2013


 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Rabbinic Reflections.” www.azjewishlife.com. 7 November 2013.

Who is one of your favorite figures from Jewish texts?

Answer: Bruriah – Talmudic Scholar, Feminist Hero, Advocate for Human Potential. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “G-d Prays But Do We? Reflecting on Creation.” Times of Israel. 4 November 2013.

In one Talmudic story, G-d asks humans for a blessing (Berachot7a). The rabbis go even further and teach that G-d prays (Chullin60b). Read More…

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Unity of Religions? God is Not One!” Huffington Post. 1 November 2013.

I can recall at a global interfaith gathering in Davos, Switzerland, a faith leader stood up and claimed that “we are all brothers and sisters since our faiths are really the same.” I recall feeling shocked by the simplicity. That type of unity can be terrifying. We can respect each other while honoring differences in values. The Dalai Lama has argued that “the essential message of all religions is very much the same.” Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “On Free Will and Revelation.” Jewish Journal. 30 October 2013.

The rabbis taught that free will was suspended at the time of revelation. “The Holy One held the mountain over them like a bucket and warned them: If you accept the Torah – good. And if not – here you will be buried” (Shabbat 88a). There is an interesting Talmudic debate regarding how the Israelites responded to the intensity of this revelation at Sinai. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Expert Witnesses: Jewish Legal Requirements for Testimony.” Times of Israel. 30 October 2013.

Truth is one of the highest religious values. The Torah requires that we not only refrain from lying but that we also actively seek to perpetuate truth. Consider this Talmudic teaching: Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Jews and Halloween: To Treat or Not to Treat?” Times of Israel. 29 October 2013.

I grew up with this funny custom of knocking on strangers’ doors once a year to ask for free candy. By the end of the night, I had enough sugar to last a lifetime. Three decades later, we won’t be sending our children door-to-door. Purim will be our time for costumes and gift exchanging, but we will always open the door, greet children with a smile, and provide them with their requested trick-or-treat (however I fear my tricks would disappoint a hopeful youngster). Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “The Genius Fetus.” Jewish Press. 27 October 2013.

The rabbis teach that as a fetus we were much more actualized than we could ever imagine. In fact, we were geniuses! Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “The Value of Reading Novels.” Huffington Post. 27 October 2013.

I’ll be the first to admit that while I love reading fiction I’m not a consistent novel reader. I enjoy non-fiction loaded with facts, theories, and analysis. I don’t always have the patience for narrative. Given the results of some new research, maybe I should reconsider that. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Affirming Justice: Our Relationship to Government and Heaven.” Huffington Post. 25 October 2013.

There was a lot of wisdom in the psychoanalytic revelation that our relationship with our parents is interconnected with our relationship with G-d. Perhaps there is a connection between our relationship toward the government and toward heaven as well? Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “The Western Wall: Do Objects Contain Holiness?” Shma. 25 October 2013.

I have always felt something exceptional at the Kotel (western wall), but I have generally had to work to achieve that feeling and it remains unpredictable. There is something holy that I cannot yet fully grasp about that place in the heart of Jerusalem. It may seem counterintuitive to think that our religion (consumed with the heart, mind, and soul) could find holiness in objects or places, but Jewish law is unequivocal in the proposition that there are, in fact, holy objects and places. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Intimidation, Alienation, and Suicide: Creating Nurturing Comunities Together.” Times of Israel 25 October 2013.

Suicide is prohibited in the Torah (Genesis 9:5-6,Bava Kama91b). One remarkable passage shows how far one sage went to preserve his own life (prevent his own suicide): Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “A Theology of Angels: Our Daily Choices.” Huffington Post. 22 October 2013.

Throughout history, some Jewish philosophers never took the idea of angels literally. The Rambam, for example, argued that any textual reference to an angel had to be understood as a prophetic vision and not as an actual real-world occurrence. Even further, the talking snake in the Garden of Eden should be considered an allegory, and Balaam’s experience with a talking donkey should be considered a dream (Guide, 2:42). In Maimonidean angelology, contrary to the pop-culture flying winged angel in white, angels have form but no matter. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Tevilat Keilim: Transforming our Consumption.” Jewish Journal. 20 October 2013.

There is a mitzvah to take one’s newcooking utensils to the mikvah(spiritual bath) to give them a spiritual dip (Numbers 31:23). What is the purpose of such a ritual? Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “We Need a Revolution in the Pharmaceutical Drug Industry.” Huffington Post. 14 October 2013.

Imagine you live in a small village in Africa and your child is dying of a treatable disease. It is brought to your attention that the drug used to treat your child’s disease costs less than $1 to produce but you would have to pay more than $1,000 to purchase it (an amount that is impossible for you to pay). Tragically, you watch your child die as you are consumed with grief, confusion, and resentment for global pricing structures. Read More…

 

Hart, Rabbi Ari. “Enter the Word! Social Media and the Story of Noah.” Huffington Post. 7 October 2013.

Here?s a thought experiment: Try and remember every single word you emailed, tweeted, of posted to Facebook this week. Ok, got it? No? Can you remember a half of what you said? A third? A tenth? A hundredth? So many words! Read More..

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “An Apology to Jewish Thinkers Throughout History that have been Ostracized.” Times of Israel. 4 October 2013.

Historically, the worst punishment one could receive in the Jewish community was herem, or excommunication. One was completely ostracized from the Jewish community, yet – unlike today – generally could not turn to the secular or non-Jewish world for refuge. Many were put in herem for immoral actions but many for unpalatable ideological positions, such as Baruch Spinoza and Leon Trotsky. Maimonides, generally thought to be the greatest of Jewish philosophers, had his own books burnt, as did the great 20th century legal authority Rabbi Moshe Feinstein. Read More..

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Confirmation Bias and the Ethical Demands of Argumentation.” Huffington Post. 3 October 2013.

People tend to be one-sided in their perspectives, and this can lead to poor decision making. Confirmation bias is the tendency people have to favor facts or arguments that confirm the beliefs and positions they already hold. The extreme form of this bias is referred to as “belief perseverance” when people hold onto their beliefs even after they’ve been proven false. Often it is due to wishful thinking or an inability to alter one’s emotional attachment to an idea. In daily life as citizens and as religious people, this tendency is destructively blinding, and we must work to combat it. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Discrimination in the Workplace: How Do You Judge?” Jewish Journal. 2 October 2013.

The Torah teaches that G-d does not show favoritism (Deuteronomy 10:17). G-d does not discriminate, and we are asked to emulate that example. This command is made explicit (Deuteronomy 16:19): People are to be treated equally. When it comes to procedural justice, all (even the poor) are to be treated equally: “You shall not favor the poor and you shall not honor the great” (Leviticus 19:15). However, when it comes to social justice (dealing with legislative matters rather than judicial matters), the vulnerable must be given extra support. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Adapting to Change: Sending the Dove from the Ark.” Times of Israel. 2 October 2013.

Why does Noah send the dove from the ark to see if there is any dry land? Perhaps it is just human nature to want to know what is going on, but the Torah spends multiple verses on Noah sending the dove. Nothing will change for him (and all on the ark) if the dove finds dry land; they will wait for the ark to hit dry land in any case.Read More…

 

Hart, Rabbi Ari. “Parting Gifts from God: The End of the Jewish Holidays.” Huffington Post. 30 September 2013.

The two-month marathon of Jewish holidays is over. For many, (myself included), there is a feeling of some of relief — no more cooking, no more emails piled up after missed days of work, back to regular life. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Spiritual Courage: Fear No Man.” Huffington Post. 30 September 2013.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King faced many death threats throughout his life. In the spring of 1968, as he planned a Poor People’s March on Washington, D.C., to support economic rights for America’s poor, he decided to stop in Memphis to help striking sanitation workers, who were paid very little and also mostly black. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Teaching by Modeling: Living With Inspiration.” Huffington Post. 24 September 2013.

We can preach and teach all day long but if we don’t live those values there will be no power of influence. Transformative education happens through mentorship and a life of modeled virtue. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “To Dust You Shall Return:The Dignity of Burial.” Times of Israel. 22 September 2013.

After the horrific stories of burning bodies in crematoria, the thought of any burnt body haunts me. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Celebrating the Joy of Multiple Perspectives.” Jewish News. 18 September 2013.

Simchat Torah is one of the most unique Jewish holidays, where we paradoxically celebrate the most intellectual of Jewish activities (Torah study) through the most emotional expression (singing and dancing). What is it exactly that we’re celebrating? Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Prophetic Pluraism: Reaching Higher Truth Together.” Times of Israel. 15 September 2013.

While epistemic pluralism is generally considered to be a post-Enlightenment phenomenon, we can see the beginnings of this thinking in the writings of the Prophets. Consider the words of Micah. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “On Yom Kippur, Praying Mightily for Syria.” Washington Post. 12 September 2013.

I know as an Orthodox rabbi I shouldn’t struggle with prayer, especially since atrocities occur throughout the world each day, but this year feels different. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “The Intelligence of Man and of Beast.” Huffington Post. 29 August 2013.

Every day, hundreds of millions of chickens are held in small cages with no mobility. When many of us are confronted with the realities of factory farming, we rely on the rationalization that these animals are for our consumption, and aren’t intelligent enough to understand or feel what is happening to them anyway. This is not true, however; animals have a meaningful intelligence of their own. Read More…


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “For Health Reform to Succeed, Millenials Must Participate.” Jewish Week. 29 August 2013.

Jewish law is deeply concerned about and committed to healthcare being a matter of collective responsibility. The American Jewish community is vocal in support of healthcare reform, and and over the past few years there has been great progress in ensuring that the most vulnerable are able to get the healthcare they need. Yet the ultimate success or failure of Obamacare may be up to millenials, many of whom are relucant to participate.Read More…


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Honoring Our Parents: Can We Learn from China?”
 Jewish Press. 26 August 2013.

It is well known that millions of elderly Americans are neglected at their most vulnerable time. Jewish law, however, requires multiple times and in multiple ways that we honor our parents (Exodus 20:11, Exodus 21:15, Exodus 21:17, Leviticus 19:3, Deuteronomy 27:16).Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Cognitive Conflict: Should Educational Debates Be Competitive or Collaborative?”. Huffington Post. 26 August 2013.

I recently made the case for the importance of developing argument skills and explored various academic approaches to enhancing cognitive development. We must also explore whether we’ll embrace a competitive or collaborative learning environment to further student growth. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Core Values for Strong 21st Century Jewish Leadership.” Jewish Journal. 16 August 2013.

There are many different kinds of leaders, different leadership traits, and different processes of leadership. Ultimately, one must be authentic to their values, personality, and social change philosophy. These core principles outlined here helped to motivate me and help me navigate difficult issues where I yearn for better realities. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “What If You Found A Diamond? The Mitzvah of Returning Lost Objects.” Jewish Journal. 25 August 2013.

Leaving aside religious conviction, local laws, and even secular morality for a moment, consider this question: What would you do if you were homeless and stumbled across a very valuable object that could help you eat and get back on your feet? Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Drinking and Driving: Raising the Bar?” Times of Israel. 22 August 2013.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently suggested lowering the legal threshold assessing drunk driving – the blood-alcohol content (BAC) level – from the current level of 0.08 to 0.05. A 160-lb. man can reach that level of 0.05 with two beers or a single martini; a 120-lb. woman can reach that level with one glass of wine. With current regulation, drunken driving accounts for around 10,000 a year in the United States. The hope is that lowering the legal limit will prevent even more of these tragic deaths; one study shows that this move can save more than 500 lives a year. Read More…


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Adultery and Marriage: A Jewish Approach to Monogamy.”
 Jewish Press. 22 August 2013.

It is well known that one of the Ten Commandments is the prohibition of adultery. Extramarital sex has historically been a man’s game, since the male sexual desire is stereotypically assumed to be uncontrollable. A recent survey by the National Opinion Research Center has shown, however, that the number of married American women having adulterous affairs has nearly doubled over the last decade. Today, 21 percent of men admit to having such affairs while 14.7 percent of women now admit to having them. Read More…


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Debt Crisis: National and International.” Huffington Post. 20 August 2013.

Since the economic crash of 2008, millions of Americans have suffered as they drown in debt. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Developing Cognitive Competence: Learning the Skills of Argument.” Huffington Post. 19 August 2013.

Earlier I shared an educational problem that scholars have described as a crisis in poor critical thinking training found in American schools today. We must still better appreciate the value of an argument-skills curriculum.Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Failing In Order to Succeed.” Jewish Press. 19 August 2013.

The rabbis teach that we can only truly understand Torah when we allow ourselves to fail at it (Gittin 43a). Unless we push ourselves to reach for deeper understanding, where we inevitably get it wrong before we can get it right, we will not grasp the very essence of the Jewish enterprise. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “The Need for Empowering and Ethical Jewish Outreach.” E-Jewish Philanthropy. 18 August 2013.

In my personal religious journey, I was fortunate to have found the right mentors and educators who supported and challenged me but also never attempted to manage my life journey. They cared deeply about my growth but the steering wheel was always in my hands. I strive to emulate that model in my own leadership and outreach.Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “A Society With Poor Critical Thinking Skills: The Case for ‘Arguement’ in Education.”Huffington Post. 15 August 2013.

Researchers have shown that most students today are weak in critical thinking skills. They do poorly on simple logical reasoning tests (Evans, 2002). Only a fraction of graduating high school seniors (6 percent of 12th graders) can make informed, critical judgments about written text (Perie, Grigg, and Donahue, 2005). This problem applies to both reading and writing. Only 15 percent of 12th graders demonstrate the proficiency to write well-organized essays that consisted of clear arguments (Perie et al., 2005). Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Shmuly. “Noah: My Animal Welfare Hero.” Times of Israel. 14 August 2013.

I was a 23-year-old graduate student when I decided to be a vegetarian after attending a lecture by Professor Martha Nussbaum on the neo-Aristotelian capabilities argument, which holds that it is morally wrong to shorten any other being’s capability or potential. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “One Special Mitzvah and Paying it Forward” Times of Israel. 8 August 2013.

What does loyalty and commitment to high quality religious performance mean? Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “To Bet or Not to Bet: Jewish Concerns with Gambling and the Lottery” The Jewish Week. 6 August 2013.

Judaism is mostly a rationalist tradition that embraces free will, critical thinking, and the importance of the intellect. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Hebrew School: A Failed Experiment” Times of Israel. 5 August 2013.

Growing up, I spent years’ worth of Sundays being bored out of my mind, asked to memorize dates and names, playing games well below my level, and singing songs I didn’t understand. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Was the Destruction of the Temple Good For the Jews? A Tisha B’Av Reflection.”Times of Israel. 12 July 2013.

Also have trouble crying for the Temple? Why is it that we mourn on Tisha B’Av? Paradoxically, one of the most tragic events in Jewish history (the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash) may also have forced the most generative stimuli that ever propelled the Jewish People forward! Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “The Torah Does Not Heal!” Times of Israel. 9 July 2013.

Religion has rightly been criticized for serving as a justification for oppression, but by the same measure it can be the vehicle for truth, justice, and good in the world. Read More…

 

Hart, Rabbi Ari. “‘Damage by Seeing — Jewish Insights for the Privacy Debate.” Huffington Post. 8 July 2013.

What quality makes a society great? Is it justice? Freedom? Opportunity?

One famous Jewish teaching claims none of the above. Rather, it claims privacy makes a society great. The Bible teaches a story about a prophet named Bilaam who was hired to curse the children of Israel, but upon seeing the society, was only able to say blessings, like How good are your tents Jacob… like gardens by the river, like fragrant herbs planted by God.” What prompted this blessing when he was hired to do the opposite? What goodness did he see? The Talmud explains: “He saw that their tent openings did not face each other.” The Israelite society was structured in a way that people could not see into each other’s inner lives. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Work-Life Balance: Valuing Time Off For All in the Workplace.” Huffington Post. 8 July 2013.

A 2011 survey found that over 60 percent of childless women between the ages of 33 and 47 believed that their colleagues with children were given more schedule flexibility with employers. It is a positive development that the workplace tends to acknowledge the importance of parenting, but we must also be sure that the life choices and circumstances of other employees are not devalued. Kat Stoeffel in New York magazine questioned whether “children are the only extra-professional pursuit moral enough to justify working a flexible 40-hour week.” Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “The Case For Intellectual Judaism: Adults Can’t Rely on Their 3rd Grade Education.”Times of Israel. 8 July 2013.

Piety left the center stage of Jewish life with the destruction of the Temple, when we moved from a religion based in priestly rite to the academic, detailed, and all-encompassing structure of rabbinic Judaism. The paradigm shift not only moved our community from a religion centered on animal sacrifices to a religion of prayer and study; it was also the transition from piousness to an intellectual, legalistic religion. Judaism came and proclaimed to the world, “Ideas matter!” Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “A Growing Divide: The Ultra-Orthodox in the Army & Workplace.” Times of Israel. 4 July 2013.

As one who has lived and learned among the Ultra-Orthodox, I have a great respect and affinity for the community. I also feel as a religious Jew that I stand in solidarity with that community in our absolute commitment to the Torah. With every love, however, comes concerns and I am not alone in being deeply worried about Ultra-Orthodox spiritual-intemperance, isolation, and poverty. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Not Jews Yet Jewish! Welcoming the ‘Seed of Israel’.” Times of Israel. 1 July 2013.

The typical discourse in the Orthodox community suggests that the world consists of a binary between “Jews” and “Non-Jews.” Most of the time this makes sense, but at other times it inevitably leads toward unnecessary exclusion. Instead, I’d like to propose that there are three categories: 1) Non-Jews; 2) Halakhic Jews; and 3) Members of the Jewish people. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “The Next Generation: Empowering Leadership and Learning For Emerging Adults.”Times of Israel. 30 June 2013.

We’ve all heard the story. People in their 20s and 30s are marrying later, taking longer to complete their studies, switching jobs more often, living at home longer, and not joining and forming their own communities. Jennifer Silva, a Harvard researcher, recently argued that “Adulthood is not simply being delayed but dramatically reimagined along lines of trust, dignity and connection and obligation to others,” and that we should not cringe at this “problem” but instead embrace it as an opportunity. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “The Virtue of Modesty: A Reflection on the Theological Value of Privacy.” Jewish Week. 28 June 2013.

In recent years, debates about the right to privacy have emerged stronger than ever. Especially in light of last week’s events, there are political issues to explore, but we all also have our own introspective work to do to grow in our own sense of modesty (tzniut). Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Time for A Panentheistic Revolution: An Ethical Theology of Connectedness.”Huffington Post. 26 June 2013.

Ready to embrace a spiritual revolution to raise the stakes for our social justice impact?

Most monotheistic approaches suggest that G-d alone created the world but that G-d is separate and to some degree removed from the world. The resulting view is that either the Divine is “isolated” from humanity or humanity is “alienated” from the Divine. Pantheism, an approach that monotheists reject, suggests that G-d is everything (or literally all is in G-d, pan = all, theos = G-d). There is, however, a middle ground called panentheism where everything is still a part of, or in, G-d, yet G-d created everything and is still greater than everything. Among leading rabbinic thinkers of the last few centuries, Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook and Rav Shneur Zalman of Lyady most famously embrace this approach. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Are Watches Forbidden? When Halachic Prohibitions Go Too Far.” Times of Israel. 24 June 2013.

Last year, eighty-five-year-old Ultra-Orthodox posek Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky ordered his followers to burn their iPhones. According to Rabbi Kanievsky and many Haredi rabbis, the outside world, especially Internet, must be kept out of consciousness, and anyone who has a cell phone with Internet and video capabilities should be shunned. Not only did he forbid owning one; on grounds thata Jew cannot sell weapons (which iPhones are) to a non-Jew, he also forbade owners from selling it – instead one must “burn it!” (His position on the relative importance of the custom to wear a hat is also cause for concern.) Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “The Food Aid Bill: We Will Progress Step by Step.” Huffington Post. 24 June 2013.

Last week, there was a great opportunity on Capitol Hill to pass a comprehensive, updated Farm Bill, which by a strange arrangement governs foreign food aid as well as the domestic Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as the food stamp program). Thus far, there has been a frustrating series of reversals at all attempts to update or improve the bill. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Hitting Children for Obedience? Parenting With Compassion!” Times of Israel. 20 June 2013.

Now, it’s true that the Rambam (Talmud Torah 2:2) thought we should hit children (and women) to instill fear in them. Read More…


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Imperfect Knowledge and Anger Toward Heaven.” Jewish Week. 20 June 2013.

We live in a complex world. At its best, religion makes reality more complicated rather than more simple to understand. It reminds us how noble ideas are, how small we are, how little we understand, and how complex the human condition and the world are. We can learn about the interconnected complex nature of our world from an insight in Kabbalah. Read More…


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Tnuva: Addressing the Current Animal Welfare Crisis.” Times of Israel. 20 June 2013.

More than a century ago, Americans became outraged after investigative journalists (derisively called “muckrakers” at first) and novelists uncovered the deplorable conditions under which slaughterhouses operated. The alarming reports of unsanitary slaughtering and processing techniques led to passage of the first legislation to ensure the inspection of meat so as to prevent consumers from coming to harm, and for decades afterward the incidence of food poisoning diminished. At that time, neither the animals who were killed at these plants, nor the workers who labored there, garnered much attention. In this century, a new movement has emerged, one of men and women who stand for the humane treatment of animals, including those that are slaughtered. Some critics argue that there is no such thing as humane slaughter; interestingly, rabbis in Israel have weighed in on this issue during a current legal case. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Jesus, Shabbat Violators, and an Ethic of Tolerance.” Huffington Post. 19 June 2013.

Rabbi David Tzvi Hoffmann, who became rector of the Rabbinical Seminary of Berlin in 1899, straddled traditional Orthodox beliefs with modern thought. He was the leading halakhic scholar in Germany during the early 20th century, but he also used scientific method to analyze religious texts, and he wrote in German, not Hebrew. Rabbi Hoffman dealt very seriously with the question of how Shabbat desecrators are to be viewed in modernity: In Melamed L’ho’il, he wrote one of the most significant and formative halachic rulings of the 20th century: Read More…


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “The Power of Language: Cultivating Positive Emotions.” Jewish Journal. 19 June 2013.

Language affects the heart. When we’re surrounded by others who speak negatively, it can really affect our mood and disposition. Are we aware of how much negative language there is around us? Read More…


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “The Jewish Service Revolution: Challenges and Opportunities.” Huffington Post. 17 June 2013.

Money may make the world go around, but social media has shown that big ideas can achieve big impact and far reach without any money at all. Running parallel to this, when it comes to Jewish values, philanthropy is certainly extremely important, but we can never neglect the equally important value of service. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “The Essence of Judaism is Obligation: The Foundation for Pluralism.” The Times of Israel. 11 June 2013.

The fundamental commitment of being a Jew is to answer the question, “Ayeka” (where are you?), with “Hineni” (here I am), affirming a sense of responsibility and obligation to the other. Read More…


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Mandela, Lincoln and the Tutsis: A Future Built on Forgiveness.” Huffington Post. 6 June 2013.

There are hurts so deep that forgiveness of those who did the hurting seems impossible. I have encountered so many who have become alienated from people they love over a disagreement that no longer matters. Neither was able to ask for or give forgiveness and so they parted ways. Read More…


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Can’t Give Up Brisket? Then Start with Veal!” The Times of Israel. 3 June 2013.

Even those committed to eating kosher meat should consider not eating veal. Baby calves prepared for slaughter often are sick, consume only non-kosher food, and live under extreme conditions to ensure the meat will be white, respectively involving possible terefa, kashrut (Ramah and Shach, Y.D. 60:1), and tzaar baalei chaim issues. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “The Aish Kodesh: Inflated Success and Positive Reinforcement.” Jewish Week. 29 May 2013.

Many child development books today encourage using only positive language with children. Instead of speaking with discouraging, critical, or punitive language, one should frame the direction in the positive. While there is clearly some benefit to this approach, when done incorrectly it may also further a next generation of inflated egos. There is already no lack of unearned “validation” in our culture. The authors of Switch explain: Read More…


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Violence in Sports: Promoting Character Development in Youth Athletics.”Huffington Post. 29 May 2013.

I grew up as a hardcore competitive athlete. I learned to cultivate perseverance to run the extra mile at full speed, teamwork to pass the ball, and a disciplined work ethic to challenge myself to the next level. But it was not always pretty. I can recall bloody backyard football games, injuries in varsity basketball, and elbow checks in cross country meets. Growing up as a committed competitive athlete had its thrills but it was not easy or painless.Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “The Limits of Reason and the Ethics of Inclusivity.” Times of Israel. 28 May 2013.

Throughout Jewish history, new ideas have emerged and been integrated into Jewish thought. Rationalism is one example of this phenomenon, but the countermotion to this mode of thinking is just as well-established in our tradition. For example, while the Rambam was the great Jewish champion for rational thinking, he also knew its limits. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Bystanders, Levinas, & Our Role as Religious Citizens.” Times of Israel. 27 May 2013.

The power of group conformity can lead us to absurd behavior where we do not help others or even ourselves!Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Lessons on Tzedakah from The Sanzer Rebbe.” Jewish Journal. 26 May 2013.

Sometimes we are more concerned with not being duped than we are with ensuring that we achieve the right goal. Perhaps it’s okay to be naively taken advantage of a little bit if it helps ensure that we don’t harden our hearts. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Bangladesh: We Must Prevent Future Industrial Disasters.” Jewish Week. 24 May 2013.

Over 700 Bangladeshis have tragically died in the collapse of a building housing several garment factories. It appears that the owners of the Rana Plaza factory building had illegally added three floors to the structure and installed generators and machines that caused the vibrations that led to its collapse. While this is the highest death toll in a single garment factory, the death of workers in this region is not uncommon, as hundreds of Bangladeshi garment workers, women and men, have been badly burnt, suffocated or crushed to death. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Contemporary Politics: Oaths Made in Vain.” Huffington Post. 22 May 2013.

The power of speech is one of the most amazing human faculties: The great Bible commentator Onkelos (on Genesis 2:7) goes so far as to suggest that this is the defining feature of being human. How we use our speech ultimately determines what we are about. Read More…


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Vanilla and Chocolate Swirled With Compassion: The Case for Buying Fair Trade.” Times of Israel. 21 May 2013.

Until 1865, most Americans consumed cotton, tobacco, sugar, and other goods produced by slave labor. Some dedicated abolitionists refused to use these products. Today, we face a similar problem, as many products that we consume daily are produced with forced or child labor, with farmers and artisans working for starvation wages, and in an unsustainable manner that damages and depletes the environment. Fortunately, we now have a better option than merely a boycott: We can insist on fair trade certification. Read More…


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Distractions and the Spiritual Art of Focusing.” Times of Israel. 21 May 2013.

In the technology era, we are all finding it increasingly difficult to concentrate for long periods of time on one task.Between text messages and phone messages, email, Facebook and other social media, we are constantly responding to communications from all directions. Our brains must continually adjust to these different technologies and forms of communication. Gloria Mark of the University of California at Irvine found that, in the workplace, the average employee gets around 11 minutes to focus on a task before being interrupted. It then takes around 25 minutes to return one’s focus to the original taskRead More…


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “A Spiritual Start-Up Nation.” Jewish Week. 13 May 2013.

Dan Senor and Saul Singer authored a popular book called Start-Up Nation, showing how Israel has become a mecca for entrepreneurship and business innovation. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Damage by Watching: Drones & Privacy.” Zeek by The Forward. 26 April 2013.

Jeremy Bentham, a leading 18th-century utilitarian thinker, advocated the panopticon prison, where convicts would be placed under constant surveillance by a central control station. The most notable critique of the panopticon prison model came from philosopher Michel Foucault, who viewed it as integral model for a “disciplinary society.” Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Should Children Be In Solitary Confinement?” Huffington Post. 22 April 2013.

In 1840, Charles Dickens visited a prison in Philadelphia and wrote: “I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain, to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body.” Read More…


Hart, Ari. “5 Jewish Responses to the Boston Attacks, From Rabbinic and Torah Sources.” Huffington Post. 17 April 2013.

As our nation reels and begins to recover from this week’s attacks, our religious traditions can offer wisdom and comfort. Below are five primary sources from the Jewish canon. I hope you find some of them helpful in your own grieving and processing. May God protect the wounded, help our national heal and help bring the perpetrators to justice. Read More…


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Rabbi Michael Broyde: Identity Deception, Apologies, and Forgiveness.” Times of Israel. 14 April 2013.

Rabbi Michael Broyde is a law professor and the academic director of the Law and Religion Program at Emory University. He holds a JD from NYU, rabbinic ordination from YU, is a leading judge for the prestigious Beit Din of America, and has authored more than 100 important articles and other books. He is known as a very significant scholar in the Centrist Orthodox community. Yet all of his credibility has now been called into question. Read More….


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Eating Stale Popcorn: Holiness Through Consumer Empowerment.” Times of Israel. 10 April 2013.

How much stale popcorn do you eat?

A team of researchers at Cornell University wanted to assess eating patterns, so they gave movie attendees old stale popcorn in buckets of different sizes, weighing the buckets before and after the movie to measure precisely how much popcorn each person ate. The results were striking: People with the largebuckets ate 53 percent more popcorn than people with the medium-size buckets. While each movie attendee was equally hungry, and each had equally bad stale popcorn, those with larger buckets ate the equivalent of 173 more calories and dipped their hands into their buckets approximately 21 more times. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “A People of Compassion:Calling for Transparency in Animal Cruelty.” Times of Israel. 9 April 2013.

A Jew is expected to be obsessed with compassion. The Sages taught that being compassionate is a prerequisite to truly be Jewish: “Jews are compassionate children of compassionate ancestors (rachmanim b’nei rachmanim) and one who is not compassionate cannot truly be a descendant of our father Abraham” (Beitzah 32b). Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Rabbi Dov Linzer, A Posek for the 21st Century.” Times of Israel. 9 April 2013.

For many years, I met poskim (Jewish legal authorities) who were brilliant but I felt lacked a sensitivity to the modern human condition. I met others who I felt were deeply sensitive but were more narrow in their approach to Jewish texts. In recent years, however, I spent a great deal of time learning with Rabbi Dov Linzer, the Rosh Yeshiva and Dean of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, and found his erudition to be unmatched and his deep human sensitivity to be awe-inspiring. The Rosh Yeshiva is under 50 years old but his talmudic scholarship, brilliant insights, and menschlikeit are unmatched. Read More…


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Strangers, Immigrants and the Eglah Arufah.” Jewish Journal. 5 April 2013.

The Jewish tradition places a strong emphasis on our duties toward the stranger. The Rabbis returned repeatedly to the injunction: “you shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 22:20). Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch elaborated on this teaching, explaining that there are no preconditions for receiving basic rights other than being human: Read More…


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Close Gitmo Now.” Jewish Journal. 5 April 2013.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe taught “You see, if there is one place on earth that is most un-G dly, it is prison. In prison a person is stripped of that which makes him uniquely human: his freedom. For this reason there is no punishment of jail in Jewish law.” This is even truer when one never experienced a fair trial yet is subject to isolation and torture. Read More…


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Five Years After The Postville Immigration Raid: Revisiting Immigration Reform.” Jewish Journal. 4 April 2013.

It feels like yesterday that Rabbi Ari Hart and I were in Postville, Iowa speaking with workers to learn about their suffering and to offer our solidarity. The tears and pain of the immigrant women and children we encountered will always be with me. But it has been five years since the kosher scandal and the immigration raid shook the Jewish community and the world. What has changed since then? Read More…


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “The Cost of A Tombstone: Another Approach.” Jewish Journal. 3 April 2013.

In preparing to officiate at a funeral yesterday, I met with a family to make the arrangements and prepare the eulogy. I informed the mourning children that they might consider wearing an old garment at the funeral so that we could rip it before the ceremony (“tear keriah“) as is traditionally done. The response I received was the first I had ever received of its kind. The son told me that he would not do it. He said that for his father, he would only tear his nicest new garment. His father deserved it. I was very inspired by his unique commitment and how much this ritual meant to him. Read More…


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Stealing from Special Needs Children and the Taxpayer: Does it Get Any Lower?” Jewish Journal. 3 April 2013.

Just when we thought Orthodox scandals couldn’t get worse, we learn that millions of taxpayer dollars have been illegally diverted to Jewish institutions by unscrupulous and self-interested parties. Bnos Bais Yaakov, an ultra-Orthodox school in New York, was one of the city’s largest recipients of funding for disability services. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Jewish Business Ethics: Proper Marketing and Selling.” Jewish Journal. 31 March 2013.

There is a famous business concept called caveat emptor (buyer beware). In secular society, as long as a seller does not blatantly lie or actively conceal a defect, it is the full responsibility of the buyer to exercise due diligence and to inspect what is being purchased. Jewish law takes a totally different approach: It is presumed that no defects or problems exist in a product or property if they are not disclosed explicitly by the seller. Read More…


Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “We Are Still in Egypt.” Jerusalem Post. 30 March 2013.

THE PASSOVER Seder is designed to bring about joy, but even more than that, its purpose is to remind us of human struggle. Through this moral consciousness, our human conscience is rebooted. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Do You Really Know What You’re Buying? Another Kosher Scandal.” Jewish Journal. 29 March 2013.

The rabbis teach that the paradigmatic case of chillul Hashem (descreation of the Name of G-d) is how we buy and sell meat (Yoma 86a). That’s why what seems to be the most recent scandal this week is another major blow to the credibility of American kosher establishments. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Feeding Our Workers.” Jewish Week. 21 March 2013.

I recall my experiences as a teenager working waiting tables in various restaurants. There was a high-paced energy that was difficult to maintain, but the greatest challenge was constantly being hungry while serving others food. Today, many have it much worse than anything I experienced, because they work long shifts with no breaks at all to eat. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Reclaiming the Morality of Our Torah: A Response To Rabbi Hershel Schachter.” Jewish Journal. 20 March 2013.

Recently, a scandal emerged within the Orthodox community when Rabbi Hershel Schachter, a halakhic leader and member of the faculty of Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), made an overtly racist comment that was recorded at a London conference. The greatest objections (including from Yeshiva University) revolve around his reluctance to sanction the reporting of sex crimes directly to the police (mesirah), warning that if a Jewish sex offender were sent to a state prison, he might be killed by the warden, or beput “in a cell with a shvartze, in a cell with a Muslim, a black Muslim who wants to kill all the Jews.” Read More…

 

Hart, Rabbi Ari. “Authenticity in a False World.” Huffington Post. 6 March 2013.

What is the realest thing you know?

A few weeks ago, I posted this question as my Facebook status. These were some of the answers my friends wrote: Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Special Report from Washington DC: This Year, AIPAC Should Support the Syrian Rebels.” Jewish Journal. 3 March 2013.

What would you do if I told you Hezbullah was multiplying its strength? If international jihadists from across the world were setting up camp on Israel’s border? This is not hypothetical. These situations–both of them–are taking place in Syria right now, as the beleaguered autocratic regime of Bashar el-Assad struggles to contain an armed uprising against his rule. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Steipler Rav & Kapishnitzer Rebbe – Loving Family Through Acts of Kindness.”Jewish Journal. 28 February 2013.

In the Jewish tradition, love is considered to be more of an action than an emotion. Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik wrote:
The Bible spoke of the commandment to love one’s neighbor (Leviticus 19:18). However, in Talmudic literature, emphasis was placed not only upon sentiment, but upon action, which is motivated by sentiment. The Hoshen Mishpat, the Jewish code of civil law, analyzes not human emotions but actual human relations. The problem of Hoshen Mishpat is not what one feels toward the other, but how he acts toward him (Family Redeemed, p. 40).Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “How Do We Relate To Morally Difficult Texts in Jewish Tradition?” Jewish Week. 27 February 2013.

We have all become familiar with the tactics of bigots who distort our religious beliefs or make up horrible lies to advance their hatred. Fortunately, most people in our pluralistic society recognize and reject these tactics. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “The Pope and Jewish Communal Professionals: Staying in a Job Too Long? The Need for Term Limits!” Jewish Journal. 27 February 2013.

I have been involved with many institutions where someone clearly overstayed his or her welcome in a certain position. That person should have retired, transitioned, or resigned years (maybe even decades) earlier, but found ways to maneuver such that he or she could stick around, with the majority of folks involved in the organization becoming deeply resentful and the organization itself having its growth stunted. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Rousseau, Civilized Man, and Chametz in the Heart!” Jewish Journal. 23 February 2013.

It is generally viewed as a success of the Enlightenment that we have cast off what philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau called “homme sauvage” (the natural, free, wild man) and built up the “homme civilize” (the civilized, enlightened, modern man). As Rousseau, who paradoxically opposed much of what the Enlightenment brought about, famously wrote in The Social Contract: “Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains. One thinks himself the master of others, and still remains a greater slave than they.” Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Is Haman Alive Today? Purim & Happiness!” Jewish Journal. 22 February 2013.

The Jewish holiday of Purim, which begins tonight, is a joyous time of celebration. The story of the Book of Esther is familiar: In the 4th century BCE, the Persian King Ahasuerus fell under the influence of his evil prime minister Haman, who resented the Jews who refused to bow down to him. In revenge, Haman persuaded the King to issue a secret decree to kill all the Jews on the 13th of Adar, and he made preparations to hang Mordechai the Jew for his refusal to prostrate himself before Haman in submission. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “The Force of the Orthodox Union.” Jewish Journal. 21 February 2013.

The Orthodox Union (OU) is the leading organization supporting and building the American Orthodox community. Its teen and young adult engagement efforts stretch across North America through NCSY and JLIC; its lay and rabbinic community building efforts are significant, with its work in supporting synagogues around the country, those with disabilities through Yachad, and rabbinic leaders through the RCA; its advocacy work is also noteworthy, with significant resources devoted to domestic and Israel policy lobbying. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Combatting Sloth!” Jewish Journal. 21 February 2013.

Classically, the vice of sloth (laziness) had two components:

  1. acedia – a lack of caring or indifference
    tristtitia – sadness, sorrow, or despair

I would argue that the negative aspect of individualism that exists today in 21st century is furthered by acedia.Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Activisms of Love and Hate.” Jewish Journal. 21 February 2013.

Should we fight for justice with hearts full of love or hearts full of anger? Which is more rewarding? Which is more productive? Which must we cultivate as religious activists? Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “The Mitzvah of Adoption, Denied Orphans in Russia, and The Baal Shem Tov.”Jewish Journal. 19 February 2013.

A Chabad family in Nepal recently made a great public Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of G-d’s name) byadopting a starving child. While definitions for these terms vary, what is clear is that there are millions of orphans around the world and we must all do our partRead More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Justice in this World!” Jewish Journal. 14 February 2013.

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, the 19th century work of Jewish law by Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried, teaches that “it is prohibited for a person to appeal for judgment from Heaven (i.e., Divine retribution) against his fellow who wronged him. This prohibition applies only if he has recourse to attain justice here on earth. And anyone who cries out to Heaven about his fellow, he is punished first” (29:14). Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “A Reflection on the Actualization of Human Potential.” Jewish Journal. 13 February 2013.

Our work is never done! This is what makes Jewish activism so intimidating and also so invigorating. We never complete the larger goals. We are never whole. Until the day that we pass from the earth, we are unable to fully step back and “throw the towel in.” The Maharal M’Prague taught: Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “A Reflection on the Pursuit of G-d in Justice.” Jewish Journal. 12 February 2013.

“Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with beings divine and human and have prevailed,” (Bereshit 32:29). Yaakov Avinu is blessed with a new name only once he has struggled both with G-d and humanity together. The Jewish people are named Israel only after existential encounters with divinity and humanity! Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “A Reflection on Messianic Yearning.” Jewish Journal. 12 February 2013.

Religious Jews are taught at a young age to yearn for the geulah (redemption). With sophistication, the student comes to learn that messianism is not just about seeking an end but is also a worldview, a process of living with a vision and with a dream. What is one to do if they lack this excitement for life, drive to make change, idealism to envision a better world? Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “A Reflection on the Pace of Life: Patience vs Alacirty.” Jewish Journal. 11 February 2013.

Activism requires a very calculated and sensitive balance between patience and alacrity. On the one hand, one must have the patience for teaching and engaging the apathetic and the uninformed. On the other hand, one must also have the alacrity to respond to crises and injustices at the most crucial time. Most often the precise timing that necessitates immediate action precedes the completion of the essential education and mobilization of the public. This is one of the reasons why the uninformed segments of the public at times view the activist as radical. One must have the courage to act in the name of shalom and tzedek while maintaining patience and respect for more passive critics from one’s own constituency. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Rabbi David Hartman: A Transformative Force and a Unique Legacy.”Huffington Post Blog. 11 February
2013.

Yesterday, we lost a gadol (a great leader). The world was blessed for more than 80 years (1931-2013) with the presence of a hero of Torah, a progressive force for good, a religious pluralist, and an astounding teacher of ethics and spirituality. Rabbi David Hartman was my teacher and the rebbe of thousands around the world. His reach extended from secular Israelis to religious Israelis, from Reform through Orthodox, from the young to the elderly, from the homeland to the diaspora. He was a rabbi’s rabbi, a philosopher for philosophers, and a teacher for teachers. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “A Reflection on Humility.” Jewish Journal. 10 February 2013.

Anivut (humility) has a very special priority in Jewish positive self-development. Rav Kook wrote (The Moral Principles, page 174) that “Humility is associated with spiritual perfection. When humility effects depression it is defective, when it is genuine it inspires joy, courage, and inner dignity.” In short, humility should not diminish our special personality traits; rather it should help us to become unique moral courageous agents of change. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “A Reflection on Responsibility.” Jewish Journal. 10 February 2013.

Responsibility is one of the most important midot (character traits) to cultivate in one’s soul. Acharayut (responsibility in Hebrew) comes from the root “acher” (other). To take responsibility means to cultivate the “ability” for response” to an “other.” This responsibility to another is born in the moment where no one else is present to assist. As Hillel said (Avot 2:6) “uveemkom sh’ain anashim hishtadail lihiyot ish:”in a place where there aren’t people of moral courage taking responsibility, one needs to step up. The Rabbis learned this lesson from Moses himself (Shemot 2:12). He looks both ways to see if someone will help and when he sees that there is no one he takes responsibility. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Immigration Reform: A Jewish Imperative.” Jewish Journal. 31 January 2013.

This week, a bipartisan group of eight U.S. senators announced a new immigration reform effort. The next day, President Barack Obama gave a speech outlining his own plan for immigration reform. We hope these comprehensive efforts help resolve the continuing confusion over this issue; in just the first half of 2012, hundreds of bills and resolutions, often contradictory and misguided, were adopted by 41 state legislatures addressing immigration. Anti-immigrant extremists around the country are moving to amend the 14th Amendment to the Constitution’s guarantee of citizenship to anyone born in the United States, recognizing only those born of citizens. This would affect the 350,000 children born in the United States each year to at least one undocumented immigrant parent. With an estimated 11.5-12 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States today, who face deportation regardless of how long they have been here, change in our country is long overdue. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Kwame Appiah, Jewish Empiricism, and the Guns Debate.” Jewish Journal. 30 January 2013.

Philosophers have long debated how knowledge is acquired. Empiricists believe in the primacy of our senses for determining human knowledge. Rationalists believe that many of our most important ideas and knowledge can be attained by methods independent of our senses and experiences, such as by intuition and deduction. Read More…

 

Yanklowitz, Rabbi Shmuly. “Martin Luther King Day, The Presidential Inauguration, and A Reflection of Conscience.” Jewish Journal. 27 January 2013.

One of the key tests of the quality of one’s faith is whether it moves us to live in accordance with our conscience. Faith cannot cover up our innate moral compass. Rather, it should enhance and refine our spiritual conscience. Our faith should provide us with the fuel to charge forward with what we already know in our essence we must do. Read More…