Compassion and Empathy


Derek Chauvin, Justice and Deuteronomy 16:20

Closing arguments in Derek Chauvin’s trial for the murder of George Floyd are unfolding as I write. The voices of protestors, speculators, and commentators rise, along with the voices of attorneys for both the state and for Mr. Chauvin, all calling for “Justice,” in these final hours before the case is handed to the jury. There is no shortage of stridently held opinions about what should happen here — not from the lawyers, the protestors, the commentators or the speculators — most notably, from Rep. Maxine Waters, whose words both inspire and......

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Night Words, A Midrash For The Holocaust

The Meaning of this Day, January 27, 2021 In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly designated January 27–the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau–as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this annual day of commemoration, the UN urges the world community to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism. The theme guiding Holocaust remembrance in 2021 is Facing the Aftermath: Recovery and Reconstitution After The Holocaust. The never-ending process of recovery and reconstitution of individuals, communities, and systems of justice includes: accurately recording the......

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Now What?

Donald Trump is mentally ill and needs a constitutional straitjacket. He is hungry for adulation to compensate for a mind-blowing inner lack of self-worth -that even those of us most horrified by his venality have to feel a smidgeon of compassion for. His most violent followers – a minority of the 70+ million people who voted for him – rendered needy, powerless, and stripped of their dignity by serious societal stress – have through their adulating Trump felt powerful. The violence of last Wednesday and the violence of Trump’s administration is a......

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A Riot Runs Through It: Where we have been and where we are going

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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