What Business Are We In?

What Business Are We In?

Posted on March 25, 2015
Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Synagogues should be asking, “What business are we in?” That may seem obvious, but it isn’t, and most synagogue leaders get it wrong – with disastrous consequences.

So Near And Yet So Far

Passover 5771 may be past, but its lessons return in last week’s parashah (B’ha’alot’kha). Of all our holidays, Passover ranks supreme in that we were delivered from Egypt specifically with Passover in mind. Whatever else we do as Jews follows from this singular event in our past. In Temple days, therefore, the Passover sacrifice was the sole calendrical obligation whose purposeful neglect merited a form of capital punishment called karet – the divine sentence of being “cut off” from family ties after we die.

Tikkun Olam: Jewish Sacred Repair, Secular Action or both?

In an attempt to address the well-documented and growing gulf between the economic fortunes of the rich and poor--and almost in tandem with the onset of the recession and the collapse of the housing market--Rabbi Jill Jacobs published a book on the Jewish imperative to practice tikkun olam, or repairing the world, as seen through both rabbinic and contemporary activist perspectives.

A Passover Question That Keeps Us Up All Night

Parashat Tzav

Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman

We can chart the last half century by the kinds of seder we have had. Fifty years ago, we celebrated an old-country model brought here by grandparents who davened it through in Hebrew from the Maxwell House Haggadah. Some of us remember it nostalgically, but in fact, we rarely got through it all. Attention lagged half way through. Color it in warm pastels of memory.

From Jewish People to Jewish Purpose

From Jewish people to Jewish purpose: The new age of social innovation in American Jewish life

Notes from a talk given by Prof. Steven M. Cohen at the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, London, UK, December 2 2009.

Synagogue Transformation: part of the solution or problem?

Guest Synablog writer and regular contributor and blogger for The New York Jewish Week, Rabbi Gerry C. Skolnik gives an interesting take on the synagogue transformation movement. Skolnik contends that organizations like S3K and STAR might be more part of the problem than the solution.