissions for her latest project, “The Making of a Mensch.” ... [Link]

In Paris, planned Jewish center touted as proof community is here to stay

Cnaan Liphshiz The $11 million center, which is slated to open in 2017, will house a large synagogue, two exhibition halls, a gymnasium, offices, and a large terrace to accommodate a sukkah. ... [Link]

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