News & Politics


In a World of Opinions, It's Healthy to Engage

How often do you seriously engage those with whom you may deeply disagree? It’s not always our fault if we don’t (though it’s usually to our detriment) because we live in a world where we can easily surround ourselves, through media and technology, with opinions and ideas that mirror our beliefs. But however easy it is, that’s the opposite of wisdom, from our perspective at TWD. Engaging people who hold different opinions – at least occasionally – is calisthenics for our spirit and our intellect. It stretches our minds and opens our......

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A Path to Unity for New York City

From the Newsmax article by Brad Hirschfield: “As one who has lost people close to me in acts of terror, I find police union head Pat Lynch’s assertion that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has blood on his hands, to be a ill-conceived at best, and dangerous at worst. Having blood on one’s hands, suggests having taken direct action and bearing direct guilt for the resulting crimes, and clearly, that is not the case here. Furthermore, the charge of “blood on their hands” has been used since the time of the......

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Why 'The Interview' Was Censored

North Korean hackers did not stop the release of the Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy The Interview. We the People did. I am no expert on cyber attacks, nor am I privy to the boardroom decisions made by Sony and other corporations involved in this debacle. (Full disclosure: I have known Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton as an acquaintance for nearly 20 years, and he is among the most ethical, reflective, and integrity-possessing business executives I’ve ever met.) Cyber-vandalism and cyber-terrorism are scary, and for the foreseeable future, hackers will cause plenty of......

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Irwin Kula and Glenn Beck: Do Conservatives and Liberals See Evil Differently?

From TheBlaze.com: “Rabbi Irwin Kula hails from the notoriously liberal Upper West Side of New York, but he is also?close friends with Glenn Beck. Being able to see the strengths of both conservatives and liberals, Kula spoke on Tuesday about how the two groups see evil differently. “‘Al Qaeda and ISIS evil and they must be stopped,” Beck told the rabbi on his television program. “I think we can all agree — when you are enslaving children, when you are raping women, when you’re stoning homosexuals, when you’re burning teachers alive......

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How Open Are You to New Points of View?

Here is my viral video of the week: Will the Real Black Americans Please Stand Up, by Charles R. Patrick Furguson.?No one seems to know anything about Mr. Furguson, but at last look, hundreds of thousands of people viewed his remarks.   We can’t know the demographic make-up of all the people viewing and sharing this – although all the people who recently shared it with me were White, Jewish, hawkish and remarkably affirming (if not celebratory) of its message. Upon Googling Furguson’s name, I checked the first fifteen sites reporting on......

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Terror Attack Anywhere Is Threat to 'Forces of Decency' Everywhere

From Newsmax article by Brad Hirschfield:?A knife-wielding terrorist stormed a synagogue, screaming that he “wanted to kill (the) Jews.” No this was not in Jerusalem, where a similar attack two weeks ago took the lives of five innocent victims — four rabbis at prayer and a brave Druze police officer who tried to stop the murderers. This attack occurred Tuesday in the Brooklyn, New York, headquarters of Chabad, the world’s largest Hasidic community. While the attack is not about Jerusalem, it is not about New York, either. In fact, it’s not about......

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Kosher Food Gains Popularity... in Indonesia?

I am sure that I’m not the first rabbi to be quoted in Esquire magazine. But I’m sure I’m the first one quoted in the Indonesian edition! How do I know? The editor made it very clear, when we spoke! You may wonder how a rabbi ended up contributing to this very popular publication, in the nation more Muslims call home than any other county in the world — a nation in which Judaism is not even among the five legally recognized religions. (Those five, by the way, are: Catholicism, Protestant Christianity,......

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Eric Garner, Peaceful Protests and Leviticus

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: This week a grand jury on Staten Island, NY decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of 43-year-old Eric Garner. Whatever you think, pick the guy you identify with more and remember the guy you identify with less is every bit as much your brother. Watch my video below for more reaction and discussion. Odyssey Networks tells the stories of faith in action changing the world for the better. Their stories explore a wide range of issues including peace, tolerance,......

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Why It's So Hard to See the Real Bill Cosby

I wrote this review of Michael Whitaker’s 500+ page definitive biography of Bill Cosby, Cosby: His Life and Times, a week before the eruption of sexual assault and abuse charges against Cosby. I held back posting it on TWD because, like Whitaker, I consciously chose not to mention in my review the longstanding charges of Cosby’s sexual predatory behavior. Last week Whitaker tweeted, “I was wrong to not deal with the sexual assault charges against Cosby and pursue them more aggressively.” Listening to the close to 20 women who have come forward......

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Video: How to Respond to the Jerusalem Attacks

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: This week in a bloody attack at the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue in Jerusalem, four men, including three rabbis, were killed as they prayed. It is the latest act in a part of the world plagued by religious violence. As horrible as these events are, the best response never comes from a place of despondency, desperation, depression, fear or anger. Watch my video below for more commentary: Odyssey Networks tells the stories of faith in action changing the world for the better. Their stories......

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