April 14, 2021
At the very same time the trial against Derek Chauvin is unfolding in Minneapolis, another Black man, Daunte Wright, has been killed by a police officer in nearby Brooklyn Center. George Floyd, as is well known and viscerally horrifying, was killed by Chauvin as the now-former officer pressed down on his neck for nine and one-half minutes, ignoring pleas for mercy and for justice. The intention to use force was clear. The trial will determine if nine and a half minutes of application of such force can be equated to murderous intent......
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January 13, 2021
To impeach or not to impeach. That is the question. Or is it? Perhaps the more important question at this moment is not a question of what to do, but of why we do it. That has certainly been my approach, as I am asked if there are any spiritual or religious responses to the cresting chorus of those who are ready to explain the “right answer” to the question of impeachment — Focusing on the “why” more than the “what.” The question of whether or not the President should be impeached,......
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January 11, 2021
Kohelet / Ecclesiastes 12:12 warns us that “to the making of books, there is no end,” suggesting that maybe it’s enough already with the book, and that was over 2,000 years ago! So, let me start by asking you — one author to another — why another book, and what, if any, of Kohelet’s concerns accompanied you in the making of this one? What would our libraries look like if the Jewish canon ended with Ecclesiastes’ nihilistic, subversive, depressive charge? The people of the book deserve as many books as there are......
January 08, 2021
Rabbi Tarfon taught: “It is not your responsibility to finish the work , but you are not free to desist from it either.” Pirkei Avot 2:16 Aspirational, that has always been the word I have used to describe America — its beauty and its potential — and the framework I have used to see the world. How have the last four years, and more particularly the last few days, impacted that framework of faith? A timeline will help to begin parsing that question. Inauguration Day 2017. A speech is......
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January 08, 2021
Written by Rabbi Irwin Kula, on FaceBook, on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 The civil war has begun…and those of us who have taught systems theory and epistemological and cultural pluralism, who understand reaction-formation, splitting and projection, who see ourselves as morally and psychologically evolved, who are part of the 10% for whom Covid was a serious disturbance but who also benefited financially in this period, for whom even this experience Wednesday at the capitol makes no immediate difference, need to think very seriously about how we contributed to what is going on......
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December 15, 2020
I sat down recently with Beth Kissileff, a TWD contributor who has a new book out — one reflecting how different people in Pittsburgh have processed, and continue to process the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue building, which occurred a little more than 2 years ago. Our conversation was about “more” than one terrible event, as you will see. It’s not simple to write, think, or talk about tragedy, but this was an attempt to do just that. We do not only, or even primarily, look back. Instead, I hope......
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December 03, 2020
By decree of Gov. Kevin Stitt, Oklahoma is observing today, Thursday, December 3rd, as a day of prayer and fasting, asking God “To heal those who are sick, comfort those who are hurting and provide renewed strength and wisdom to all who are managing the effects of COVID-19.” I applaud the Governor, most of his decree, and all those who would join him in prayer and fasting, even, or especially if they don’t believe in God. Yes, I am applauding the state-sponsored establishment of a religious day, even though I believe in......