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Mahmoud Abbas Reveals the 3 Elements of Modern Anti-Semitism

By Rabbi Evan / May 7, 2018

Mahmoud Abbas, the dictator/president of the Palestinian Authority, wrote his doctoral dissertation blaming Jews for the Holocaust. He gave full public expression to this awful view in a speech last week. It is worth reading because it crystallizes the beliefs of modern antisemitism.

As I just completed the draft of an upcoming book on antisemitism, I read it with great interest. He expressed what I have always suspected many anti-Semites believe but do not say publicly. Continue reading

What Happens at a Jewish Funeral?

By Rabbi Evan / May 4, 2018

Funerals can be painful. But they can also bring us comfort and guidance. A Jewish funeral has one core purpose: to comfort the bereaved.

Jewish funeral customs follow a set order. Not all Jews observe all these customs. But most follow at least a few of them. They originate largely in the Bible. Continue reading

3 Revealing Differences Between Moses and Aaron

By Rabbi Evan / April 30, 2018
Moses and Aaron Moses and Aaron are the two brothers who lead the Israelites out of Egypt. But they are much more. They are the first set of siblings in the Bible to get along. Remember Cain and Abel, or Jacob and Esau? Or perhaps you recall when Joseph’s brothers tried to murder him? The closeness between Moses and Aaron is even more remarkable because Aaron was the older brother. He would have been the natural leader. Yet, Moses is the one chosen by God. He leads the Israelites out of Egypt and receives the Ten Commandments. Was Aaron jealous? Continue reading

How Jews Pray: Discover The 3 Practices

By Rabbi Evan / April 23, 2018
When people ask me how Jews pray, I begin with a story. It comes from a great nineteenth-century rabbi. 

An old man enters the sanctuary for the first time.

His face is dirty and his clothes are too big. He stands out among the well-dressed crowd.

Then he picks up the prayerbook and opens it. He is, however, holding it upside down.

Nevertheless, he tries to start singing along. His words are mumbled and incorrect. After a while, he gives up trying to keep up with the crowd.

He just lifts up his eyes towards heaven and repeats the same Hebrew word over and over again.

After a while, the other people in the sanctuary start to get annoyed. They point at him. They shake their heads. One of them goes to the rabbi and suggests he ask the man to leave. Continue reading

Israel’s 70th Anniversary: 10 Reasons for You to Celebrate

By Rabbi Evan / April 19, 2018
Israel's 70th Anniversary This month begins the state of Israel’s 70th anniversary. Why does this anniversary matter? Well, the number 70 frequently recurs in the Bible and Jewish tradition. Moses has 70 elders. Jerusalem has 70 names. 70 years was considered a full life. The number also spans multiple generations. Israel’s 70th anniversary feels much more significant than 50 or 60. But most importantly, 70 represents success. A Close Call Israel almost didn’t make it to her first anniversary. On the announcement of the creation of the state, half a dozen neighboring Arab countries invaded. One percent of Israel’s fragile population was lost during this war for independence. In the ensuing decades, Israel has faced other wars and terrorism. No other country has had to fight so hard for its survival. Continue reading

3 Ways to Deepen Your Connections: Relationship Wisdom

By Rabbi Evan / April 16, 2018
relationship wisdom

A rabbinic mentor of mine loves to tell brides and grooms that his job is “save your marriage before it starts.” I don’t present my role in such dramatic terms, but I do think he is on to something. Judaism has much relationship wisdom. 

It starts with recognizing relationships take work. But it’s not just marriage. All important relationships do.

But marriage is a good vehicle to examine relationship wisdom that works. The marriage ceremony conveys this wisdom. Here’s how… Continue reading

Does History Repeat Itself? 3 Answers from the Bible

By Rabbi Evan / April 14, 2018

Does history repeat itself? Yes, it does. But it’s not because we remember the past. It’s because we forget. A shocking recent survey just affirmed this truth.

22 percent of millennials—and in case you’re wondering, I don’t qualify, barely—have never heard or aren’t sure if they have heard of the Holocaust. Two-thirds had never heard of the death camp of Auschwitz, where millions were slaughtered. This survey was released on Holocaust Memorial Day. Continue reading

Who Else Knows the 3 Most Important Jewish Family Values?

By Rabbi Evan / April 12, 2018
Jewish family values About a year ago I was speaking with a successful writer and marketer named Dan. He had grown up in a broken home and dedicated himself to creating a different experience for his children. Though he is not Jewish, he wanted to raise them with Jewish family values. I asked him what he meant. He replied with a question of his own. “Why,” he asked,” are Jews so good at keeping families together? There must be some special set of Jewish family values.” I was taken aback. As a rabbi, I constantly counsel families going through difficult situations. I’ve worked with couples going through divorce, estrangement, drug addictions, adultery and much more. My friend’s rosy view of Jewish family values seemed naive. I told him I didn’t think we had anything special to offer. Continue reading
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