On Jews & American Social Justice

Judaism Beyond Slogans.

American Jews use a lot of buzz words to describe their social justice commitments – tikkun olam, God’s image, loving the stranger. But, what do those terms really mean? And, do they really imply only one point of view on those issues? A controversial talk, with a healthy dose of nuance.

Denial Is Not A River In Egypt.

And yet, that defines exactly how many Americans react to the twin issues of climate change and Sea Level Rise. Those are the biggest issues that we face – as an international community, as a country, and as Jews. What are the Jewish sources? And how do we, truly, repair the world?

How Jews Get ‘Woke’: A Master Class in Talmud.

Never studied Talmud before? This is a snap – especially because it’s in English, and it’s about how to seek social justice in our communities. Fun, funny, and inspirational.

On Israel, Zionism, & The Jewish People

The Z Word: Israel Without Apology.

What is it about Israel and Zionism that is so troublesome, to so many people? Israel was supposed to be the great Jewish unifier. Why is it the source of so much discord within the American Jewish community? A candid conversation about the many narratives that comprise the Israel conversation today.

American Jews are from Mars; Israeli Jews are from Venus.

You know how siblings can be very different from each other? That’s American Jews and Israel. Why are we so different, and how can we still sit together at the same family table?

The Oldest Ism.

Anti-Semitism is alive and well in many places. Why? What is it about the Jews – and Judaism – that arouses so many h4 feelings? How does anti-semitism present itself – in subtle and unsubtle ways?

Some Of Our Best Friends.

Jewish history is more than “they hated us; they tried to kill us; we won; let’s eat!” In every age, there have been gentiles who have nourished and nurtured Jewish life – and Jewish lives.

On Torah, Ritual & Meaning

My Theme is God

An interactive program that teaches Jewish parents, kids, and synagogue leaders how they can spiritually “upgrade” bar and bat mitzvah.

The Prophet Motive.

The Christian author, Frederick Buechner, said: “No prophet was ever invited back a second time to dinner.” Here’s why. An encounter with the biblical texts that we are most likely to ignore.

The Gods Are Broken!

On its most significant level, Judaism is the struggle against idolatry. But idols are not simply objects of wood and stone. Every age has its own idols. What are our idols? And how has this obsession shaped Jewish history and consciousness?

On Gender & Judaism

The Torah of Testosterone.

The world is filled with so many confusing messages about what it means to be masculine. Sometimes, it seems as if machismo has become malignant. What does Judaism have to say? How can our tradition heal and re-affirm men’s lives and experiences?

Outside the Red Tent.

Perhaps you’ve read Anita Diamant’s classic novel about Dinah, the daughter of Jacob. Now learn what the Bible and Midrash really say — the truth about the rape of Dinah. Sexuality, Jewish perceptions of gentiles, power, violence, etc. Not for the weak of heart!

On Jews & Popular Culture

Rock of Israel – A series, or stand-alone presentations:

Fixing the Broken Hallelujah.

An intimate encounter with the theology and poetry of Leonard Cohen – through Christian, Jewish, and mystical imagery.

How Does It Feel?

Bob Dylan has journeyed from Judaism to Christianity, and back again. How do his songs illuminate his spiritual journey?

The Sounds of Silence.

As Paul Simon heads into retirement, it is time for us to assess the religious messages in his songs. What is he really saying?