Tag: Torah


Is Any Holy Book Worth $100,000?

If you suddenly had an extra $100,000, what would you do with it? Would you pay off outstanding debts for education or on your credit cards? How about getting out from under your mortgage? Gifts to those you love? Save for the future or give to causes in which you believe? Good arguments can be made for all of those, but now let’s shake up this little thought experiment with a story from this week’s news. Calvary hospital in the Bronx has been permanently loaned a 19th century Czech Torah scroll that......

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Can Social Entrepreneurs Repair the World?

This week, I attended a meeting at my synagogue hosted by my rabbi, Elan Babchuck, featuring Irwin Kula – one of his mentors, and a national thought leader about the nature of contemporary religion. I don’t read most announcements I’m sent about events, because I don’t have them on my radar as things I’d generally consider attending. In this case, Elan invited me personally, and the title “Disruptive Spiritual Innovation” was certainly intriguing. Elan shared that his goal for the meeting was to understand national trends facing organized religion, and to consider......

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The 'Bare Vineyards' of Baltimore

There was a powerful confluence for me while studying last week’s assigned Torah portion alongside news coverage about the April 19 death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. In Baltimore, Gray locked eyes with police and ran; when he was apprehended, officers radioed for a vehicle for transport. By the time the police van pulled into the precinct station, Gray had three broken vertebrae and a fractured voice box. He died of spinal injuries a few days later. Demonstrations drew thousands of peaceful protesters. But in the aftermath of Gray’s funeral, Baltimore burned (a......

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The Violent Reaction to Women of the Wall

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: Religious freedom is in the news again, as Israelis rebel against rules about where and how women can pray. This week, some at the Western Wall in Jerusalem reacted violently when members of the advocacy group Women of the Wall defied traditional (gender-based) restrictions on public expressions of faith. An angry riot reportedly ensued among the ultra-Orthodox witnesses, and I thought about this: “Why would people behave that way? What was going on? Where does love of your fellow Jew, also a tradition, factor......

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Healing, Investing, Storytelling: Our Week in Wisdom

On?The Wisdom Daily this week (April 13-17), we brought you practical ways to connect your values with your finances, a poignant reflection on surviving a legacy of epic tragedy, a graphic artist’s beautiful new take on ancient texts, and a look at those who seek to exclude other belief systems as part of their “religious freedom.” Did you grow wiser this week? We hope The Wisdom Daily played a part.   The Blessing of Being a Child of Holocaust Survivors – Jonathan Jacoby This week was Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). For......

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A Minimalist Interprets Holy Stories

Whether you’re an atheist or devout in your faith, whether you’re conservative or liberal, here is a bible that will make everyone think! With his Minimum Bible, Joseph Novak – a Presbyterian pastor, graphic designer and father of two in Michigan – has created a masterful collection of contemporary graphic images inspired by each of the 66 books of the Jewish and Christian Bible. Check out the variety of these pieces, seen on the Minimum Bible Facebook page, to see how each biblical section is distilled into one thought-provoking image. Here are......

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Gratitude for 'Good Enough'

In the film Whiplash, Terrence Fletcher – the monomaniacal drum teacher played by J.K. Simmons – fervently attests that “the two most dangerous words in the English language are ‘good job.'” Someone hears these words of approval and loses the edge that spurs them to practice harder and go beyond expectations. No longer afraid of failing, their switch is turned off, and the world loses its next great accomplishment. Simmons’ performance is disturbing, and his behavior is never far from the line between discipline and abuse. Yet it’s hard to shake his......

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