The Role of the Elite

What does it mean to be an “elite?” Recently, the term has come to be much derided by people on both ends of the political spectrum. For those on the right, it conjures up snobs, people who have college educations, who look down on the rural parts of our country as backwards, who turn up their noses at manual labor and don’t value long ties to a particular region or town. On the left, it dredges up the idea of corruption and the uber-wealthy, who are out only for their own gain.

Posted on February 22, 2017

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Who Knows Four?


The Wise Son

What number comes to mind when you think about a Passover seder? Probably four. Four cups of wine. Four questions. Four sons. Especially those four troublesome sons. But they are challenging in the best possible way because they furrow our brows and engage and embarrass us, awake and inspire us. To paraphrase very simply:

Posted on April 10, 2015

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Is Freedom A Jewish Virtue?

Are you on the freedom bandwagon yet? Celebrations of the concept of freedom seem to be permeating the cultural-political zeitgeist these days. Stephen Spielberg’s movie “Lincoln,” which tells the story of President Lincoln’s efforts to pass a Constitutional amendment banning slavery, just received a leading 12 nominations for best picture of the year. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, in which we celebrate the birth of the great civil rights hero who helped lead African Americans in their struggle for freedom from racial oppression, is just around the corner (January 21).

Posted on January 14, 2013

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The Urgency of Civility

Seinfeld's Frank Constanza, demonstrating anger

It seems to me that we do not do a lot of talking to each other anymore. There is lots of talking about each other or past each other but not a lot of talking to each other. Furthermore, the tone of our supposed dialogues have become increasingly fractious and divisive. One does not need to look very far to find examples of this phenomenon both from within the Jewish community and in the larger American situation.

Posted on November 25, 2011

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