How Politics Distorts the Brain

One of the reasons we love to order from Amazon is the speed. You can get a new shoes on your doorstep tomorrow.

[featured-image single_newwindow=”false”]

In downtown Chicago, you can get fresh fruit within two hours. Amazon creates instant gratification.

Paradoxically, however, Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, thinks primarily of the long-term. His perspective is the opposite of instant gratification.

A few years ago he funded a big clock tower in West Texas that ticks once per years. It is built to last 10,000 years!  Continue reading How Politics Distorts the Brain

What the World Needs Now

Do you know that great Burt Bachrach song, “What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love?” Very true.

[featured-image single_newwindow=”false”]

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

5 Elie Wiesel Books You Need to Read

The world is not the same without Elie Wiesel. He did more than write. He did more than teach. He symbolized survival and hope.

[featured-image single_newwindow=”false”]

I met him at age 13 when my dad and I drove from Milwaukee to Chicago to see him speak. Afterward we went up to talk, and my dad embarrassed me by telling Wiesel I wanted to become a rabbi. Continue reading 5 Elie Wiesel Books You Need to Read

Finding Hope After the Horror

[guestpost]I sent the following letter to my congregation this afternoon after the shooting in Orlando. [/guestpost]

Dear Friends,

 

The worst case of gun violence in American history struck Orlando this morning. We feel angry and despondent.

 

[featured-image single_newwindow=”false”]

 

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.

 

With hope and prayers,

 

Rabbi Evan Moffic

Continue reading Finding Hope After the Horror

The Kindergarten Stabbing

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.

[featured-image single_newwindow=”false”]

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

Why Don’t I Get More Letters Like This?

Sometimes a reader understands your book better than you do. That’s the feeling I got after receiving this letter. It reveals exactly what my newest book can teach and do for readers.

Click to Get a discounted copy of the Book
Click to Get a discounted copy of the Book

Dear Rabbi,

“When I was growing up, I had a number of Jewish friends, and I used to visit the synagogue yearly as a part of our Sunday school ecumenical program.

Nevertheless, I can’t say that I knew much about Judaism as a religion. It wasn’t until I was middle aged that I even met a devout Jew.

Thus this book was a revelation for me. Continue reading Why Don’t I Get More Letters Like This?

Why are There So Many Jewish Lawyers (and Supreme Court Justices)?

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.

[featured-image single_newwindow=”false”]

Yet, if Judge Merrick Garland is confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice (a big if!), four out of the nine justices would be Jews. That’s almost a majority. What explains this extraordinary representation? Two factors:  Continue reading Why are There So Many Jewish Lawyers (and Supreme Court Justices)?

Do Jews Believe in Resurrection of the Dead?

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.

The bones symbolize the people of Israel, who will rise again and return to their land. The text is not purely a symbolic vision of rebirth. It is physical, with the spirit giving life to the bones of the dead. The text is traditionally read during the week of Passover.  Continue reading Do Jews Believe in Resurrection of the Dead?

A Frog Must Jump: Or How We Always End Up Following Our Passion

A good friend of mine is a highly successful entrepreneur. He also happens to be a rabbi.

We met in rabbinical school. At the time he planned to lead a congregation, as I do now. By the time we graduated, however, plans had changed.

Even before graduating, he was leading a new Jewish organization. (The closest Christian analogy would be a church plant). Then he was advising other start-ups.

Soon he began an after-school initiative. While rooted in the Jewish value of education, this is not a religious program. Continue reading A Frog Must Jump: Or How We Always End Up Following Our Passion

A Rabbi and Writer for People of All Faiths