Guilty By Association?

Historic references to David Salisbury Franks (c. 1740-1793) do not mention anti-Semitism. Franks had a far more serious cloud hanging over him--the unfortunate honor of serving as an…

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Mishpatim 5777-2017

“Majority Rule " This week’s parasha, parashat Mishpatim, is one of the most content-rich parashiot in the entire Torah. Mishpatim, which literally means “laws” or “rules,” serves as the…

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Naso 5780-2020

The Ordeal of the Sotah -- Barbaric or Enlightened? (Revised and Updated from Parashat Naso 5761-2001) by Rabbi Ephraim Z.  Buchwald This week’s Torah portion, Naso, with 176 verses, is…

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A Constitutional Congregation

What does the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania have to do with the oldest synagogue in that state? Congregation Mikveh Israel (Originally Kaal Kadosh Mickve Israel) was founded in the 1740s…

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Devarim 5779-2019

“Judaism’s Unique View of Justice and the Judicial System” (Revised and updated from Devarim 5760-2000) by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald   This week, we begin reading the Book of…

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Devarim 5760-2000

"Judaism's Unique Views on Justice and the Justice System" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This coming week, we begin reading Deuteronomy, the final book of the five books of the Torah.…

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Naso 5761-2001

"The Ordeal of the Sotah - Barbaric or Enlightened?" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week's Torah portion, Naso, with 176 verses, is the longest parasha of the Torah, and always…

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Impeachment and the Jewish Tradition

On February 24, 1868, a U.S. president was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time. Three months later, the U.S. Senate acquitted President Andrew Johnson. 35…

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Mishpatim 5773-2013

"Judaism’s Take on ‘Majority Rules’" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week’s parasha, parashat Mishpatim is a treasure-trove of Jewish law that serves as the basis for much of Jewish…

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Shoftim 5769-2009

"The Torah Declares War on Bribery" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week's parasha, parashat Shoftim, we again encounter the Torah's emphatic injunction against taking bribes.…

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Vayikra 5778-2018

"The Sins of a Leader” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald   This week’s parasha, parashat Vayikra introduces the third book of the Torah, Vayikra, Leviticus. The parasha deals with the…

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Vayigash 5769-2008

"Deferred Punishment for the Sale of Joseph" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week's parasha, parashat Vayigash, Joseph dramatically reveals himself to his brothers and reconciles…

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Matot-Masei 5766-2006

"Taking a Stand Against the Banality of Evil" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In the first of this week's double parashiot, Matot-Masei, we read of the battle that the people of Israel waged…

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Perhaps I Was Wrong

The third book of the Torah, Vayikra/Leviticus, focusses on the sacrificial rites that were an integral part of Jewish life until the destruction of the Holy Temples. For many Jews of…

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Mishpatim 5763-2003

"Justice! Justice!" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This coming week's parasha, parashat Mishpatim, contains an abundance of laws that cover a vast array of Jewish civil and criminal…

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It Was An Accident

A man loses control of his car when his tire is punctured by a nail and blows out. Trying to regain control, he swerves and hits a pedestrian, who dies instantly. Is the driver of the car…

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A Crime of Stalin

In 1981, PEN International (an organization of poets, essayists and novelists advocating for freedom of expression and human rights) declared November 15 as the Day of the Imprisoned…

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Perhaps I Was Wrong

The third book of the Torah, Vayikra/Leviticus, focuses on the sacrificial rites that were an integral part of Jewish life until the destruction of the Holy Temples. For many Jews of…

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Kee Teitzei 5769-2009

"Ben Sorer U'Moreh--The Rebellious Son" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week's parasha, parashat Kee Teitzei, we read of the unusual case of the "Ben Sorer U'moreh," the disobedient…

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Re’eh 5765-2005

"The Sanctity of Land and its Implications" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald Among the topics discussed in this coming week's parasha, parashat Re'eh, is the sanctity of the Land of Israel.…

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Vayeishev 5763-2002

"Judah Emerges as the Leader of Israel" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week's parasha, Vayeishev, presents the opening chapter of one of the great human sagas--the story of Joseph and…

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Va’eira 5763-2002

"The Exodus--A 'Primitive' Story with Revolutionary Implications" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald Jewish history is often perceived, with great justification I might add, as one unending…

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Bo 5769-2009

"It's Payback Time!" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In the concluding chapter of this week's parasha, parashat Bo, G-d commands Moses to inform the people to sanctify the firstborn. The…

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Kee Tisah 5771-2011

"The Thirteen Attributes of G-d’s Mercy" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Kee Tisah, we encounter the dramatic episode of the Golden Calf. Moses comes down…

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Korach 5774-2014

“Aaron Stops the Plague” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Korach, we read of the dramatic rebellion of Korach, Datan and Abiram, and their…

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Vayikra 5775-2015

“The Primacy of Independent Thinking” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week’s parasha, parashat Vayikra, contains many laws and directives regarding the various sacrifices and ritual…

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Bechukotai 5776-2016

“The Tochaycha–G-d’s Daunting Reproof of Israel" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week’s parasha, parashat Bechukotai, contains the first of two Tochaychot--תּוֹכֵחוֹת, G-d’s reproofs or…

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Vayishlach 5778-2017

“The Tragic Death of Mother Rachel” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald   In this week’s parasha, parashat Vayishlach, we learn of the untimely and tragic death of Mother Rachel as she was…

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Matot-Masei 5778-2018

“Judaism and Warfare” In parashat Matot, the first of this week’s double parashiyot, Matot-Masei, we read of the great battle that Israel waged to avenge the Midianite nation for leading…

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Noah 5769-2008

"Nimrod and the Financial Meltdown" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In Genesis 10, the Torah features a long list of descendants of Shem, Cham and Yafet. It is a litany of begets and begats…

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