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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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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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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Martin Luther King Is My Rabbi

by Rabbi Jonathan Kligler From the online newsletter and Torah commentary of the Woodstock Jewish Congregation   VA’YAVO MOSHE V’AHARON el Par’oh va’yomru eilav, “Ko amar YHVH, Elohei ha’Ivrim: ad matai may’anta lay’anot mipanai? shalach ami vaya’avduni!” So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the Source of Life, the […]

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Do Black Lives Matter?

Plagues that Oppress 42 Million of Our Brethren by the Editorial Board From the Spring 2016 issue of Jewish Currents AT PASSOVER, as part of the ritual of connecting to the Jewish spirit of liberation, Jews recite a list of the legendary plagues that marked the days of resistance to slavery in ancient Egypt. The […]

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The Moses Fossil

by Lane Brandenburg I FOUND A LITTLE STONE, really a fossilized sea urchin, on the ground atop Mount Nevo in Jordan. It sent my mind spinning. The Biblical story of the Jewish People, through to the death of Moses, ends on Mount Nevo. The story of the fossil, through to my discovery of it, likewise […]

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March 14: The Mishkan

Construction of the Mishkan, a portable tabernacle or tent to house “God’s presence,” was completed in the Sinai wilderness on this date in 1312 BCE, according to Biblical reckoning (as figured by the Lubavitcher khasidim). The design, according to the Torah, had been issued in lengthy detail to Moses on Mount Sinai, and the construction […]

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February 26: The Birth and Death of Moses

According to classical Biblical reckoning, as calculated by the Lubavitcher Hasidim, Moses the son of Yocheved was born into slavery on this date in 1393 BCE and died on this date 120 years later. Moses is the dominant human figure of the Torah: liberator of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt, leader and miracle-worker during their […]

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July 15: Smashing Tablets

Traditionally observant Jews will be fasting today: The Fast of Tammuz, which takes place three weeks before Tisha B’Av, commemorates the date (by biblical calculation) on which Moses, in 1313 BCE, descended from Mount Sinai, saw the idolatrous worship of the Golden Calf, and smashed the Tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments. The Fast of […]

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