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Feb 13, 2019, 4:55 PM
Creating Sacred Spaces and Combating the ‘Shtiebelization’ of Orthodoxy
As we read these parshiyot (Torah portions) about creating a mishkan, a sacred space for God, it’s a fair question to ask what the value of sacred spaces is, and whether we need them at all. After all, shouldn’t...
Feb 6, 2019, 6:07 PM
An Authentic Jewish Response to Rising Antisemitism
Last week, Deborah Lipstadt, Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies, wrote a very powerful and popular article entitled, “Jewish Myopia in a Perfect Storm of Antisemitism.” In this article, she described the confluence of many different factors,...
Jan 30, 2019, 4:10 PM
Reflections on the ‘RCA Presidents Letter’ to Rav Druckman
In 2005-2006, Takana, a rabbinical forum set up to prevent sexual abuse in the national religious community, investigated complaints of sexual misconduct against Rav Mordechai Elon. Before the allegations against him surfaced, Rav Elon was one of the most prominent Zionist Orthodox leaders of his generation in...
Jan 21, 2019, 2:52 AM
Tu B’Shevat Sedarim and Tree Planting: What is the Message of Tu B’Shevat?
One of my daughters is currently participating in a very special high school program where she and fifteen of her friends are spending a month in an Israeli school in Maaleh Adumim embedded in Israeli society in a way...
Jan 16, 2019, 9:32 PM
What Should Be the Mission of an Interdenominational Rabbinic Council?
This past Sunday evening, I joined local Rabbis of Conservative, Reform and Chabad synagogues in Long Beach and Oceanside, in a meeting organized and facilitated by the UJA. The purpose of this meeting was to try to create a council of local...
Jan 10, 2019, 11:12 PM
Amos Oz’s Daily Routine and the Study of Torah by Secular Jews
A few weeks ago, Israel lost a literary giant in Amos Oz. Many in the Orthodox community disagreed with his political views as he was a true left-wing Zionist. He fought in the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War,...
Dec 31, 2018, 11:13 PM
The End of 2018: Living with Uncertainty
What does the end of 2018 mean to you? To me, it means that my 401K retirement plan is enjoying a roller coaster ride, it means that the US government is shut down with no end in sight, and...
Dec 26, 2018, 4:33 PM
Yaakov Avinu Votes for Unity over Economy
Who do we want as our leader? When selecting someone to lead us, which issues should we prioritize? Should we vote based on the economy or should we look for someone who can unify our nation? I ask this...
Dec 18, 2018, 8:11 PM
Should We Bring Our Young Children Into Shul?
I read an article a few weeks ago in the Forward, entitled, “Stop Kicking Kids Out of Shul. Research Says Early Ritual Experience is Essential.” The authors describe a particular shul where, after services, the shul’s sanctuary often becomes...
Dec 10, 2018, 10:49 AM
Hanukkah: A Celebration of Jewish Fundamentalism and Militarism?
Last week, the New York Times published an opinion piece by Michael David Lukas, a novelist, entitled, “The Hypocrisy of Hanukkah.” He argued that the story of Hanukkah is, in its essence, “an eight-night-long celebration of religious fundamentalism and...
Jonathan Muskat is the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Oceanside.