Category Archives: Jewish Identity

Reflecting again on 9/11, as a New Year dawns

Although not directly threatened by the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, my experience that day as a New Yorker, and even as a Jew with close Israeli relatives, will always stay with me.  The fact that this year’s commemoration of Sept. …

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Posted in Jewish Identity, Letters From Leadership, Letters from the Leadership | Tagged | 110 Comments

Torah on Two Feet

By Luther Jett On a warm spring night, about a dozen American Jews gathered at the suburban Maryland home of Ameinu Board Member Haya Laufer to study Talmud with Tal Shaked, Deputy Executive Director of the Israeli organization, BINA. Several …

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Posted in Jewish Identity | 48 Comments

In Memory of Ben Cohen, Builder and Dreamer

Over the years Habonim was able to build summer camps across North America, build kibbutzim across Israel, and build character in its members. Those are the words of Ben Cohen, taken from his foreword to Builders and Dreamers: Habonim Labor Zionist …

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Posted in Jewish Identity | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Responding to Another Rabbi’s Hateful Speech

When I first read Rabbi Manis Friedman’s published words in Moment Magazine addressing the question, “How should Jews treat their Arab neighbors?” I quickly deleted the e-mail.   He wrote, “I don’t believe in Western morality, i.e. don’t kill civilians or …

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Posted in Jewish Identity | 10 Comments

What Is Zionism? A Progressive Vision (Abridged)

“You shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.  Zion shall be redeemed with justice.”  Isaiah I: 26-27  Zionism involves the belief that Israel has a right to exist as a democratic Jewish state. It is the national liberation …

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Two New Years III

On too many Rosh Hashanah visits to the synagogue of my choice I had chafed at having to go through it on two days as though the first was a dress rehearsal. Who besides God needs so much adulation? I …

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Posted in Jewish Identity | 10 Comments

Ehud Manor Z’L A Remarkable Israeli

By the time of his death at age 64, Ehud Manor and the thousand songs he wrote were clearly the embodiment of a beautiful Israel. His songs were the concrete representation of an otherwise nebulous concept: Ein li eretz acheret, …

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Posted in Jewish Identity | 212 Comments

How Is This Seder Similar To All The Other Seders?

As we sit at the Seder table this year and hear the voice of the young ones singing Ma Nishtana: Why is this night different from all the other nights? we may not be aware that our minds also wander …

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Are Democracy and Ideology Incompatible?

Once when Zionism was still just a movement with the goal of establishing a Jewish State in Palestine, democracy, ideology and politics were not mutually exclusive. Although this philosophy called for Jewish self-emancipation, Herzl was also personally entranced with diplomacy …

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Posted in Jewish Identity | 8 Comments

The Power of Peoplehood: The Soviet Jewish Journey

These remarks were delivered at a recent conference held to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s collapse. When I was 13 years old, a group of people tried to steal an airplane in a desperate attempt to escape …

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Posted in Jewish Identity, Personal Stories of Zionism, Israel and Progressive Identity | 7 Comments