December 2015

Compromise Isn’t the Answer

Compromise is one of those warm, fuzzy words that sound eminently reasonable. In reality, it is a tool that works extremely well in certain situations and is useless in others. You enjoy partying while your spouse craves quiet evening at home? A compromise that sometimes has you both surrounded by friends and has the two […]

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Why aren’t conservatives compassionate?

Question: I consider myself libertarian conservative and I believe in being financially and morally conservative and obedient. However I’m very questionable on your recent stances on immigration and compassion in relation to scriptures. Leviticus 19:34: But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love

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The 3rd Great Awakening

How quickly time speeds by. It is already a year since I last fulfilled my responsibility as president of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians by soliciting your support. It’s time for me to do so again. Instead of just asking for your help, I would like to deliver to you something of value

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A New Normal?

A strange thing happened to me this week—twice. I’m wondering if this is the new norm. I had two first-time interactions with female representatives from two different companies. Each woman explained her poor customer service and tardy attention to my needs by providing me with details of her children’s lives.  There are many business contacts

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Do you believe in magic?

Question: I have been following your newsletter for some time now, have purchased some of your materials and most recently have been listening to your podcasts on SoundCloud. I have many questions yet to be answered as I continue my journey of faith. I enjoy your teachings and am thankful God led me to you.

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No Rules for Radicals

We accept rules in cartoons. For instance, the late Chuck Jones, a prominent animator for Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, established nine rules for the Wile E. Coyote cartoons. They included “No outside force can harm Coyote; only his own ineptitude or the failure of Acme products can hurt him,” “Coyote is more humiliated than

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Chanuka, Take 2, Take 3…

Celebrating Chanuka is fun. Living at the times of the Maccabees was not. Similarly, Purim, the Feast of Esther, is a joyous celebration. Living in Persia with a death sentence over your head, in the days before Queen Esther revealed her identity, was frightening. Leaving Egypt after ten amazing plagues and the splitting of the

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Is respect earned or given?

Question: Is respect earned or given? ∼ Vinetta D. Answer: Dear Vinetta, In Hebrew, the word usually translated as respect is ‘kavod’. Pronounced differently, the word also means ‘heavy.’ We have the same concept in English where we might say that we ‘give weight’ to an idea as a way of saying that we are

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Mugging or Mayberry

As the rabbi of a fledgling synagogue in Venice, CA, one of my first goals was to build a school. Recognizing that a stable community needs a place to celebrate and pass along its values, Susan and I spent the summer after our marriage recruiting students for an enterprise that, as of yet, had no

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Karen, Tanzania and Islamic Immigrants

Growing up, there were a number of books that I read numerous times. Among them were Karen and With Love from Karen, both written by Marie Killilea. They tell the story of her family’s life after her daughter was born with cerebral palsy. Ignoring the common advice given in the 1940s to institutionalize their daughter

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