Red or Blue?

Anyone who has parented a toddler knows the game of pretending to offer free choice without actually doing so. We say, “Do you want to wear the blue shirt or the red one?” hoping to remove the beloved but stained, too-small, ready-for-the-rag bag, tie-dyed option. Sometimes, it even works. Much of the news today treats […]

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Demeaned, Dethroned Debate

I did not watch the dueling governors, Ron DeSantis and Gavin Newsom, last week. Reports tell me that millions of Americans did do so, but I have yet to come across any of them. Like me, those people I’ve asked watched a few opening minutes or caught a highlight reel the next day. But watch

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Junk Mail

Between hectic preparations for Rosh Hashana, celebrating the holiday itself, and catching up with the day after, I neglected to check my email junk box for four days. Among the 200 or so messages that had accumulated, numerous hot Ukrainian women vied for my attention along with many urgent notices from Costco about rewards that

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Politics, Misery, and Strange Bedfellows

Does misery make strange bedfellows or is it politics that do so? In Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest, “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows,” makes its appearance in a very literal way as the king’s jester crawls under a cloak and finds himself with an unusual bedmate. In 1850, an American essayist massaged those words

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Must You Talk about Politics?

I found you and your teachings/explanation of biblical messages more than a decade ago. I looked forward to finding Thought Tools in my inbox because I knew I would learn something new, or relearn something old from a new, informative vantage point – as that was your expertise. As you and Mrs. Lapin seemed to

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Should Religious People Steer Clear of Politics?

Should religious people be involved in politics? Isn’t it better to stay above activities that are so sordid and filled with corruption?∼ Mitch R. Dear Mitch, Ancient Jewish wisdom puts a lot of emphasis on the damage we can do with our ability to speak. We can hurt people badly, destroy livelihoods, damage communities and

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Too Many Voices

If your email inbox looks anything like mine, you are being bombarded by fund-raising screeds around the clock. They shriek (by use of capital letters) that if I don’t donate to candidate X, the sky will fall and America will perish. If I don’t support organization Y, freedom will fail. My helping them, whether an

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A Party Divided

We have never been a television family, but we used to have an old rabbit-ears-antenna TV set in a closet that we pulled out on rare and special occasions. That TV came out on September 11, 2001. As it stayed out for quite a few days, I noticed a TV tug of war unfolding.  On

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Be Holy

Tomorrow is Election Day. But, even if the results are known on Wednesday, the fight for America’s culture will continue—no matter which party wins. Each one of us is busy on so many fronts: family, earning a living, synagogue or church, and our many daily tasks. However, it is a deadly mistake to pay attention

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Family No More?

This period of the Jewish year is a three-week-long time of sad introspection and mourning, starting and ending with a fast day.  As befits mourning, Jewish weddings, live music concerts, and other festive events do not take place during these days. The sad period of 22 days reaches its apex on the ninth day of

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