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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Nazis

Just when I thought it was safe to unleash my innate Jewish paranoia regarding Jew-hatred in America, Israeli police arrest some Jewish teenager for being allegedly responsible for many of the bomb threats against American synagogues, JCCs, and Jewish schools. And this just after the arrest of Juan Thompson, a liberal African American journalist who […]

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Sell Off Our Synagogues

The Winter issue of The Reform Jewish Quarterly focuses on the question: How can we attract American Jewish millennials to Judaism, especially synagogue–centered rabbinic Judaism? While each essay sought to answer the question, none took the time to challenge it: Why try to capture millennials in the first place? After all, millennials aren’t the only […]

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Holy Shit

What to do when your religion shits all over others? If your Amish, apparently, nothing. In 2014 the city of Auburn, KY passed an ordinance expanding a law requiring the removal of dog waste in public places to include horse manure as well. Turns out forcing their horses to wear diapers violates the Amish religion, […]

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Would the messiah say something new?

Rabbi Michael Gotlieb wrote an op-ed piece in the WSJ entitled “Why This Rabbi Loves Christmas” ( In the essay he writes: “[I]f the messiah were to appear, or reappear, what would he say that hasn’t already been said? I assure you that there would be nothing new, no surprises.” Really? How sad. I think […]

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Hope or Salvation

In December 2009, after accusing Unitarian Universalists in Cambridge, MA of “spiritual piracy and cultural elitism” over their humanist rewriting of Silent Night, Garrison Keillor turned his ire on the Jews: And all those lousy holiday songs by Jewish guys that trash up the malls every year. Rudolph and the chestnuts and the rest of […]

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True or Fact?

Today’s New York Times contains a conversation between Nicholas Kristof and Rev. Timothy Keller. Ego maniac that I am, I imagined myself in the midst of their conversation. Please read the original and see what you think for yourself:  Kristoff: Is the Virgin Birth essential to Christianity? Keller: A religion can’t be whatever we desire it […]

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The Conversation We Should Be Having

I recently participated in a conversation with liberal clergy from three of the four Abrahamic faiths. Baha’i was not represented because, as I was told privately, it would upset the imam and preclude his participation in the conversation. [So much for being liberal.] The question before us was how we go about reconciling the liberal […]

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Leonard Cohen’s Torah

Leonard Cohen’s just released You Want It Darker should be the Torah we read this Rosh HaShanah. Here are some preliminary thoughts on the song’s lyrics. (To listen to the song: If you are the dealer/ I’m out of the game. Gods die when believers outgrow them: the Mad God who saturates the earth in […]

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“The World is at War”

No doubt you’ve noticed that I haven’t posted to this blog in a long time. I’ve been ill. Some unnamed virus has muddled my brain and kept me asleep most of the day for almost two months. I have cancelled all travel for the summer, and have had to renegotiate my book contracts to accommodate […]

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