Allen: Fifteen years ago, prominent Conservative rabbi David Wolpe achieved the dubious distinction of delivering possibly the only Passover sermon ever to receive coverage in the New York Times. Before a packed congregation of three thousand families, Wolpe made the following claim: what we know as the Passover story didn’t really happen. Citing scientific and historical… Read More Passover: Fact and Fiction
Allen: Aron, I still remember meeting your friend who was saddled with the unenviable task of teaching public school Jews Hebrew spelling. Hopefully he’s by now recovered from the diatribe he received at our place. You and I both argued at the time that Hebrew schools make a serious mistake in devoting fruitless hours to language drilling… Read More The Half-Dead Language
Rabbi Iris Richman is a rabbi currently living in New York. She is the founder of Jewish Voices Together, which created for organizing “Wake Up for Religious Tolerance” in NYC. This piece is a response to last week’s post, “Just Another Brick in the Wall,” in which Aron and Allen argued that liberal Jewish communities… Read More Rabbi Iris Richman: 10 Reasons the Kotel Matters
Aron: Let’s talk about the elephant in the Temple: the Kotel. After years of activism on the part of Women of the Wall and protests from the Jewish Agency and a range of non-Orthodox American Jewish organizations, the Israeli government agreed in 2016 to a proposal that would have guaranteed an egalitarian prayer space at the Western… Read More Just Another Brick in the Wall
Allen: We started this blog to encourage an honest conversation about Jewish belief and ideas, but Neil Gillman beat us to the punch fifty years ago. As an assimilated frat boy at McGill in the 1950’s, Gillman never would have guessed he’d write one of the few influential books of Conservative theology this century. By his… Read More Book Review: Sacred Fragments
Allen: Aron, we’ve now both had the chance to flesh out our different opinions on a pretty wide range of religious issues, including God, prayer, religious observance, and study, to name a few. Based on what we’ve laid out, though, one could make a fair argument that we’ve misnamed our blog. For example, the influential Reform thinker Eugene… Read More How Unconservative Are You?
Aron: Had our great-great-great-grandfathers been asked by their children, “What’s God?”, they would likely have responded, “God created the heavens and the earth.” If they had been asked why we pray, they’d probably have responded, “To ask, praise, or thank our Creator.” If they’d been asked why they kept kosher, I assume they’d have said,… Read More What About the Children?