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?
Allen: When we first moved in together, Aron, you placed in the kitchen a large wooden sign from your childhood: “Kosher Only.” This was obviously an ironic statement; even so, I took it down whenever I hosted non-observant guests. I didn’t want to seem intolerant. But one could make the case that the whole edifice of… Read More Not Kosher, Not Welcome
Allen: Our society’s recently undergone a momentous transfer of power representing an abrupt shift from the longtime norms of democratic leadership. I’m referring, of course, to the new director of Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, Rabbi Ethan Linden. I’ve heard only good things, though you and I are both a bit removed from the camp scene… Read More Camp Ramah: The First 100 Days
Allen: Dear Mr. Borans, My name is Allen Lipson; I affiliated with Alpha Epsilon Pi’s Iota Chapter at Columbia University from 2011 to 2013. Despite my decision to leave the fraternity my third year of college, I’ve not figured out how to unsubscribe from your emails, your magazine, or your generous (yet alas, still unaffordable) Brooks… Read More Fraternally Yours: An Open Letter to Andy Borans
Aron: We’ve spoken before (or at least I have) about problematic parts of the Torah. These aren’t limited to gleeful descriptions of violence; there’s also the prohibition on homosexual sex, the death penalty for Sabbath-transgressors, and a host of other bad things. Each week, though, we read the Torah aloud, bad things included. As liberal Jews,… Read More Torah, Torah, Torah
(Originally published on IfNotNow Torah’s Medium account) “And Aaron was silent.” That’s it. That’s all the Torah tells us about how Aaron, the high priest, reacts to the sudden death of his sons. Those four words, though, push us to think about how we treat people who are in pain or grieving. In this week’s parshah,… Read More Shemini: How (Not) to Approach People in Pain