Rabbi James Ponet

Rabbi James Ponet is the emeritus Jewish chaplain at Yale University and a lecturer at Yale Divinity School.

Articles by Rabbi James Ponet

War and Remembrance

The Torah commands us to remember the evil of Amalek — but also to forget.

On Hanukkah and War

Jewish tradition is deeply torn, and even contradictory, in its thinking about war.

What Is Home?

What exactly is lost when you lose home and what is gained when you recover it?

The Art of Growing New

The new does not need to deny the old its truth, only to expose new possibilities.

Is God An Artist?

Perhaps creativity, not obedience, is the ideal form of divine service.

The Jews: A Fantasy

Perhaps the Jewish people are the embodied principle of life itself, a distillation of humanity evolving toward that which it is not yet?  

Under A Rest

Allowing oneself to be overcome by the exquisiteness of a moment is harder than it seems. Shabbat can help.


A book that challenges the rest of the Bible by asking how a good God can permit so much suffering.

God, Open My Lips

The prefatory verse of the Amidah reminds us that while prayer is mostly written in the language of 'we,' it yearns to be experienced in the language of 'I.'