When Professors Throw Rocks

Disagreements should be settled with words, not deadly weapons.

That’s a basic rule of civilized society, and it defines the parameters of the Free Marketplace of Ideas that highlights American civil discourse.  It is a rule that applies equally to plumbers, to auto mechanics, to locksmiths – and, as should go without saying, to members of the academic community, including college professors.  At least, that is what they taught me during my undergraduate days at Columbia University.

And ...

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Time to Pardon Jonathan Pollard

1. Pollard did a terrible, terrible thing.

2. A terrible thing. Just terrible.

3. Horrible. And he messed up the position and status of Jews in American government. He fed into anti-Semites’ worst diatribes about Jews being of diverted loyalty to foreign powers. He had no right to imperil the Jewish position in this country and, thereby, to lend credence to haters elsewhere in the world who wonder about Jews and our loyalties in those countries.

4. He has been sitting in ...

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Kol Nidre- 5764

Kol Nidre — Yom Kippur

Our theme for these Days of Awe – for this year’s High Holidays – is to Return to the roots that were stripped away from our grandparents and great-grandparents one century ago, as they became Jewish History’s “Lost Century.” To Return to our sources. And to get back to who we were. Who we are. And who we can be again.

As to Ashkenazi Jews in America, we talked about how Reform Jews came to America ...

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I am My Kid’s Dad, My Mom’s Kid, and My Torah’s Defender: Radio’ing for Help from Dr. Laura

The Laura Schlessinger stuff has been circulating enough that a brief comment is warranted. And because she is a public figure whose actions and comments touch on our values, it is halakhically proper for me to make these comments that, in a different context, would be forbidden as lashon hara and motzi shem ra’.

First, I have no comment on Shmuly Boteach’s commentary, attached with the Laura article. In the huge assemblage of those who deeply admire and respect Rabbi ...

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On Obama, Democrats, Republicans, Israel, and the Futility of Knowing Who Are Friends

I did not vote for Obama, instead choosing to vote as the exit polls told us that most Jews in Orthodox circles did. Still, I view Obama’s election with fascination and a touch of wonder.

Clearly, Hashem has a plan that we do not yet see or understand regarding Obama. By the natural course of events, Obama should never have been elected or, frankly, even nominated. Historians will not understand it. Nevertheless, he now is the President-elect, and we will recite the same blessing in Shul for his ...

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