Do you know that great Burt Bachrach song, “What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love?” Very true.
But the world also needs Shalom. Shalom is peace, wholeness, integrity. It is grace, fullness, trust. (For an understanding of the Shalom is really used in the Bible, see chapter 8 of www.rabbimoffic.com/jewishjesus
How do we get more Shalom? We start small. When I was young,” recalled a great nineteenth century rabbi, “I wanted to change the world. I tried, but the world did not change. Continue reading What the World Needs Now→
[guestpost]I sent the following letter to my congregation this afternoon after the shooting in Orlando. [/guestpost]
The worst case of gun violence in American history struck Orlando this morning. We feel angry and despondent.
Angry at the targeting of a gay nightclub, making this a hate crime; angry at the commitment to Islamic terrorism motivating the shooter; angry at the ability for such a terrorist to obtain high-powered guns.
And we feel despondent at our seeming inability to do anything to prevent such violence. Just under a year ago a man walked into an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina and murdered nine people studying the Bible. Have we learned anything?
As Jews, however, we are told to never give up hope. That hope was born at Mount Sinai, where we received the Torah.
Today is the holiday of Shavuot, where we celebrate that giving of the Torah. The Hebrew word Shavuot means “weeks.” But it also means “oaths.”
At Mount Sinai we took an oath to live by certain values. Paramount among those values is a love of life, as we toast “l’chayim, to life.”
Let us rededicate ourselves today to doing everything we can to save lives—the lives of those targeted by guns, the lives of those living under the threat of terrorism, and the lives of those who are hated simply for who they are.
Many years ago, the director of my Sunday school once came to me with a problem. A girl in the third grade class felt isolated from all her peers. They ostracized her. She left each day crying.
I did a little investigating and learned the reason. Back in kindergarten, this girl had poked another girl with a pencil. It was a hard poke. But nothing too serious. She apologized and the class moved on. Continue reading The Kindergarten Stabbing→
The entire world Jewish population is 13 million. That is smaller than a tiny statistical error in the Chinese Census. Between 5 and 6 of those 13 million live in America. We constitute to about 1.7% of the American population.
The hardest chapter to write for my book on the Jewishness of Jesus was the one on resurrection. I tried to avoid it, but my editor insisted. Resurrection of the dead is not a topic we discuss much in synagogues.
In fact, many Jews and Christians today believe Jews have never believed in the resurrection of the dead. Yet, the Talmud says faith in resurrection is one of the three core ideas of Judaism. Look at chapter 37 of the Book of Ezekiel.
In it the Prophet Ezekiel envisions a valley full of dry bones. He speaks to the bones. He tells them God will breathe life into them. They will have skin and flesh and become a great army.