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Wednesday 11/15/2017
Three questions about the state of our democracy
Posted: November 15, 2017

Political power transitions are always shocks to the system. Our country’s democratic form of governance is both stable and unstable simultaneously. Stable, because the institutions that run the country — federal agencies, the courts and yes, even the media — don’t flip back and forth as often as our elected leaders. Unstable, because those in power can be easily displaced, and they have been at a dizzying pace for the past two decades.

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Wednesday 11/01/2017
Modesty has nothing to do with it
Posted: November 01, 2017

In response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the flood of women coming forward to participate in the #MeToo social media campaign, there have been a number of essays and editorials about the Jewish tradition of modesty. This cultural moment is the wrong time for such a consideration. Connecting the issue of modesty to the crimes of rape, sexual assault and harassment is entirely inappropriate, as it makes the conversation about the behavior of the victim rather than that of the perpetrator.

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Wednesday 10/25/2017
The Balfour Declaration at 100
Posted: October 25, 2017

Theodore Herzl stated in the First Zionist Congress in Basel in 1897 that “Zionism strives to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law.” Twenty years later, British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour wrote to British Zionist Baron Rothschild expressing his government’s

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Films as Jewish learning opportunities
Posted: October 25, 2017

When one thinks of the most effective means of transmitting Jewish knowledge through the generations, what are the first places the mind goes to for spiritual enlightenment? Perhaps a stroll through the foundational narratives of Genesis, or perhaps a jaunt through the poetic power of Psalms? Maybe one finds clarity through a rousing dialectical discourse with a tractate or two of Talmud? Or, if that proves too daunting, maybe exploring the myriad commentaries and insights courtesy of Rashi, Maimonides, the Ba’al Shem Tov or one of the many brilliant religious thinkers who have appeared throughout Jewish history? Or, perhaps, when all of these options don’t sound quite right, what about a film?

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Wednesday 10/11/2017
When hate comes to your town
Posted: October 11, 2017

What do you do when hate comes to your neighborhood?

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Wednesday 10/04/2017
Valley Beit Midrash welcomes Rabbi Irving ‘Yitz’ Greenberg
Posted: October 04, 2017

In only a few short weeks, Valley Beit Midrash will open our Jaburg-Wilk Learning Series 2017-2018 with Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg, a true Torah giant, presenting what will be a fascinating lecture entitled “The 10 Jewish Moral Imperatives: A Jewish Response to a Fractured Society.” While I am excited for this event for many reasons — to share Jewish wisdom with the Greater Phoenix Jewish community and to get back into the swing of regular VBM events — I’m most exhilarated for yet another chance to learn with my esteemed teacher and mentor Rav Yitz!

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Wednesday 09/20/2017
Judaism without God
Posted: September 20, 2017

When I was 15 years old, a new rabbi moved to my small town of Easton, Pennsylvania, and changed my life. I had been raised in our Conservative synagogue, but dropped out after my bar mitzvah. The new rabbi befriended me, introduced me to Jewish youth groups, Torah lessons, Hebrew camping and, most importantly, books on Jewish philosophy. I discovered there was more than one way to be Jewish, and more than one way to think about God.

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Wednesday 09/13/2017
Why do bad hurricanes happen to good people?
Posted: September 13, 2017

Why do bad hurricanes happen to good people?

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