What's Art Wondering?


Thanksgiving: More than a Gratitude Attitude

Thanksgiving: More than a Gratitude Attitude
Gratitude is central to Jewishness.  The very word “Jew” in Hebrew, “Yehudi,” is a form of the word “Todah” – thank you.  It’s not surprising, therefore, that, in our tradition, the first thin... Continue Reading »
Nov 27

Attention Jews: "Good News" on Prime Time!

Attention Jews: "Good News" on Prime Time!

Recently, my wife, daughter, and I watched television together in modern fashion: each simultaneously surfing the web and checking email. We shared comments about this or that while we half-noted what flickered across the room.  Suddenly, my attention moved from the small screen on my lap to the larger one.   A brief commercial with a colorful banner reading “www.Isaiah53.com” appeared.  This was certainly something different for early evening TV!  As it ran, several people enthusiastically explained how their religious doubts and confusions had disappeared after reading that chapter of the Bible.   The commercial ended with an urging to visit the website. 

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Mar 26

Our “A-mish-agas” Jewish lives

Our “A-mish-agas” Jewish lives
Last night I watched a television documentary on the Amish people of Pennsylvania and Indiana.  I was fascinated to mentally compare Amish life, values, and strategies for community preservation with traditional (some would say "Orthodox") and "... Continue Reading »
Feb 29

The Dilemma of Individual Choice

The Dilemma of Individual Choice

I grew up in the Reform movement, which holds that Jewish "law" is not binding. Instead, it encourages every Reform Jew to become very knowledgable about Jewish traditions and then to decide for him/herself which of them to follow. This philosophy also fits very well with American conceptions of liberty and individualism which I have studied for decades as both a lawyer and historian.  Yet, as a rabbi vitally concerned with the continuity of the Jewish people and its traditions, I question whether any community can thrive, or even survive with shared values, common rituals, and standards of proper behavior, if every member simply chooses what he or she will do. 

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Feb 20

If charity cost nothing, the world would be full of philanthropists.
Jewish Proverb