J. David Cummings’s poem calls for solidarity in grief: “he taught me that the grieving heart / speaks everywhere a single prayer.”

Mourner’s Kaddish for Gaza Palestinians

Instead of mourning privately––a betrayal of Jewish values––Andy Ratto encourages us to follow his example and publicly mourn the death of Palestinians in Gaza in a “not only personal, but also a public act of spiritual and political solidarity.”

Moving Beyond Despair

Don Waxman proposes a pragmatic approach which will “focus on campaigning for interim measures that Israel could easily adopt, measures that would dramatically improve the lives and enhance the rights of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.”

Created from Man: The Challenges of Bereishit – And How to Teach Them to High School Students

By the time Simchat Torah rolls around each year, I usually find it refreshing. Back to the beginning: creation and all of the lovely and (comparatively) simplistic themes following the weight of Devarim. Last year, however, I had been teaching Bereishit to ninth and tenth graders at a Jewish high school in Chicago for the eight weeks leading up to the holiday, and by that point, I could barely look at the Torah’s introductory story. It’s not that the beauty of the beginning had been lost. But the perceived simplicity had certainly been ripped out from under my previous romanticism of it all.

The Genesis of Gender

A closer look at the Book of Genesis reveals how deeply the gender binary is ingrained in our culture. What would it mean to smash this binary?

Foie Gras, Bondage, Cronuts at Dawn

Blair’s relationship with him was a particularly Californian brand of Elektra complex, constellated by lavish sushi dinners, the interruption of business negotiations to attend her poetry readings, the purchase of swimwear well into her 20s, and on her end, worrying constantly over his health (ironically, in retrospect), visiting him weekly during his brief stint at a minimum security prison, and dedicating to him her two volumes of poetry, Other Minds, Other Bodies and Quantum Vulva.

Christianity for the Postmodern Mind

Christ Actually: The Son of God for the Secular Age

James Carroll
Viking, 2014

The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World

Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu
HarperOne, 2014

James Carroll’s Constantine’s Sword unveiled to many Christians the sordid way that Christian institutions transformed Jesus’s message of liberation into a doctrine to support imperial domination and the persecution of Jews. In this newer book, Carroll attempts to reclaim the prophetic voice of Jesus that is rooted in Jewish messianism: “Recovering that sense of Christian Jewishness, like recovering the Jewishness of Jesus, defines the essential work that Christians must do in a post-Auschwitz world.” Throughout this powerful and insightful presentation of the ways a Christian can be “faithful to the classical tradition of Christian faith while simultaneously limiting assertion about (Jesus) to a modern—or postmodern—mind,” Carroll reads Christian texts from a contemporary perspective, in light of the distortions that led to the destructive misuse of these texts in the past. Contemporary Christians can take special pride in the work of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the outspoken Christian activist whose challenge to apartheid won him the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize. Tutu became the chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which sought to lead his country beyond the pain and anger that had festered under racist oppression. This beautiful and insightful book should be part of the school curriculum in every country of the world.