Truth Is Stranger Than Truth

There are few moments in my education that stand out more than the time when I asked a professor in rabbinical school about whether and how we should teach biblical criticism. After all, we’d been learning about the approach of archeologists and other academics for a long time. It was one of the backbones of our education.

Yet I did not understand what I was supposed to do with the material. In my student rabbinical jobs I would teach Torah in the usual way but sometimes I would bring it up. Usually, I found my students an eager audience, but I struggled with how to mine the text for wisdom while simultaneously pointing out that so much of its content was simply wrong. Continue reading

Jewish Values: Left-Wing, Right-Wing & Everything In Between

One of the most interesting Jewish writers around these days is Jay Michaelson.  His regular columns in “The Forward” are always provocative even when – perhaps especially when – I disagree with him.  This week he’s written an important column in which he lays out something that too few politically liberal Jews understand:

Well-meaning Jewish liberals…speak innocently of “living out Jewish values” in the pursuit of liberal politics, as if ignorant that our political opponents think they are doing the same thing. Without more articulation, to say we are applying our Jewish values to issues of social justice or human rights is just a sound bite. The other side can say the same thing.

Indeed, the other side says the same thing all the time.  And the other side is just as entitled to do so: Continue reading

How Could God Have Allowed The Holocaust And Other Meaningless Questions

Back in September I wrote a response to Rabbi Alan Lurie’s HuffPost blog about how God is only hiding because we don’t know what to look for.  Lurie is a liberal “non-denominational” rabbi who is actually a very successful businessman and architect.  I am certain he applies sounder thinking to his business interests than to his teaching about God.

Last week he took up the topic of “How Could God Have Allowed the Holocaust?”  He began in the expected way: Continue reading

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho…Onto The Ark We Go!

I just took a few days off to go to Walt Disney World with my daughter and we had a great time.

Speaking of Fantasyland, there is another legend that’s getting its own theme park, but this time it’s in Kentucky and called “Ark Encounter.”  It’s a production of Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis, the people who brought you the Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky. Continue reading

Why "Atheist Rabbi"?

In the wake of the attack on my blog, I thought it might be a good idea to talk about how and why I apply the term atheist to my blog and myself.  Atheism is a word that evokes so much emotion, yet carries only the kernel of one idea.  Since I have a few new readers, and no doubt some who are not atheists, I will do my best to explain myself and the reasons I started this blog. Continue reading