The Real Historical Balaam

This week’s Torah portion is Balak, which tells the story of a mythical non-Israelite prophet called Balaam (Bil’aam in Hebrew – בלעם). The story of Balaam is one of the … Continue Reading →

Talmud and Modern Economics

Robert John Aumann (Hebrew name: ישראל אומן, Yisrael Aumann; born June 8, 1930) is an Israeli-American mathematician and a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences. He is … Continue Reading →

Hanukkah At The White House

The White House Hanukkah Party is an annual reception held at the White House and hosted by the U.S. President and First Lady to recognize and celebrate the Jewish festival … Continue Reading →

WW I, Balfour and San Remo

Today is June 28, 2014 which marks the 100 year anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, a global war centered in Europe that began in 1914 and lasted … Continue Reading →

Passover in Egypt in 419 BCE

[This article was inspired by a brilliant online course by Prof. Jacob L. Wright] Many biblical scholars tell us that, so far, there is little or no archeological evidence of … Continue Reading →

The Origins of Jewish Humor

The words “Jewish Humor” may conjure up visions of Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Seinfeld, Jackie Mason, Larry David, Groucho Marx, Lenny Bruce, or many others. The wikipedia entry on Jewish … Continue Reading →

Israel’s Declaration of Independence

Today is Yom Ha’Atzmaut (יום העצמאות), Israel’s 66th Independence Day, which is celebrated based on the Jewish calendar (5th of Iyar) rather than the common calendar date of May 14th, … Continue Reading →

Passover and Jewish Freedom

Halfway between Dayenu and the Meal lies the key phrase of the entire Seder: When we read this in 21st century America, it sounds like a distant metaphor. You can … Continue Reading →

Mordechai And Zionism

Today is Purim, so I thought I would explore the connection between the story of Megillat Esther and the revival of Jewish life in Judea and Jerusalem following the Babylonian … Continue Reading →

AIPAC Conference 2014 Trip Report

This past week my wife and I traveled to DC to experience our first AIPAC conference, and wow, what an experience it was! We started off with a visit to … Continue Reading →

Prayer and Psychology

In previous posts I proposed some non-mystical ways of thinking about the Jewish God which may appeal to people who view themselves as atheists or agnostics. My goal is not … Continue Reading →

Wannsee Visit

Today is January 20, 2014, exactly 72 years since the Wannsee Conference (pronounced Van-Zeh). The Wannsee Conference was a meeting of senior officials of Nazi Germany, held in the Berlin … Continue Reading →

Arik Einstein Translated

Here are some songs made famous by the great Arik Einstein, with my own translation of the lyrics. I chose to stay close to a literal translation in order to … Continue Reading →

Jews and the Land of Israel

I will only scratch the surface of this huge subject by pointing out the importance of textual continuity through 5,000 years of Jewish history. The subject of Jewish textual continuity, … Continue Reading →

Revelation Revealed

What if, instead of the story we all know about how Bill Gates bought the DOS operating system from IBM, a different press-release had been circulated? One saying that God … Continue Reading →

Take The Fifth!

One way of connecting with the Jewish God that appeals to many atheist and agnostic Jews is to think about The God Of Our Ancestors (אלוהי אבותינו – ‘Elohei Avoteinu’ … Continue Reading →

Abraham and Moses: Abstraction and Morality

I concluded in a previous post that the Jewish God is abstract. As an analogy, I offered the mathematical concept of ∞ or the imaginary number i (defined as √-1), … Continue Reading →

Is God Abstract or Concrete?

After Moses gets his instructions from the Burning Bush in Exodus 3 to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, he politely asks for its identity, like a secretary might ask … Continue Reading →

The Theology of 4 Maccabees

I am starting my discussions of Post-Modern Jewish Theology from an unlikely place. With Hanukkah 2013 just behind us, this is as good a time as any to present my … Continue Reading →

The Miracle of Hanukkah

As I mentioned in a previous blog, the four books of Maccabees do not mention the miracle which we celebrate as the main theme of Hanukkah: The oil canister that … Continue Reading →

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