Friday, June 05, 2020


Moral Distinctions

The Palestinian Authority has embraced mass murderers as heroes and Israel punishes all murderers, whether they murder Arabs or Jews. There is a major moral distinction between the murders of Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel and that of Mohammed Abu Khdeir. The difference is that the Palestinian Authority has embraced such mass murderers as heroes and


Reflections on the Murder of Muhammed Abu Khbeir

(reprinted with permission from the author)

Today we confront the terrible revenge murder of an innocent Palestinian boy, Muhammed Abu Khdeir. Much to our horror six Jews have been arrested for being involved and/or perpetrating this evil deed.

What is our view on this revenge murder?

1. It is an evil forbidden act. Yishai


Zealots For Peace: Recent Events in Israel in Perspective of Parshat Mattot

Parshat Mattot concludes the saga started in Parshat Balak with the Jews’ slaying of the Midianites in revenge for their evil plan of trying to seduce the Jewish People to sin. At the head of the army, according to Rashi, was Pinchas, Aharon’s grandson, who stopped the sinning in an act of zealotry at the end of Parshat Balak, stopping a Jewish


Butterflies, Journeys, and Destinations

We all have moments when we feel butterflies in our stomach, but for these past few weeks those moments have seemed endless.

First there was the frantic search for Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel. Our brave soldiers went house to house, college students came together to speak out through social media, and all Jews, religious and non-religious,


Israel in Crisis: Making Sure We Really Care

During the month of Av, the three week mourning period that we began observing this week is intensified, culminating in our national day of mourning: Tisha B’Av.  Some years however, it seems that Av comes early.  With the tragic murders of the three yeshiva boys and the current crisis Israel faces, the Jewish people have already experienced feelings of sadness and


A Bar Mitzvah Blessing in the Midst of Grief

Earlier today, on Jerusalem’s promenade overlooking the old city, I officiated at the bar mitzvah of Noah Kaye, a lovely young boy from NYC whom I’ve seen grow up over the years. Noah and his family are part of the Sto­rahtelling Lab/Shul community. Before we be­gan the ceremony I asked Noah’s grandfather Isaac to give his grandson a personal blessing- -one


Grappling With This Loss

I have been so moved by the events over the last two weeks in Israel. I have been, for some reason, more affected by this than I have been by the infinite number of horrific trage­dies experienced in Israel prior to this. Maybe it’s because the targets here were children, and as a father I can’t bear the thought of losing my own child in such a way. Maybe it’s


Grassroots Efforts For Kidnapped Boys Brought Out Community’s Best

Over the past 18 days, most, if not all large Jewish group meetings or organizations in the area have begun or ended proceedings with tehillim said for the three kidnapped Is­raeli boys, known to many now by their first names: Naftali, Eyal and Gilad. Weddings and Shabbos davening, as well as daily minya­nim, were punctuated by special prayers said on their


Evangelicals Silent on Hamas Kidnappings

Bradley Scott’s shout-out to the White House, silent so far about the kidnapping of three Israeli youth this week, could also be di­rected at an audience formerly supportive of Israel: American Christian leaders.

Response from American “Christian Pal­estinianists” to the kidnappings this week by Hamas of three Israeli teenagers is almost non-existent.


The Current Incarnation of ISIS

Back in the mid-’70s there was a ground­breaking female superhero on Saturday morn­ing TV called Isis. An American high school science teacher found a magic amulet on an archeological dig in Egypt that allowed her to turn into the ancient goddess Isis who had su­perhuman powers to control the elements and use these powers to fight evil. The show only


Great Leaders Take Great Risks

We are not the first Jews to live with enor­mous uncertainty about the future. Uncer­tainty, however, can be both paralyzing and liberating. When the Jewish people have great leadership, times of great uncertain­ty have become times of opportunity and transformation.

The biblical narrative we read this week (Numbers 13:1-15:41) tells a dramatic story about


The Limits of Students’ Love for Israel

Although Israel has been at the heart of day-school curricula for decades, we have known little about how schools teach and students learn about Israel—at least until last month, when the AviChai Foundation released its study of Israel Education in Jewish day schools and high schools across America. The report explored the following questions: What do schools hope to