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Jewish Thought

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  1. Always Strive to Be Israel

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on July 4, 2014 in Jewish Thought

    This week’s Torah reading, Parashat Balak, is primarily focused on the Moabite king’s efforts to curse the Israelites. Having witnessed the conquest of the Amorites, King Balak and his countrymen are deeply concerned by the advancing Israelite nation. Sch ...

    stasch - July 2, 2014

  2. The Song of Songs: Lovers Absent and Present

    Commentary by Rabbi Samuel Barth on April 18, 2014 in Jewish Thought

    This Shabbat, Hol Hamo’ed Pesah, we read Shir Hashirim, the Song of Songs, the provocative and enigmatic cycle of lusty love poetry that is embraced (though not without challenge) by the canon of the Hebrew Bible. Dr. Francis Landy of Calgary University w ...

    stasch - April 10, 2014

  3. Elijah—Families and the End of Days

    Commentary by Rabbi Samuel Barth on March 27, 2014 in Jewish Thought

    Elijah is an enigmatic and beloved figure in the Passover seder, with a myriad of explanations for his appearance and role. It’s worth noting that Elijah appears first in our liturgical texts even before we sit down to begin the seder: the haftarah for Sh ...

    cldemesier - March 27, 2014

  4. Parashat Tazri-a and Circumcision

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on March 26, 2014 in Jewish Thought

    Parashat Tazri-a, at the heart of the book of Leviticus, presents a challenge of almost epic proportions in the search for modern, practical relevance. In particular, it opens by defining the different periods of “blood purification” with respect to the b ...

    cldemesier - March 27, 2014

  5. “Light and Dark, Peace and...?”

    Commentary by Rabbi Samuel Barth on March 5, 2014 in Jewish Thought

    Many regular shul-goers are familiar with the two blessings that precede the Shema’ in the morning service (whether on a weekday, Shabbat, or Festival). The first (Yotzer) addresses God’s role in the natural cycles of creation and the physical world, and ...

    cldemesier - March 10, 2014

  6. Dreamland of Humanists: Warburg, Cassirer, Panofsky, and the Hamburg School

    Audio by JTS on February 10, 2014 in Jewish Thought

    The recent discovery of a new trove of Nazi-looted art in Germany has awakened us to the world of culture and ideas that was lost when Hitler came to power. Dreamland of Humanists: Warburg, Cassirer, Panofsky, and the Hamburg School tells the forgotten st ...

    cldemesier - May 1, 2014

  7. Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence

    Video by Rabbi Shai Held and Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen on January 29, 2014 in Jewish Thought

    On January 23, 2014, the Jewish Theological Seminary presented a provocative, illuminating, and critically important discussion.   ABOUT THE PROGRAM   Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907–1972), who served on the faculty of The Jewish Theological Seminary for mor ...

    cldemesier - February 4, 2014

  8. Jacob's Fear

    Commentary by Professor Arnold M. Eisen on November 13, 2013 in Jewish Thought

    The Torah wants us to identify with the ancestors we meet in the book of Genesis; indeed, Abraham and Sarah and their children become our ancestors when we agree not only to read their stories, but to take them forward. Abraham “begat” Isaac in one sense ...

    cldemesier - November 15, 2013

  9. Seeing the Image of God

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on November 12, 2013 in Jewish Thought

    After a 20-year absence from home and family back in the Land of Israel, Jacob journeys home. And like any of us en route to the home of our family of origin, anxiety and uncertainty (along with anticipation and joy) play core roles in the experience. To ...

    cldemesier - May 5, 2014

  10. Chancellor Eisen discusses the legacy of Rabbi David Hartman

    Video by Professor Arnold M. Eisen on November 6, 2013 in Jewish Thought

    Rabbi David Hartman A discussion from "A Day of Study Celebrating the Impact of Rabbi Professor David Hartman," held in New York City on May 5, 2013, featuring David Hartman's onetime student and friend, Arnold Eisen, Chancellor, Jewish The ...

    juandelman - November 6, 2013