Rethinking the Exodus Story

A Curmudgeonly, Skeptical Look by Bennett Muraskin   THE PASSOVER HAGODE celebrates the liberation of the ancient Israelites from slavery in Egypt, but provides few details. Its source document is the Book of Exodus — which on this holiday deserves a closer look. Because Pharaoh fears that the burgeoning Israelite population will become a threat to his rule, he […]

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The Horse in Jewish Religious Text

by A.D. Paul   THE TORAH’s attitude to horses reveals a range of perspectives, based on the different experiences of the ancient Jewish people. Unlike the pig and the dog, which are not only forbidden as food but are widely scorned throughout the Torah, the horse, also forbidden as a food, often symbolizes great strength and courage, as […]

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Humanistic Sources of Jewish Law

A TORAH COMMENTARY by David Micah Greenberg   THE REVELATION at Sinai is the subject of the approaching Torah portion, Yitro (“Jethro,” Exodus 18:1-20:23, read in synagogue on February 3rd this year). But the book starts with the story of Jethro, a priest of Midian and Moses’ father-in-law from his years of exile in that land, who […]

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MIDRASH: The Stories We Tell

WHY THE TORAH REMAINS AN OPEN BOOK by Reba Carmel   Moses received the Torah at Sinai and he transmitted it to Joshua,  and Joshua to the elders, and the elders to the prophets, and the prophets transmitted it to the Men of the Great Assembly . . . [who] said three maxims: Be measured […]

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Letter to Nimrod

by Dan Grossman   YOUR HIGHNESS, six months ago you rose to power on a bold pledge: to build a tower to heaven. You told crowds that it would be “big” and “beautiful” and “create a million jobs,” and when you chanted “And who will pay for the tower?” we all screamed, “Heaven!” As you […]

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Judaism and Civil Discourse

Us Versus Them, or Argument for the Sake of Heaven? by Rabbi Jonathan Kligler WE’VE WATCHED constructive discourse and debate break down in our country in recent years, with a trend away from the value of civil discourse — and a lot of effort to retain it.  In this effort, Judaism has a great deal […]

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Going Solo for the Autumn Holidays

Text and Illustrations by Lawrence Bush From the Autumn 2016 issue of Jewish Currents This is the first of a series of essays about the Jewish calendar and life-cycle observances, created as part of our new Schappes Center for Cultural Jewish Life, a school-without-walls for families interested in non-theistic participation in Jewish holidays, rituals, and […]

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June 23: Noah’s Ark

According to religious sources that believe the Earth to be only 5,776 years old, today marks the date in 2105 BCE when Noah’s Ark lodged on the still-flooded summit of Mount Ararat in Armenia. Current projects to save species from global climate change and other sources of habitat destruction include The Frozen Ark, a consortium […]

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