Report from the American Jewish Committee Annual Global Forum

A story I heard yesterday from an Israeli journalist: A call goes out to all nations to find a way to take human beings to Mars. The United States announces a plan that will take thirty years, but it will bring a human mission to Mars and bring them home. The Israelis announce they can have a ship ready in FIVE years and will successfully land their crew on Mars. They just won’t have a plan to bring them home. “Once they are there, they can figure that part out.” The upshot is that, at least according to one journalist, Israel has many strengths but doesn’t always consider the long picture.

A Passover Message from Rabbi Goldberg

The Haggadah teaches us that בכל דור ודור חייב אדם לראות את עצמו כאילו הוא יצא ממצרים: In every generation a person is obligated to see themselves as if they were liberated from Egypt. In Hebrew, Egypt is known as ‘Mitzrayim,’ a narrow place. The seder asks that we identify with those currently oppressed, marginalized, or restricted; those who yearn and fight for freedom. Not out of pity, but because we are or have been them.

What an Atheist Belgian Musician Taught Me about Judaism

As a teenager, I would sit on my bedroom floor listening to old records of Belgian singer-songwriter, poet, and performer Jacques Brel. I didn’t need to keep a journal, because his lyrics wove together everything I felt at the time. Brel had a fire within, and his anger, longing, passion, and truth blazed through every word he sang. His music, raw and real, transformed and fed my soul; it informed and shaped who I am today.

In Praise of Failure

In Praise of Failure Edwin Goldberg I’m told that in the islands of the South Seas there are certain fruits which cannot be eaten and there are some places which cannot be approached. Serious harm will come to anyone who violates these prohibitions, which are called taboos. Perhaps we believe that taboos exist only on these distant islands, but actually …

I Believe in the God of Obi-wan Kenobi, Do You?

A long time ago, in a movie multiplex not so far away, a child looked up and asked: “Mom, Dad, is the Force the same thing as God?”

Actually, children have been asking that question for 40 years. The simple answer is “yes.” But this raises another question: Which god or God is at the center of the Star Wars universe?

Reflections on the World Zionist Congress

I got back from Israel two weeks ago already. Everyone asks, “did you have a good trip?” They are excited to hear about my adventures and I desperately want to give them an uplifting and life-affirming response. But the truth is that it’s taken me a while to process everything I experienced. And it’s difficult to answer with the expected, “yes! What an amazing experience…I had such a good time!” My answer is more like, “well, things are crazy right now. The situation is upsetting. The congress was nuts. Yes, I was there when Bibi spoke. No, it didn’t really stand out to me at the time as all that crazy in the context of all the other crazy sounding things he said.”

When It Comes to the Middle East, It Can’t Be All Black and White

As a community, we feel deeply the recent acts of violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank. It is painful to see these senseless attacks being repeated day after day. Many of us feel both angry and sad as these events continue to unfold. As fears and tensions rise, the outcry is getting louder and the filters that keep discourse civil are being peeled away.