Debates for the Sake of Heaven

In the last year, Americans have experienced some of the worst political discourse in its history, crude, crass, and demeaning, and many have felt ashamed by it. This week, with a few minor exceptions, a much smaller audience experienced the best of American democracy – enlightened and dignified, into the decisions and the people that will impact lives. Addressed to the early rabbinic leaders, Avtalyon said, “Sages, be careful with your words,” for they will drive people to bad places, the next generation of rabbis will drink from those waters, and God’s name will be desecrated.” (Mishnah Avot 1:11) Whether in the religious or the general sphere of discourse, base and vulgar talk and perso

Taking It Personally

Climate change has definitely come to St Louis this winter. With temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s, February has felt like late April; Marian has started cleaning for Pesach! As it turned out, this year’s Scholar-in-Residence program was held in February; the theme was our environment, here and in Israel. Philosophical people may wonder “What effect on our environment can we really have?” They may point to the large uses of fossil fuels in cars, airplane travel, and equipment. There is a time to philosophize and there is a time to act. The hagaddah states, “I was personally liberated.” Responsible people ask, “What can we do?” ​ Israel, we learned, pioneered drip irrigation, saving huge quan

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