Showing posts from August, 2012

Parashat Reeh: What does the Torah say about going on vacation?

(adapted from my Shofar Newsletter article from 2011) Here’s a good question to ask in August: What does the Torah teach us about how to go on vacation? The initial answer might be, not so much. You would have a hard time coming up with references to vacation in the Torah. Perhaps you could say that the institution of Shabbat is like a weekly vacation, but that’s pretty metaphorical. In general, there’s not much leisure described in the torah. What there IS a lot of in the Torah – is travel. Abraham moves to the land of Israel. The people of Israel go down to Egypt, and then take a long and scenic route for forty years back to the land of Israel. But it’s hard to describe all that travel as being like tourism. Most of it is more like desperate wandering and displacement, which is rather different from vacation. But surprisingly, there is a reference to going away on vacation in the Torah portion of Re’eh (which we will read this year on Saturday, August 18, 2012).   It

My comments at the Vigil in Memory of Those Killed at the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin

This evening, I attended a candlelight vigil in memory of those who were murdered in the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.  The event was organized by the Sikh Coalition, the Sikh community in Jersey City, and the city of Jersey City.  It took place at Jersey City Hall and included the participation of a wide range of political and religious leaders.  My remarks at that event are below: In July 2009 I attended the inauguration of Hoboken’s elected officials, including City Councilman Ravi Bhalla. I remember that the emotional high point of that day for me came when I saw that the Councilman was taking the oath of office with his hand on a book of the Sikh scriptures. And it reminded me of my pride when I had watched Hoboken’s Jewish elected officials taking THEIR oaths of office with their hands on a Hebrew-language edition of the Torah, just as Christian elected officials take the oath with their hands on a Bible of their choice. It filled me with pride to see this one