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Human Rights

Eighth Day of Passover 5778 – African Refugees in Israel

April 10, 2018
Holot

We have spent the last week celebrating the story of our escape from Egypt. How we were oppressed and abused, our infant sons living under a death decree. We managed to escape with our lives, leaving in such a hurry our bread didn’t have time to rise. All week we’ve been eating matzah and...
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All or Nothing at the Western Wall

July 11, 2017
The Western Wall (Kotel)

All or Nothing? A friend asked an interesting question the other day. “If Israel can’t be the Israel you envision, is it better to not have Israel at all?” Many of the haredim (ultra-Orthodox Jews) clearly feel that way. They are anti-Zionist and believe the current state of Israel, run by a secular government...
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Vayetze 5777 – John Glenn, Yakov Avinu, and Human Rights Shabbat

December 11, 2016
John Glenn

One of my boyhood heroes, former astronaut and US Senator John Glenn, died this past week. John Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth, back in 1962. When I was a kid I wanted to be like him – a test pilot and astronaut. Unfortunately, my lack of perfect vision prevented me...
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Shabbat Sukkah 5777 – Locker Room Talk

October 23, 2016
Trump Bush

Millions of women around America have had old wounds reopened because of recent newspaper coverage of sexual harassment and the way men talk about it. I’m not talking about politics today. A tape of a conversation between Donald Trump and Billy Bush is certainly what has stirred up this particular issue at this particular...
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Balak 5776: Blessings, Curses, and Non-Complementarity

July 24, 2016
Wine

This week’s Torah reading starts with Balak, the king of Moab, (across the Dead Sea from Masada) feeling worried. Very worried. He was worried about the Israelites, who were a force to be reckoned with. He told his elder council, “These guys are going to clean us out like an ox licking up the...
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Geese, ganders and administrative detention

August 30, 2015
Jail cell

First published on The Jerusalem Post on August 20, 2015. by Rabbi Barry Leff. There’s a saying in English: “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” Which explains my initial positive response to the news that three Jewish extremists suspected of being involved in terrorist activities were being held under administrative detention. According...
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