A Slight Alteration

         “I feel so powerless. There is nothing I can do.” This is what a close friend said to me, a common reaction these days as we watch the punishing bombardment of civilian centers in Ukraine, as we learn of new casualties every day, and as we read of millions of refugees who have fled to

Are We Worthy?

Tonight is Shavuot, the holiday that marks the giving of the Torah and the beginning of a collective Jewish history. It’s the peak moment that follows the Exodus, in which a band of freed slaves become something more: free, filled with divine purpose, and fully committed to a holy vision of the world. It is

Why ‘We’ Is A Sacred Word

(first published in the Jewish Week, September 3, 2019) We are tired of being spoken about in the third person. We are old enough, have seen enough, to know the importance of telling our own story. We have been co-opted, used as pawns in other times, other places, and it never ended well for us.

The Last Temptation of Elie Wiesel

Avraham was faced with ten tests.  -Midrash Yalkut Shimoni Chapter 12             It is wrong to imagine the lives of survivors, to impose our own reading on their experiences, to try to tame the ineffable reality they describe. Yet they do describe their lives, and this creates a certain amount of room for us to consider: What

Sit Under the Tree

One of the most important things that humanity has to learn for its survival is that the choice between self and other, between particularity and universalism, is a fallacy. It is taken as obvious that there is an inverse relationship between particular identity and universal commitments. The belief goes that the more committed you are

Moral Education and Emotions

I decided to illustrate some quotes from my book. I chose what I felt were the most urgently needed and relevant ideas, and I’ll be posting some of them here.

Judaism as Rebellion

Judaism is nothing if it is not countercultural, a fierce critique of the world, of its culture, an insistence against all reason and evidence that kindness can still triumph, that justice can win, that peace can arrive and stay. When Jewish communities and institutions become extensions of the culture, mere conveyances for universally accepted norms,

5 Haiku for Elie Wiesel

5 Haiku for Elie Wiesel Too late. It’s all lost. And yet, telling stories saves. But this never heals. *** Jews are so special: We made love as resistance. Life is our revenge. *** We are not victims. Abraham Isaac Jacob Define us always. *** I’ve shouted my life. Do people even listen? You have